HAPPY NEW YEAR 2021 – January 4, 2020

Countdown begins for compliance with GMO food-labeling rule

Four years after the thunder in Congress over labeling foods made with GMO ingredients, the deadline for compliance with the USDA labeling regulation is in sight — the end of 2021 — despite complaints that the rule is riddled with loopholes that exempt many foods.

Biden: U.S. will consider emergency rule to protect workers from coronavirus

The government’s worker-safety agency “has been prevented from using its full range of tools to protect workers from Covid-19,” said President-elect Biden on the 50th anniversary of creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. “The number of OSHA inspectors is at its lowest level since 1975, while millions of essential workers are working to keep the country functioning through the pandemic.”


Standstill on sugar and alcohol: The new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released during the year-end holidays, rejected recommendations by experts for lower targets for sugar and alcohol consumption. (New York Times)

Injunction halts new H-2A formula: U.S. district judge Dale Drozd issued a preliminary injunction against a Labor Department regulation that would effectively lower pay rates for several hundred thousand farmworkers by freezing the wage rate for agricultural guestworkers. (LexisNexis)

Prop 12 case may go to Supreme Court: The U.S. appeals court in San Francisco rejected a meat industry request for a review of its decision upholding California’s Proposition 12 animal-welfare standards, so the industry may ask the Supreme Court to hear its argument that the voter-approved rule is unfair to pork and calf producers in other states. (Food Safety News)

Few options on research agencies: The Biden administration has limited tools to rebuild two USDA research agencies that lost hundreds of workers, including scores of experienced analysts, in the virtually overnight relocation to Kansas City that was ordered by outgoing Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. (Politico)

Organic pioneer Amigo Bob dies: An influential and founding figure of organic agriculture in California, Amigo Bob Cantisano, died at age 69 on his farm in North San Juan in late December. (Los Angeles Times)

Maine makes it 47: The USDA said Maine is the 47th state, along with the District of Columbia, that is approved to allow SNAP recipients to buy groceries online. (USDA)



USDA opens general enrollment for the Conservation Reserve, through Feb. 12. The 2018 farm law mandated annual signups for the reserve, which pays landowners an annual rent to idle fragile cropland for 10 years or more.


Runoff elections for two senators from Georgia. The results will decide which party controls the Senate.

Purdue University releases monthly Ag Economy Barometer, a gauge of the health of the agricultural economy.

National Cotton Council holds Beltwide Cotton Conferences online, through Thursday.

USDA releases its monthly State Stories report of weather and crop summaries for 44 states and the New England region during the winter months, noon ET.


Electoral College votes are counted by Congress.


Purdue University holds annual Top Farmer Conference online, 10 a.m. ET.

America’s Farm Report