Over FDA objections, Trump administration says USDA can regulate GE livestock – January 20, 2021

Over FDA objections, Trump administration says USDA can regulate GE livestock

The Trump administration, in a move sought by the hog industry, pushed through an interdepartmental memorandum before leaving office that allows the USDA to regulate food-bearing GE livestock. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn publicly objected on Tuesday and said his agency “has no intention of abdicating our public health mandate” over animal biotechnology.

U.S. permit may jumpstart ocean aquaculture, despite concerns

Aquaculture companies seeking to cultivate finfish in the open ocean could soon have an easier path to approval under a nationwide permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers last week, despite concerns from environmental groups. The permit, which could create an industry for aquaculture in federal waters, was written in response to a May executive order by President Trump.

Agriculture is ready for climate mitigation, says Vilsack

Tom Vilsack, nominated for agriculture secretary in the Biden administration, said he will rapidly ramp up USDA programs to combat climate change and that he believes farmers will be enthusiastic at the opportunity to make money by sequestering carbon in the soil.

FIRST 100 DAYS

Biden should act quickly to boost workplace safety, advocates say

As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden ripped into the Trump administration’s handling of workplace inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic. And he endorsed a range of policies that would aid food system workers, from raising frontline worker wages to releasing enforceable workplace standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Now, within his first 100 days in office, President Biden should make good on his promises, workplace advocates say, by establishing emergency standards to curb the spread of Covid-19.

TODAY’S QUICK HITS

Jobs recovery sputters: Rural counties led the nation in recovery from jobs lost during the pandemic but the growth rate is slowing, showing “the recovery may be sputtering.” (Daily Yonder)

Stacy Dean to USDA: Public nutrition expert Stacy Dean, now at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, will become deputy agriculture undersecretary for food in the Biden administration. Kumar Chandran will be USDA senior adviser on nutrition. (Politico)

Meat consumption dips: Americans will consume slightly less meat this year than last — 224 pounds per person vs. 225 in 2020 — because more beef and poultry meat is being exported, leaving less for the domestic market, said the Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. (USDA)

Payments for tree thinning: Landowners can qualify for a share of $ 12 million in incentive payments if they carry out tree thinning, prescribed burns or other “healthy forest management practices” on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve. (USDA)

High farm income? Federal payments to farmers will remain historically high this year, creating the possibility of high farm income when combined with the ongoing rally in commodity prices, say economists Brent Gloy and David Widmar. (Agricultual Economic Insights)

America’s Farm Report