Innovation, biotechnology and big data are changing the way we produce, distribute and even consume food. From using innovative approaches to improve food safety to sharing market data to assist producers in reaching larger markets, big data and new technologies continue to change the face of agriculture. USDA strives to meet these evolving challenges and will be discussing these issues through the lens of agriculture at the 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum on Feb. 19-20 in Arlington, Virginia.
Big data isn’t just massive amounts of numbers and codes for scientists, researchers and marketers. That information, when interpreted and applied, can help people understand – and change – the world around them. We are discussing how data helps producers of agricultural commodities in adapting their strategies to meet changing consumer demands, marketing practices and technologies. Read more »
Organic meat and poultry producers can now use a streamlined process to get approval for labels verifying that their products do not include genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released new procedures for including a “non-genetically engineered” statement on the label of organic meat and poultry products. This is consistent with organic regulations, which have always prohibited the use of GE in all organic products. Now, with the new process, it will be easier for certified organic entities to add these claims to existing FSIS-approved products, speeding up the label review process. Read more »
Emmanuel Amoakwah, a Borlaug Fellow from Ghana currently studying at Ohio State University, gives a presentation on climate change during the Borlaug Symposium at the 2013 World Food Prize on Oct. 16. Approximately 40 Borlaug Fellows and their mentors attended the annual event in Des Moines to network, meet members of the Borlaug family and high-level agricultural officials and this year’s World Food Prize Laureates. (Photo by Jared Henderson, University of Missouri)
Every year the World Food Prize recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug created the prize, which emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people.
This year’s event was held from Oct. 16-19 in Des Moines, Iowa, and also included a USDA-sponsored symposium for 40 foreign scientists from 23 countries (and their university mentors) in the Foreign Agricultural Service Borlaug Fellowship Program. Since 2004, the program has provided U.S.-based training and collaborative research opportunity for scientists and policymakers from developing and middle-income countries to promote food security and economic growth. Read more »
Sec. Tom Vilsack visited the grain grading laboratory of GIPSA's Board of Appeals and Review (BAR) and the Grading Service Laboratory (GSL) on October 23, 2013. BAR staff explain their grading review process while BAR Chairman Jim Whalen looks on.
The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) National Grain Center (NGC) was proud to host Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday, October 23. The NGC, located in Kansas City, MO, is home to the Federal Grain Inspection Service’s (FGIS) Technology and Science Division along with staff from FGIS’ Quality Assurance and Compliance Division and Field Management Division.
The grain inspectors, scientists and engineers at the NGC provide a broad spectrum of grain inspection services and support within recently renovated state of the art laboratories. During the visit, NGC staff demonstrated how they oversee, develop and approve methods and instruments used for grain inspection that ensure the consistent standard of measuring quality essential to grain marketing. Read more »
On Friday, May 17, 2013, in Mexico City, Mexico USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack led U.S. and Mexican agribusiness representatives in a discussion of priority issues affecting North American agriculture. The roundtable’s participants represented the breadth and diversity of agricultural trade between the United States and Mexico. Representatives from Grupo Bimbo, Gruma, Driscoll’s, Cargill, and others joined the Secretary, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne, and Acting Deputy Under Secretaries Suzanne Heinen and Max Holtzman to share their views on the opportunities and obstacles facing increased agricultural trade between the United States and Mexico. Read more »
This is the thirteenth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.
The use of genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is prohibited in organic products. This means an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.
Organic operations implement preventive practices based on site-specific risk factors, such as neighboring conventional farms or shared farm equipment or processing facilities. For example, some farmers plant their seeds early or late to avoid organic and GMO crops flowering at the same time (which can cause cross-pollination). Others harvest crops prior to flowering or sign cooperative agreements with neighboring farms to avoid planting GMO crops next to organic ones. Farmers also designate the edges of their land as a buffer zone where the land is managed organically, but the crops aren’t sold as organic. Any shared farm or processing equipment must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent unintended exposure to GMOs or prohibited substances. Read more »