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Weekly News Roundup: November 20th Edition

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

By Mayhah Suri

Two people on a boat fishing for oysters (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

Two New Proposed Positions for the Aquaculture Coordinating Council Encouraging oyster growth has been an important part of Maryland’s environmental efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay as oysters filter water. Oysters are also a growing sector of Maryland aquaculture. The federal EPA has now expressed interest in the development of best management practices by the Chesapeake Bay Program through an expert panel whose charge is to evaluate the scientific efficacy and recommendations for developing a useable and viable nutrient credit trading system in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, specifically using oysters. With this in mind, two new positions are being proposed for the Aquaculture Coordinating Council – one from the Maryland Farm Bureau and one from the Oyster Recovery Program. For more information, please visit:

USDA’s FSIS Releases Food Allergen Guidelines for Producers In an effort to reduce adverse reactions to food allergens, along with potential recalls, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released a 26-page set of guidelines to assist meat, poultry, and processed egg product producers in properly managing ingredients which could trigger such problems. The new FSIS guidelines, entitled, “FSIS Compliance Guidelines Allergens and Ingredients of Public Health Concern: Identification, Prevention and Control, and Declaration through Labeling,” include a section listing the “Big Eight” categories of food allergens and some specific food items in each category which may cause problems for those with food allergies or sensitivities. To read the full story, please visit

Bay Program Oks Controversial Nutrient Reduction Credit for Farmers The state-federal Bay Program partnership has approved controversial recommendations to award greater nitrogen and phosphorus reduction credits for farms that have nutrient management plans, one of the most widespread nutrient control practices used on the region’s farms. The change could help states edge closer to meeting their Bay nutrient reduction goals. But the approval came with a big caveat — it was conditioned on states providing information about how well nutrient management plans are actually implemented. That could mean that fewer plans get counted toward Bay goals. To read the full story go here:

USDA Vows to Help Young Farmers, But Will It Be Enough? The USDA’s announcement is a two-pronged attack to get new farmers: first, they’ve redesigned their year-old “New Farmers” website, to make it easier to use. The USDA is also redirecting some of its funding to specifically address the need for more beginning farmers. Plenty of programs, especially money-based ones like loans, already have quotas set by Congress as to the percentage of beginning farmers that must be in the program. But the USDA is altering those percentages upward to favor young farmers even more. To read the full story click here:

Register Today for the 2015 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference on Dec. 16 The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics will host their annual Policy and Outlook Conference on Dec. 16th in Annapolis MD. The conference will feature a grain marketing outlook, dairy market outlook, and an overview of regulations impacting the usage of drones. The cost to attend is $30/person. To see the complete agenda and to register, please see Farm Bureau Petitions High Court to Hear Bay TMDL Challenge Earlier this year, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals rule against American Farm Bureau Federation and other groups challenging EPA’s authority in developing the Bay Total Daily Maximum Load (TMDL). This month American Farm Bureau and other groups filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. The groups challenging EPA argue that EPA does not have the authority under the Clean Water Act to supersede local zoning and planning decisions. We will know if the Supreme Court will grant the petition to hear the appeal early next year. For more information on the appeal, see FDA Seeking Comments on “Natural” Food Labeling The FDA requests comments on the use of the term “natural” on food labeling. The FDA is curious to know 3 things in these public comments, whether it is appropriate to use define the term “natural”, how should FDA define it if they need to, and how is the best way to determine an appropriate use on a food label. FDA is seeking the comments till Feb. 10, 2016. To learn more about FDA’s request and to make a comment click here

FDA Has Determined That the AquAdvantage Salmon is as Safe to Eat as Non-GE Salmon The FDA scientists rigorously evaluated extensive data submitted by the manufacturer, AquaBounty Technologies, and other peer-reviewed data, to assess whether AquAdvantage salmon met the criteria for approval established by law; namely, safety and effectiveness. The data demonstrated that the inserted genes remained stable over several generations of fish, that food from the GE salmon is safe to eat by humans and animals, that the genetic engineering is safe for the fish, and the salmon meets the sponsor’s claim about faster growth. To read the full story visit

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