By Ashley Ellixson
Happy October! I hope everyone is ready for pumpkins, apples, Halloween and everything else this month has to offer, especially in our agriculture community, I know I am! To kick off this month, below is this weeks news and updates.
EPA Tightens Pesticide Exposure Rules: On Monday, the EPA announced a final rule to protect some 2 million farmworkers from exposure to pesticides, strengthening the 1992 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters that the agency will work with state governments to enforce the new rule, which won’t take effect until 14 months after its pending publication in the Federal Register. To the read the full story click here.
Peanut Executive Is Sentences To 28 Years For Salmonella Outbreak: Stewart Parnell once boasted processing the “finest” peanut products, but on Monday, the former company executive was effectively sentenced to life behind bars for knowingly shipping out deadly food. A federal judge handed Parnell a 28-year prison sentence, the toughest penalty ever for a corporate executive in a food poisoning outbreak. Parnell is 61 and unless he wins an appeal, he will have to serve out most of his term. To read more about the story and the lawsuit click here.
New USDA plans to expand access to certification program: In mid-September, US Dept of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced plans to expand a pilot certification program called GroupGAP. The Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP, certification process is a way for suppliers to let their customers know that the produce they sell has met high food safety standards. This certification was costly for small- and mid-size producers, so the GroupGAP pilot allows growers, food hubs, and cooperatives to work together to obtain group certification, helping them save money. After three years of trials, AMS found the GroupGAP program helped created a culture of food safety and recommended an expansion. The full details of this expansion are expected to be released in late October. To read more details visit http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/09/30/groupgap-food-safety-assurance-for-growers-and-buyers-big-and-small/ and http://www.ams.usda.gov/content/ams-previews-expansion-successful-groupgap-pilot-program
Southern Maryland Farm Estate Planning Workshop on October 27th at the American Legion Hall-Hughesville, MD: Having an up-to-date succession and estate plan is an important part of any farm operation. The workshop will cover the features of the formation of a succession and estate plan, tax considerations and what you need to consider before developing the plan starting with family communications. The workshop will include strategies for including non-farming beneficiaries into the family succession and estate plan. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Maryland Crop Insurance Education Program and the Agriculture Law Education Initiative. To register online, go to https://eventbrite.com/event/17659154005/
Farm Workers Sues Monsanto – Farm workers have sued Monsanto alleging Roundup caused their cancers. One suit was filed in U.S. District Court in California and the other in U.S. District court in New York. The suit comes months after the World Health Organization announced it may list Roundup as a possible carcinogenic to humans. For more information, see this Reuters story http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/29/monsanto-lawsuit-idUSL1N11Z20Y20150929.
New Risk Management Publication Available – The Maryland Crop Insurance Education Program has finalized a new publication highlighting the changes in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) made by the 2014 Farm Bill. NAP is available for crops that currently do not have a crop insurance product available in Maryland. The changes include buy-up coverage that mirrors crop insurance. To learn more about the changes, check out the new publication at http://go.umd.edu/NAP.