the Winter 2015
Page 5 …………. Look at What’s NEW at the Association
Page 16 .......................................................NWPB Update
Page 30 ……… Membership and the Largest Generation
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced
that greater protection is now available from the
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for
crops that traditionally have been ineligible for federal crop insurance. The new options, created by the
2014 Farm Bill, provide greater coverage for losses
when natural disasters affect specialty crops such as
vegetables and fruits.
“These new protections will help ensure that farm
families growing crops for food, fiber, or livestock
consumption will be better able to withstand losses
due to natural disasters,” said Vilsack. “For years,
commodity crop farmers have had the ability to purchase insurance to keep their crops protected, and it
only makes sense that fruit and vegetable, and other
specialty crop growers, should be able to purchase
similar levels of protection. Ensuring these farmers can adequately protect themselves from factors
beyond their control is also critical for consumers
who enjoy these products and for communities whose
economies depend on them.”
Previously, the program offered coverage at 55% of
the average market price for crop losses that exceed
50% of expected production. Producers can now
choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65% of their
expected production at 100% of the average market
The expanded protection will be especially helpful to
beginning and traditionally underserved producers,
as well as farmers with limited resources, who will
receive fee waivers and premium reductions for expanded coverage. More crops are now eligible for the
program, including expanded aquaculture production
practices, and sweet and biomass sorghum. For the
first time, a range of crops used to produce bioenergy
will be eligible as well.
“If America is to remain food secure and continue
exporting food to the world, we need to do everything
we can to help new farmers get started and succeed
in agriculture,” Vilsack said. “This program will help
new and socially disadvantaged farmers affordably
manage risk, making farming a much more attractive
To help producers learn more about the Noninsured
Crop Disaster Assistance Program and how it can
help them, USDA, in partnership with Michigan State
University and the University of Illinois, created an
online resource. The Web tool, allows producers to
determine whether their crops are eligible for coverage. It also gives them an opportunity to explore a
variety of options and levels to determine the best
protection level for their operation.
Now that the four major proposed rules of the Food
Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have been re-pro-posed and commented, we await the final rules (
publication, and the court-ordered implementation dates.
A consent agreement filed in federal district court
in Oakland, CA set a timeline for FSMA rules to be
implemented. The agreement between FDA and the
Center for Food Safety (CFS) ended the agency’s
appeal of strict, court-imposed deadlines that were set
as the result of a CFS lawsuit seeking a timeline for
The consent agreement pushes back several deadlines
for the seven rules:
• Preventive controls for human food =
August 30, 2015.
• Preventive controls for animal food =
August 30, 2015.
• Produce Safety = October 31, 2015.
• Foreign supplier verification program =
March 31, 2016.
• Third-party accreditation =
March 31, 2016.
• Sanitary transport = March 31, 2016.
• Intentional adulteration = May 31, 2016.
“The FDA is committed to fully implementing the
FSMA and to putting in place the modern, preventive framework envisioned by the law that will help
to prevent foodborne illnesses and protect public
health,” says an FDA spokesperson. “The agency
is working as quickly and expeditiously as possible
to meet our deadlines for the final rules, while also
ensuring that we get these rules right.”
USDA Offers Crop
for Fruit And
If the application deadline for an eligible crop has
already passed, producers will have until Jan. 14, to
choose expanded coverage through the Noninsured
Crop Disaster Assistance Program. To learn more,
visit the Farm Service Agency (FSA) website or
contact your local FSA office. The Farm Service
Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also
wants to hear from producers and other interested
stakeholders who may have suggestions or recommendations on the program. Written comments
will be accepted until Feb. 13 and can be submitted
Great News for
The folks at Spring Garden Pictures are brimming
with great news, and they want to share the new
developments, exciting opportunities, and upcoming projects with us.
Since Watermelon Magic’s hometown premiere
at The Franklin Institute last spring, the film’s
reach continues to grow. The screenings at The
Franklin Institute will come to a close at the end
of December, but you can check out the film at
The Whitaker Center in Harrisburg PA where it
recently opened. More venues will be officially
But the really big news is that Watermelon Magic
will be running for a 3-year engagement at the
Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC beginning in spring or fall
of 2015 on their new digital IMAX system! This
is a huge, wonderful advancement for the film.
They will provide news and updates regarding the
grand opening in DC once the details are set.