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PSA Annual Convention

Please mark your calendars for February 13-16, 2022 and join the PSA membership for the 2022 Annual Convention at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Waikoloa, HI. Attendees and guests can find all the convention information in the link below. 

Find Convention Information Here

Hotel Booking Website:   https://book.passkey.com/go/PacificSeedAssociation2022

Federal Vaccine Mandate Update

On Friday the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. The ETS establishes binding requirements to protect employees of large employers (100 or more employees) from the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. A fact sheet describing the rule is attached and more information can be found on the OSHA website.

COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS

Fact Sheet - Biden Administration Announces Details of Two Major Vaccination Policies

Ag Secretary Comments on Passage of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement following passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by the U.S. Congress. The bill will now go to President Biden for his signature.

“This is a transformative, historic investment for America as President Biden delivers on his promise to rebuild the physical infrastructure of our country, grow the economy for decades to come, create good-paying, union jobs, and better position us to compete in a global economy.

Read More Here

White House Scrambles to Avert Supply Chain Crisis

The White House announced that the Port of Los Angeles, as well as FedEx, UPS and Walmart, will rev up operations to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Others, like Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Samsung have all agreed to increase operations in off-peak hours to speed up distribution. 

The pledges by some of the largest U.S. ports, shipping companies and retailers to increase the flow of goods will result in the delivery of an extra 3,500 containers per week, according to White House officials. The agreements by ports to work through the night means less congestion on highways, cutting delivery time even further.

President Joe Biden also delivered a speech detailing the efforts the administration is taking to tackle the ongoing supply chain disruptions. He then met with several private sector leaders, including Peter Friedmann of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition and Geoff Freeman, president of the Consumer Brands Association (formerly known as the Grocery Manufacturers Association).

New Ag Trade Education Council Formed

Agriculture leaders from across major food and ag associations announced the formation of the Agriculture Trade Education Council (ATEC), a non-profit that will be a resource for education on the value of agricultural trade policies, practices and structures. The ATEC is chaired by ag leaders with decades of experience educating farmers, policymakers and businesses about how the international trading system works. The ATEC will facilitate education on trade policy on a variety of topics in an effort to grow support for and engagement in a rules-based trading system.

ATEC offers in-person or online training for organizations or for meetings to provide trade training covering trade agreements, Congressional trade policy, the World Trade Organization and more.

“As U.S. agricultural stakeholders continue to rely increasingly on trade, it is important to understand how trade works, how the policies established impact U.S. agriculture, and how to engage in trade,” says Becky Rasdall, an ATEC board member and vice president for trade policy and international affairs at the International Dairy Foods Association. “ATEC is here to meet that need and support our agricultural community in better engaging the global market.”

Mexico to Continue Imports of GMO Corn from US

The Hagstrom Report writes that Mexico will continue to import genetically modified corn from the United States but will not allow it to be grown in the country, Mexican Agriculture Minister Victor Villalobos told reporters after meeting with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Iowa.

Villalobos made the statement in the context of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s decision to ban the herbicide glyphosate as well as GMO corn by 2024. The country’s Supreme Court rejected four appeals filed against the order.

According to KCUR, an Iowa public radio station, Vilsack told reporters, “I was certainly pleased to hear from the secretary an understanding that while there may be decisions made in Mexico not to cultivate (genetically engineered) corn, it doesn’t limit the ability of Mexico to import GE corn. The reality is they can’t produce enough for their needs.”

Mexico Establishes First TRQ For Soybean Imports

Agri-Pulse reports that Mexico has erected a three-month quota to allow in as much as 500,000 metric tons of soybeans tariff-free from countries like Brazil and Argentina that normally face a 15% duty, according to a new report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The tariff rate quota went into effect Oct. 1 and expires Dec. 31.

The U.S. is the number-one foreign supplier of soybeans to Mexico and trade is tariff-free year-round thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mexican oil makers have been urging the government for a TRQ because of tight supplies, but the mechanism may not be used at all because of the timing, according to the FAS report. The U.S. is in its harvest season while Brazil won’t be harvesting the bulk of its next crop until after the TRQ expires.

Nevertheless, it is the first-ever Mexican TRQ for soybeans, and now the mechanism is ready for future needs, says FAS.

USDA to Resume Trade Missions in 2022

The Agriculture Department announced that in-person trade missions will resume early next year, writes The Hagstrom Report. 

The first trade mission is to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), February 16-21, 2022. The last USDA-sponsored trade mission was held in November 2019, prior to COVID-related travel restrictions.

“As international travel and activities resume, we are excited to bring back in-person trade missions and to bring them back better than before,” said USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley. “While the COVID-19 pandemic revealed some vulnerabilities in our food system, it also proved just how critical trade is to the global supply chain and to the future of American agriculture. As a result, we are focused on delivering more export opportunities to U.S. farmers, ranchers, and exporters, so they have access to more markets and more consumers, which will lead to greater profitability.”

Vilsack Says Biden Administration Will Look at Consolidation in Seed Industry

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that the White House plans to look at consolidation within the seed industry, the next step in carrying out President Joe Biden’s order to increase competition within agriculture, according to the Des Moines Register. 

Vilsack said the Administration had just started looking at consolidation within the seed industry, but had concerns about the length of patents some companies hold on technology.  

While in Iowa, Vilsack toured a seed lab at Iowa State University. He said he understands that seed companies want to see a return on their investment in new technology, but that the “pace of change” could mean lengthy patents don't make sense.

EPA to Look at Neonics’ Effects on Endangered Species

The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to examine the effects of two neonicotinoids on endangered species and critical habitat, reports Agri-Pulse. 
By October 2024, EPA will complete “effects determinations” for acetamiprid and dinotefuran, it said in a proposed partial settlement agreement with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The agency already agreed earlier in the subject litigation to review the effects of imidacloprid on listed species by June 30, 2022. If the effects determinations warrant interagency consultation with federal wildlife agencies, EPA said it would conduct that afterward.

EPA has asked for comments for 30 days on the proposed agreement, according to the Federal Register notice.

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