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The 2021 PSA Annual Convention Recap

A big thank you to all of you who joined us on our 1st virtual meeting celebrating the 95th Annual Pacific Seed Association Convention.  On behalf of the PSA Board of Directors, I would like to thank each and every one of you who contributed to this event.  Additionally, the PSA sincerely thanks our sponsors for supporting our mission and making the Annual Convention possible in these challenging times. 

Read the Full Convention Recap Here

PSA 2020 Person of the Year Awarded to Mike Ingham

The PSA Board of Director’s was pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 Person of the Year at the annual “virtual” meeting.  This year’s award was given to Mike Ingham for his excellence in Agriculture, contributions to the Pacific Seed Association, and dedication to the Seed Industry.

Read the Full Person of the Year Article Here

PSA Scholarship Winners for 2021 Announced

The PSA Scholarship program was established to assist outstanding college students in achieving their scholastic goals. This program is designed to interest and encourage young people to enter the seed industry. Each year, four $1,000 scholarships are funded through contributions from members of the seed and allied industries. It is our belief that everyone benefits from this program. The students receive assistance towards attaining their chosen goal and the industry receives the new talent needed to remain competitive in today’s business world.

View Scholarship Winners and Biographies Here

Newly sworn-in U.S. Trade Representative Wastes No Time Meeting with Foreign Trade Leaders 

On her first Monday in office, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai held online meetings with her counterparts in Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Commission, as well as with World Trade Organization Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Ms. Tai met with Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng; U.K. Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss; and European Commission Executive Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.

On Tuesday, Ms. Tai met with Mexican Secretary Tatiana Clouthier; Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Kajiyama Hiroshi; South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee; and French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Recovery Bruno Le Maire and Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness Franck Riester.

On Wednesday, she met with German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy Peter Altmaier.

A common theme emerged amongst all the readouts from the past week’s meetings – Ms. Tai continued to stress to international trade leaders the importance of maintaining a strong trade and investment relationship between the countries.

U.S. Farm Groups Send Letter on USMCA Troubles

The American Farm Bureau Federation and 26 other groups sent a letter this week to both Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai asking them to address what AFBF President Zippy Duvall calls “the rapidly deteriorating relationship” between the U.S. and Mexico.

The groups highlighted Mexico’s plan to ban glyphosate and biotech corn as well as the country’s proposal to require new testing for cheese imports that one dairy official warns could cost U.S. producers and exporters hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with, said Agri-Pulse.

On Tuesday, President López Obrador ruled out changing his administration’s agriculture policies stating, “No, it’s the same policy – to try to produce in Mexico what we consume so that we don’t have to buy corn, beans and rice. We’ve reached an extreme of buying [from abroad] 85% of the rice we consume; every time we’re at the table with a plate of rice we think that unfortunately it wasn’t produced in Mexico yet before it was.”

“The productive activity in the countryside was abandoned [by past governments], now we’re supporting the producers, that’s why we have the guaranteed prices [for five agricultural products],” López Obrador added.

Vilsack Meets Virtually with Chinese Counterpart

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Chinese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian had their first conversation Monday evening, a USDA official said in an email to The Hagstrom Report.

“They agreed that it is important for the United States and China, as two of the largest agricultural producers and consumers in the world, to work together to address areas of common concern,” the official said. “Secretary Vilsack raised concerns about some of the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China’s] trade barriers that disadvantage U.S. farmers. They also discussed the positive role agriculture can play in addressing climate change. Both officials agreed to keep an open channel to discuss these issues further.”

USDA Announces $6 Billion in Additional Pandemic Aid Programs       

On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced nearly $6 billion in available funding under the new “USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers” for farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions.

USDA will reopen sign-up for CFAP 2 for at least 60 days beginning on April 5, 2021. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has committed at least $2.5 million to improve outreach for CFAP 2 and will establish partnerships with organizations with strong connections to socially disadvantaged communities to ensure they are informed and aware of the application process.

The payments announced on Wednesday will go out under the existing CFAP rules; however, future opportunities for USDA Pandemic Assistance will be reviewed for verified need and during the rulemaking process, USDA will look to make eligibility more consistent with the Farm Bill. Moving forward, USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers will utilize existing programs, such as the Local Agricultural Marketing Program, Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach, and Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, and others to enhance educational and market opportunities for producers.

More information is available at:

USDA FSA Offices Now Open At 50% Staff Capacity

The Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency has notified its field offices this week they can be staffed at 50% capacity rather than the 25% that has been the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NIFA awards 24 grants to help small, mid-sized farms

The Agriculture Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded 24 grants totaling $11.5 million to 20 universities and organizations through their Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the nation’s leading and largest competitive grants program for agricultural sciences, on Tuesday.

“These research efforts focus on alternative crop enterprises, marketing, and scaling up fruit and vegetable production to overcome marketing constraints,” USDA noted.

“Few groups are as resilient and as determined as American farm families,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This investment in innovative research will give these family farms the tools they need to be more sustainable, profitable and productive as they face agricultural and economic challenges. When American farmers have a chance to compete, they have a greater chance at succeeding.”

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