Department of Agriculture/Agriculture Department (USDA)
- Homepage: http://www.usda.gov/
April 2011: "At the Agriculture Department, the budget deal spared another untouchable: the Market Access Program."http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/even-in-an-era-of-budget-cuts-these-government-programs-wont-die/2011/04/20/AFYOtwEE_story.html
December 2010: 'The law defined allowable agricultural exports as any product on a list maintained by the Agriculture Department, which went beyond traditional humanitarian aid like seed and grain and included products like beer, soda, utility poles and more loosely defined categories of “food commodities” and “food additives.”'http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/world/24sanctions.html
December 2010: "The law will affect the 80 percent of the food supply that is regulated by the F.D.A. However, it does not apply to most meat and poultry products, which are regulated by the Agriculture Department."http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/business/22food.html
July 2010: "WASHINGTON — The White House and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized profusely and repeatedly on Wednesday to a black midlevel official for the way she had been humiliated and forced to resign her Agriculture Department job after a conservative blogger put out a misleading video clip that seemed to show her admitting antipathy toward a white farmer."http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/us/politics/22sherrod.html
April 2010: "The federal government promised last month to pay more than $1 billion by the end of March to tens of thousands of black farmers who had filed decades-old discrimination complaints against the U.S. Agriculture Department."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/31/AR2010033104044.html
May 2009: "Federal district courts in the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, which have jurisdiction over Western states, have issued contradictory rulings on the matter. In its statement, the Agriculture Department said those rulings had created confusion, making it difficult for the Forest Service, a department agency that rules on logging and road requests, to manage the lands it oversees."http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/29/science/earth/29land.html
April 2009: 'While it’s tough to pin down exactly how much tax revenue goes to farmer’s markets, many do receive some federal, state, or municipal support in the form of grants, subsidized administrators, or marketing, according to the USDA. One perk for consumers: As part of its promotion of farmer’s markets nationwide, the USDA keeps a detailed, state-by-state listing of them at www.ams .usda.gov/farmersmarkets/map.htm. 2. “Our produce is a mite pricey.”'http://feeds.smartmoney.com/~r/smartmoney/headlines/~3/FLIarT54oxc/
May 2008: "The Agriculture Department proposed on Tuesday banning from the food supply all cows that are too sick or injured to walk, a long-sought victory for advocates of animal welfare."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/21/business/21beef.html
May 2008: "That phone call set off a chain reaction of Congressional inquiries and a Bush administration study, still in progress, over how agencies manage lawmakers’ pet projects once they are written into spending laws. Mr. Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, later found out that the Department of Agriculture had also withheld about 10 percent of a $222,000 earmark to the university for drought research."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/20/washington/20earmark.html
May 2008: "The USDA plays a central and often inconsistent role on the issue. It is the department behind the pyramid that shows Americans how fruits and vegetables should be consumed more than fatty foods, yet it supports companies' development of products that flout those guidelines. Pizza Hut's stuffed-crust pizza is among critics' ready examples."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/09/AR2008050900527.html
May 2008: "Grocery stores discard products because of spoilage or minor cosmetic blemishes. Restaurants throw away what they don’t use. And consumers toss out everything from bananas that have turned brown to last week’s Chinese leftovers. In 1997, in one of the few studies of food waste, the Department of Agriculture estimated that two years before, 96.4 billion pounds of the 356 billion pounds of edible food in the United States was never eaten. Fresh produce, milk, grain products and sweeteners made up two-thirds of the waste. An update is under way."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weekinreview/18martin.html
May 2008: "The USDA website, www.usda.gov, shows five key staffers who once worked for the National Cattleman's Beef Association - the industry's most powerful lobbying group. The man in charge of the lobbying arm of the nation's meat packers was also a top USDA official."http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/14/meat.safety/index.html
October 2007: “We’re beginning to feel that the 2002 [meat contamination--Ed.] guidelines have not been enacted to the maximum,” Dr. Richard A. Raymond, the Agriculture Department’s under secretary for food safety, said in an interview in Washington.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/23/business/23meat.html
October 2007: Buying local: Make it legal for schools to seek out locally grown food. The USDA says federal regulations currently prohibit schools from showing geographic preferences when purchasing food, though others disagree.http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/335486_farmtoschool15.html
October 2007: New data from the Department of Agriculture show that the prices paid for food for the main United States food aid program have risen 35 percent in 2006 and 2007. Ms. Sheeran told the panel that the World Food Program is projecting that what it pays for food will increase 35 percent in the next two years.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/03/washington/03food.html
October 2007: The Agriculture Department, in anticipation of the report, said Tuesday that it would immediately require all business-class travel to be approved by its chief financial officer. The department is also opening an investigation, a spokeswoman said.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/03/washington/03air.html
July 2007: The U.S. Department of Agriculture visits other countries to certify that meat-packing plants and local inspectors are operating under acceptable standards, before allowing those products into this country. But the FDA doesn't have the budget or legal authority to do the same for most other types of food.http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_6436576
July 2007: The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributed $1.1 billion over seven years to the estates or companies of deceased farmers and routinely failed to conduct reviews required to ensure that the payments were properly made, according to a government report.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/22/AR2007072201128.html
January 2007: Officials at the Agriculture Department, which oversees the definition and certification of organic food, say the question will not be fully settled until it is considered by an advisory panel, perhaps by this spring. At that meeting, they predict, opponents will probably win, and the term 'organic clone' will join the ranks of word pairs that simply do not belong together.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/28/AR2007012800862.html
February 2007: The proposal unveiled by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns was the administration's opening move in what will be a lengthy tug of war with Congress over a new multi-year farm bill. The current bill, one of the most generous to farmers in history, expires Sept. 30.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/31/AR2007013100671.html
December 2006: Most U.S. dairy farmers work within a government system set up in the 1930s to give thousands of small dairies a guaranteed market for their milk and to even out prices for consumers. Farmers who participate in regional pools operated by the federal government or the states deliver raw milk to cooperatives or food processors. They get a guaranteed price, whether the milk ends up in a gallon jug, cheese, butter or ice cream. In Arizona and other federally regulated regions, the Agriculture Department uses a formula to set the price processors pay for raw milk, issuing 'milk marketing orders.'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/09/AR2006120900925.html
August 2006: Environmental groups yesterday called for a moratorium on open-air tests of crops genetically engineered to produce medicines and vaccines, citing a federal court's conclusion last week that the Agriculture Department repeatedly broke the law by allowing companies to plant such crops on hundred of acres in Hawaii.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/15/AR2006081501053.html
May 2006: For the first time, the Department of Agriculture is proposing that consumers be told which supermarkets and retail outlets have sold meat or poultry that is subject to a recall because of safety concerns.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/15/AR2006051501610.html
May 2004: 1. 'Organic isn't what you think it is . . .' What comes to mind when you think 'organic'? Despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture laid down standards in 2002 for what does and does not constitute organic food, consumers still seem to be confused. In a 2003 survey sponsored by Austin, Tex.-based Whole Foods Market, 60 percent of respondents said they believe organics contain more nutrients than conventional food. In fact, evidence for extra nutrients in organics is debatable.http://smartmoney.com/10things/index.cfm?story=june2004
May 2004: Under a 1913 law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has sole authority to license "veterinary biologics," such as diagnostic tests. So far, the agency has licensed the mad cow test kits only to itself. They can be used only by USDA scientists or at seven USDA-approved labs.http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-madcow24may24,1,1288019.story?coll=la-home-nation
Role Name Type Last Updated Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Organization Aug 17, 2006 Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Organization Oct 19, 2006 Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) Organization Feb 4, 2007 Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Organization Jun 11, 2006 Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Forest Service Organization Mar 1, 2005 Owner of (partial or full, past or present) National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Organization Feb 4, 2007 Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Organization Jun 20, 2005 Owned by (partial or full, past or present) US Federal Government - Executive Branch Organization Mar 1, 2005 Organization Executive (past or present) Prof. Bruce L. Gardner Person Oct 19, 2006 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Dan Glickman Person Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Mike Johanns Esq. Person Jun 11, 2006 Organization Executive (past or present) Susan Sechler Person Jun 27, 2006 Advised by (past or present) Bob Stallman Person Sep 7, 2006 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Ann M. Veneman Person Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Secretary Tom Vilsack Esq. Person Apr 1, 2010 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Vice President Henry Wallace Person Jan 7, 2013
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Apr 29, 2011 Soft Drink Industry Fights Proposed Food Stamp Ban
QUOTE: They also fear that restrictions on soft drinks would set a precedent for the government to distinguish between good and bad foods and to ban the use of food stamps for other products… The plan is unfair to food stamp recipients because it treats them differently from other customers.
New York Times Apr 20, 2011 Even in an era of budget cuts, these government programs won’t die
QUOTE: But they have survived, again and again, thanks to powerful lobbies or high-placed patrons in Congress… “If lawmakers can’t cut programs that cost a few million, how are they going to cut deficits that are going to be in the trillions?”
Washington Post Apr 15, 2011 The Pirates of Capitol Hill
QUOTE: This is about reshaping the government and economy to benefit the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the poor and powerless.
New York Times Apr 15, 2011 Immigrants Are Subject of Tough Bill in Georgia
QUOTE: Because much of the debate centered on people from Mexico and Latin American countries, some Hispanics in the state said the bill would open the door to more harassment and discrimination. “The targeting of people of color is already happening.”
New York Times Apr 14, 2011 Top USDA official, leaving to work for Rahm Emanuel, accused of discrimination
QUOTE: The allegations include age and gender discrimination and the promotion of employees supportive of the Democratic Party… The workers said they raised the allegations “because of a hostile work environment, retaliation and/or prohibited personnel practice.”
Washington Post Mar 28, 2011 Amber Waves to Ivory Bolls
QUOTE: Many farmers, both in the United States and abroad, will join Mr. Vela this year in chasing the higher profits to be made in cotton — with consequences that could ripple across the globe... “It’s good for the farmer, but from a humanitarian perspective it’s kind of scary... Those people in poor countries that have a hard time affording food, they’re going to be even less able to afford it now.”
New York Times Dec 23, 2010 U.S. Approved Business With Blacklisted Nations
QUOTE: Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the United States government has allowed American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism...At the behest of a host of companies — from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks — a little-known office of the Treasury Department has granted nearly 10,000 licenses for deals...
New York Times Dec 21, 2010 House Passes Overhaul of Food Laws
QUOTE: food manufacturers will be required to examine their processing systems to identify possible ways that food products can become contaminated and to develop detailed plans to keep that from happening. Companies must share those plans with the F.D.A., and provide the agency with records, including product test results, showing how effectively they carry them out. The agency, which has sometimes been criticized for its failure to check up on risky food producers, will be required to conduct more frequent inspections in the United States and abroad.
New York Times Jul 21, 2010 White House Offers Apology to Official Accused of Bias
QUOTE: The White House and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized profusely and repeatedly on Wednesday to a black midlevel official [Shirley Sherrod--Ed.] for the way she had been humiliated and forced to resign her Agriculture Department job after a conservative blogger put out a misleading video clip that seemed to show her admitting antipathy toward a white farmer.
New York Times Apr 01, 2010 Congress misses deadline for payments to black farmers
QUOTE: The federal government promised last month to pay more than $1 billion by the end of March to tens of thousands of black farmers who had filed decades-old discrimination complaints against the U.S. Agriculture Department.
Washington Post Oct 19, 2009 Which Side Is Government On? Millions of contract workers whose salaries are ultimately paid by government live in poverty. Uncle Sam should demand high standards, not pay as little as possible.
QUOTE: In 2007 the Labor Department found in 80 percent of its SCA [Service Contract Act]investigations that employers [contracted by the federal government] underpaid wages or benefits or both. And wages are so low in many service jobs, especially where few workers belong to unions, that prevailing wages are often only sub-poverty wages.
American Prospect Oct 09, 2009 Marijuana Licensing Fails to Chase the Shadows
QUOTE: Those engaged in the experiment [by selling marijuana] here [now legal in New Mexico] never know if they will be arrested, because growing, selling and using marijuana remain illegal under federal law. And robbery is always a fear.
New York Times Oct 03, 2009 The Burger That Shattered Her Life
QUOTE: Ms. [Stephanie] Smith’s reaction to the virulent strain of E. coli was extreme, but tracing the story of her burger, through interviews and government and corporate records obtained by The New York Times, shows why eating ground beef is still a gamble. Neither the system meant to make the meat safe, nor the meat itself, is what consumers have been led to believe.
New York Times Sep 17, 2009 Health Ills Abound as Farm Runoff Fouls Wells (Toxic Waters)
QUOTE: runoff from all but the largest farms is essentially unregulated by many of the federal laws intended to prevent pollution and protect drinking water sources.
New York Times Sep 04, 2009 For Your Health, Froot Loops
QUOTE: He [nutritionist Walter C. Willett] said the criteria used by the Smart Choices Program were seriously flawed, allowing less healthy products, like sweet cereals and heavily salted packaged meals, to win its seal of approval.
New York Times Aug 27, 2009 After Iowa Flood, Feeling Just a Bit Ignored
QUOTE: The outpouring of attention toward New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, ratcheting up again now as the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, has not been seen here [Cedar Rapids, Iowa]. In fact, the people of Cedar Rapids are feeling neglected.
New York Times Aug 23, 2009 Calls to tax junk food gain ground: A surcharge on cigarettes has helped curb smoking, but will the same tactic work to fight obesity?
QUOTE: To make a significant dent in escalating rates of obesity, taxes would have to be steep and widespread.
Los Angeles Times Aug 14, 2009 Major Carriers Shun Broadband Stimulus: Funds Would Come With Tighter Rules
QUOTE: The Obama administration made a national priority of spreading high-speed Internet access to every American home and offered stimulus money to help companies pay for it, but the biggest network operators are staying away from the program.
Washington Post Jul 29, 2009 City libraries shut out of broadband stimulus money?:
QUOTE: as library development directors look for funds to beef up their networks, they're not finding the support they expected from the White House's $7.2 billion broadband stimulus package.
Ars Technica Jul 03, 2009 Purity of Federal 'Organic' Label Is Questioned
QUOTE: the USDA [organic food] program's shortcomings mean that consumers, who at times must pay twice as much for organic products, are not always getting what they expect: foods without pesticides and other chemicals, produced in a way that is gentle to the environment.
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