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POLICY WATCH

Improving Endangered Species Provisions

This week, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on their proposal to clarify the critical habitat exclusion process that was included in the original Endangered Species Act (ESA). This process allows the FWS to provide an exemption to ESA critical habitat areas if the designation provides significant economic harm to those in the area. While the power is already granted to FWS, the rule will provide needed clarity and transparency to the process. Read full comments here.

FB Weighs in on USDA Organic Standards

Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) recently submitted comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on its proposal to strengthen the standards that govern USDA’s certified organic program for imported products. In the comments, NEFB supported USDA’s efforts to ensure the integrity of the USDA organic seal. The proposal would help ensure that foreign products meet the same standards as domestic products if they are to receive USDA’s certified organic label. Read full comments here.

FB Comments on USDA RFID Tag Plan

Nebraska Farm Bureau has submitted comments to USDA on the agency’s plan to shift toward the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for livestock that cross state lines for disease traceability purposes. Currently, producers can receive free metal clip tags, which are small and can be hard to read from a distance. USDA’s plan to shift toward RFID tags would involve USDA providing free RFID tags to producers. The plan would begin Jan. 1, 2023. The USDA plan would apply to the following:

  • Livestock that travel interstate (across state lines)
  • Sexually intact cattle and bison that are 18 months of age and older
  • All female dairy cattle of any age and male dairy animals born after March 11, 2013
  • Cattle and bison of any age used for rodeos, recreational events, or shows/exhibitions
  • All sheep, goats, swine, horses and other equines, captive cervids (e.g. deer and elk), and poultry

Read Farm Bureau’s full comments here.

WHIP+ Disaster Assistance Program Application Deadline Oct. 30

Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) continues to implement the WHIP+ Program, which is designed to assist producers who lost certain crops, trees, bushes, or vines due to natural disaster in 2018 or 2019. USDA has announced an Oct. 30, 2020, application deadline for 2018/2019 losses. Producers who are interested in this program and have not already contacted their county FSA office should do so as soon as possible. Producers should be prepared to identify: the disaster event that caused the loss and the approximate date of the event (please note excessive moisture is an eligible disaster event); what crops on the farm were impacted; and field location of the impacted crops. Learn more about the program here.

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