AMBA Joins Comment Letter on Conservation Compliance

The 2014 Farm Bill requires that producers that the USDA determines have highly erodible land (HEL) or wetlands must certify that they comply with certain conservation measures to receive crop insurance subsidies.  AMBA has joined a broad coalition of sportsman, conservation groups, lenders, commodities groups, and insurers in comments to the USDA to help ensure a smooth transition for those affected by this new requirement.

Farm Bills have long required producers to implement conservation practices (e.g. erosion control, wetland protection) and as a requirement to participate in many or most federal farm programs.  In recent years, conservation compliance did not apply to crop insurance subsidies, but the 2014 Farm Bill changes this.  The USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA) published an interim rule to set rules for implementing conservation compliance for crop insurance.

Most farm programs requiring conservation compliance are administered by the FSA.  Crop insurance is overseen by the Risk Management Agency (RMA).  There are a number of reporting dates, record keeping, and operational procedures between these two agencies that make this seemingly easy task somewhat complicated.  The letter and interim rule can be found here:

Letter

Rule

Harvesting Crop Insurance Profits

A simple fix could save taxpayers $40 billion without damaging the U.S. food supply.

Over the past three years, proposals from the Obama administration and the House Budget Committee to reform the $80 billion-a-year federal crop-insurance program have been defeated by opposition centered in the House and Senate agricultural committees. With the new Congress, Republicans and Democrats who stand for fiscal responsibility have an opportunity to finally implement reforms.

read more…

AMBA & NBGA Comment on Grain Storage in FDA Food Safety Proposal

American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) and the National Barley Growers Association (NBGA) have submitted comments on the FDA’s human and animal food supplemental proposed rules related to the treatment of facilities that simply store grains like barley.  In the supplemental rule, the FDA has modified their earlier definition of “holding” making an exemption for storage facilities, such as grain elevators, workable.  The comments support this new definition of holding and can be found by following the links below.

AMBA & NBGA FDA Comments for Human Food
AMBA & NBGA FDA Comments for Animal Food

EPA Biofuel Mandate Proposal, Good News for Barley?

The EPA announced Friday that it was proposing to scale back the government’s mandates for the use of biofuels.  Mandates were set in 2007 with blenders required to use ever increasing amounts of biofuels (mostly fuel ethanol) in the anticipation of a steady increase in gasoline consumption.  However, consumers have been driving fewer miles and buying more fuel efficient cars and gas consumption has declined.  Under the proposal, the biofuels target for 2014 would drop to …

Read More…

Regional Malting Barley

May 21, 2014 – Every North American brewer has their favorite variety or in most cases, group of varieties, that are suited to making their product line and perform well in their breweries.  Historically, the choices were made based on the barley that was best adapted to the region in which a brewery was located.  Six-rowed varieties originating from northeast China dominated in the eastern and midwestern US, two-rowed varieties from Europe in the intermountain west, and six-rowed varieties out of North Africa in California.  Each type had its own quality strengths, but their field performance was a primary force in determining what brewers were using in different regions of the continent.

read more….

All Malt Category Added to AMBA Barley Breeding Guidelines

Technical Committee (TC) representatives of the American Malting Barley Association’s (AMBA) twenty one Regular brewing, malting, and distilling members, met on April 17, 2014 in Milwaukee.  The TC added a set of analytical parameters to the “AMBA MALTING BARLEY BREEDING GUIDELINES – IDEAL COMMERCIAL MALT CRITERIA,” that would meet the requirements of AMBA’s 64 large and small members that produce all malt beers.

Read more…

US Barley – Feed Grain to Specialty Crop

Barley has gone from being a major feed grain to a specialty food crop in the last twenty-five years.  While there are still a few areas, primarily corn deficient regions, in the US that utilize barley for livestock, barley’s major use is for malting.  This malt makes its way into many of the cereals, crackers and baked goods that we eat and of course, the beer and other malt beverages that we drink.  This shift to a higher value food crop has occurred as acreage has declined and barley’s value has increased.

Read More…

FDA Extends Comment Period on Proposed Food Safety Rule

Administration (FDA or we) is extending the comment period for the proposed rule, and for the information collection related to the proposed rule, ‘‘Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food’’ that appeared in the Federal Register of January 16, 2013.
…written comments on the proposed rule by September 16, 2013.

Read More…

FDA Proposes Rule to Implement Food Safety Modernization Act

Administration (FDA) is proposing to amend its regulation for Current Good Manufacturing Practice In Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Human Food (CGMPs) to modernize it and to add requirements for domestic and foreign facilities that are required to register under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) to establish and implement hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for human food.

Read More…