Wildfires Prompt Congressional Push For Better Disaster Prevention in California

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California Sens. Dianne Feinstein an Kamala Harris continue to press for a bill to help the state better prepare for wildfires.

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would provide emergency funding for wildfires, much the same way the federal government handles other natural disasters like tornadoes and floods, without draining resources for forestry management and other long-term fire suppression work that seeks to help prevent the rapid spread of future fires.

The height of wildfire season in California is underway. Feinstein and Harris are urging Congress to reach a bipartisan agreement.

“With temperatures soaring into the triple digits and dry winds continuing to blow, this fire season is far from over,” Feinstein said in a statement. “We must take action now to help those who need it and to prepare for the future.”

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USDA Offers Help to California Agriculture

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set aside $4 million to help farmers and ranchers impacted by the California wildfires recover.

USDA also announced Monday that households impacted by recent wildfires in Northern California could be eligible for help buying food through USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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FSMA Final Rule on Produce Safety

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The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety rule is now final, and the earliest compliance dates for some farms begin one year after the effective date of the final rule (see “Compliance Dates” below). The rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.

This rule was first proposed in January 2013. In response to input received during the comment period and during numerous public engagements that included public meetings, webinars, listening sessions, and visits to farms across the country, the FDA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking in September 2014. The proposed revisions were designed to make the originally proposed rule more practical, flexible, and effective.

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Farm Bill Listening Tour Adds Stop In Rochester

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ALBANY — Here’s an opportunity to hear about the 2018 Farm Bill.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced Friday that there are additional listening sessions for the 2018 Farm Bill Listening Tour. The Tour provides state officials an opportunity to engage and hear from residents across New York regarding the 2018 Farm Bill. Hearing from constituents helps officials draft pertinent legislation.

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Goodlatte Unveils Bill To Provide Workable Guestworker Program

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The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee recently unveiled a bill to create a new, workable agricultural guestworker program for America’s farmers and ranchers.

The Agricultural Guestworker Act, or the AG Act, introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte R-VA, replaces the H-2A guestworker program with a program Goodlatte said is “reliable, efficient and fair.”

“The H-2A program is widely known to be expensive, time-consuming and flawed. Each year, employers using the H-2A program have to comply with a lengthy labor certification process that is slow and plagued with red tape.

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