Action Alert (Texas): Opportunities for Texans to Speak Up

There are several opportunities in the next two weeks for Texans to speak up to support independent agriculture and local foods. The Texas Senate Agriculture Committee is holding a hearing on food safety, USDA is taking comments on research and grants for produce growers, and the Texas Animal Health Commission is doing a survey on public satisfaction with the agency. More information on each is below.

TAHC SURVEY

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) is doing an online survey on people’s experience and satisfaction with the agency. The survey is being conducted by an independent researcher at U.T. Austin, and is just one page long, with multiple choice questions. After submitting your answers, you can also submit a comment. You can choose to include your name or to stay anonymous.

Click this link to respond to the survey: http://www.orgexcel.net/survey/index.php?&sc=55401

The deadline to respond is Wednesday, May 19, 2010.

 

TEXAS SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE HEARING

The Texas Senate Agriculture Committee has been charged with studying the following issues:

* Study current federal, state and local safeguards to protect our food supply. Identify gaps that may exist in Texas statute, agency roles, and authority for ensuring a safe food supply for Texas, including imported fruits and vegetables. Examine the impact of revised federal regulations on the State, and the potential impact of pending federal legislation. Examine the existing capabilities of the public health system on the border to accomplish public health surveillance of food.

* Study the impact of windblown herbicides on grape growing and other agricultural production. Make recommendations for improving the safety and quality of Texas agricultural products.

* Monitor the Texas Department of Agriculture’s efforts to reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids in foods provided by Texas schools.

The Committee is holding a public hearing on these issues:

WHEN: Monday, May 24, starting at 9 am

WHERE: Room E1.012, Capitol Extension, Austin, TX

WHAT: The Committee will hear both invited and public testimony, so come share your comments.

 

USDA LISTENING SESSION ON SPECIALTY CROPS

USDA is holding a stakeholder listening session of the Specialty Crop Committee or the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (NAREEEAB).

WHEN: May 25, 2010 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
WHERE: San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk, 889 East Market Street, San Antonio, TX.
COMMENTS: In addition to coming to the meeting, you can also file written comments until June 7. Mail to: David Kelly, Acting Executive Director, NAREEEAB Office, USDA, Room 344-A, Jamie L. Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-2255.

The Committee’s charge is to study the scope and effectiveness of research, extension, and economics programs affecting the specialty crop industry, which includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, and nursery crops (including floriculture). In addition to its general charge, the Committee seeks input on the Specialty Crop Research Initiative priorities and program administration, as well as its interaction with any research undertaken by the state-administered Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. There will be several panel sessions, followed by questions from the Committee and public comments.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: David Kelly, telephone: (202) 720-4421; fax: (202) 720-6199; or e-mail: David.kelly@ars.usda.gov.