CSG Midwest
Between 2003 and 2009, a string of high-profile foodborne illnesses hit consumers across the United  States. There were salmonella outbreaks from produce, hepatitis A infections from raw or undercooked green onions, and cases of pet foods contaminated with melamine. And nine people died and more than 700 got sick from eating salmonella-tainted peanut butter traced back to a single processing plant in Georgia.
In the wake of these deaths and illnesses, federal food-safety legislation that had been many decades in the making finally got signed into law.
CSG Midwest

Could the Great Lakes be used even more to satisfy the U.S. demand for seafood? There is no question that U.S. consumers seem to have an insatiable appetite for it. In addition to the production of $9 billion worth of edible fish in 2015, we imported more than $20 billion worth. And as a result of decades of overfishing, natural fisheries cannot meet global demand — about half of all seafood is farmed fish from China, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. 

In Michigan, state agencies have received concept proposals to establish privately owned net-pen operations (where fish are raised in an underwater net) in the Great Lakes. And various bills were introduced this year to modify state law on aquaculture.

CSG Midwest
Inspired by some of the farmer-led projects being done in neighboring Iowa and looking for new ways to improve water quality, legislators in Wisconsin are providing financial assistance to groups of agricultural producers that collaborate on new conservation initiatives. The Producer Led Watershed Protection Grants Program was included in the state’s current budget (adopted in 2015), which provides $250,000 annually, with individual grants capped at $20,000. Participating producers must provide a 1:1 funding match.

On July 29, President Barack Obama signed into law S. 764, a bill to reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act, which includes a provision to create a federal labeling standard for foods with genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs, and preempts any state laws. The legislation, also known as the Roberts-Stabenow bill, passed the House of Representatives 306-117 and Senate 63-30 earlier this month.

On July 29, President Barack Obama signed into law S. 764, a bill to reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act, which includes a provision to create a federal labeling standard for foods with genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs, and preempts any state laws. The legislation, also known as the Roberts-Stabenow bill, passed the House of Representatives 306-117 and Senate 63-30 earlier this month.

CSG Midwest

Voters in North Dakota have overturned a legislative decision in 2015 to provide new exemptions to the state’s decades-old ban on corporate farming. Under last year’s law (SB 2351), corporations were allowed to own up to 640 acres for pork and dairy operations. (Corporate ownership of any other type of farming operation, or of farmland, remained illegal.)

On Tuesday, June 14, North Dakotans went to the polls to vote to repeal a bill that allowed the expansion of corporate farming in the state. Voters overwhelmingly chose to repeal SB 2351 by a measure of 75 percent to 25 percent. According to the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas, eight other states also have laws or statutes that limit or prohibit corporate farming.

CSG Midwest

To better maintain their state’s two fairgrounds, some Illinois legislators want to create a new foundation that solicits private donations. Under HB 4990 and SB 2903, the Fairgrounds Foundation would be housed within the state Department of...

CSG Midwest

Farmers in the states and provinces that make up CSG Midwest’s Midwestern Legislative Conference are the most prolific producers of edible protein in the world. This is an enviable position to be in, especially at a time when demand for high-protein diets is on the rise, and a new binational partnership is seeking to make the most of this regional economic advantage. Developed by the Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis, the “Protein Highway” initiative encompasses three...

CSG Midwest
For North Dakota Sen. Terry Wanzek, recently passed legislation in his state to provide exemptions to a ban on corporate hog and dairy farming is all about the preservation of the family farm — including his own.
“My cousin owns a dairy farm next door to our crop farm,” explains Wanzek, who sponsored SB 2351 last year. “He is investing heavily in updated facilities, but if we wanted to incorporate together to add value to my crops, any corporation would be illegal should our children inherit it, because they are not closely enough related.”
SB 2351, passed by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly, would provide the necessary exemptions. Specifically, it would allow corporations to own up to 640 acres for a dairy or hog farm; corporate ownership of any other type of farming operation, or of farmland, would remain illegal in North Dakota.
“We have to provide ways for family farms to grow and continue to the next generation,” Wanzek says.
But opponents of the legislation (including the North Dakota Farmers Union) say SB 2351 is not the answer, and they gathered enough signatures to force a statewide vote on it in June. A “no” vote would mean that corporate dairy and hog farms owned by individuals further apart than three degrees of kinship would remain illegal.

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