NAWG Weekly Update, June 01, 2017
MSU alum Norm Asbjornson Donates $2 Million to MSU’s Montana Plant Sciences Chair
Montana State University and the MSU Alumni Foundation has announced that longtime university supporter Norm Asbjornson has given $2 million in support of the Montana Plant Sciences Chair, the first endowed chair in the MSU College of Agriculture. The chair will formally be named the Winifred Asbjornson Plant Sciences Chair in honor of Asbjornson’s hometown of Winifred, where he grew up during the Depression. Asbjornson’s gift brings the university to within $200,000 of its $5 million goal for the endowment. The gift also marks the beginning of the fourth year of the endowment’s five-year fundraising plan. MSU plans to meet the remaining $200,000 through private development, according to Kevin Brown, senior director of development with the MSU Alumni Foundation. Read MSU’s release here.
Montana Ag Summit 2017
The 2017 Montana Ag Summit kicked off Wednesday night with a welcome reception by Montana Senator Steve Daines. On Thursday June 01, 2017, the Summit included several speakers and panels on various issues affecting present and future agriculture. Michelle Erickson Jones, Vice President of the Montana Grain Growers Association and a National Association of Wheat Growers Director, participated in a panel on international opportunities. The panel focused primarily on trade including the upcoming NAFTA negotiations, China, how to make U.S. exports competitive with other countries, and important aspects to focus on now that bilateral agreements are being pursued.
Within the Summit there was great discussion on supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers and the importance of innovation, diversification, technological advancement, and research for the future of agriculture. J. Christopher Giancarlo, Acting Chairman on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, gave a speech on the future of commodity markets, placing emphasis on the need for regulatory reform. He was immediately followed by a panel comprised of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Senator Pat Roberts, and Senator Steve Daines who spoke on the future of agriculture. Access Senator Daines’ Montana Agriculture Summit here.
House Committee on Agriculture Holds Next Farm Bill Hearing
On Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 10:00 a.m., the House Agriculture Committee will hold a Full Committee hearing titled “The Next Farm Bill: The Future of International Food Aid and Agricultural Development.”
National Academies Sets Committee to Study Ag Future, AgriPulse Reports
Scientists at Kansas State University and the University of California-Riverside will chair a panel that’s charged with coming up with a strategy for the future of agriculture research. The committee, being formed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, will have 11 other members, including scientists from Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Dartmouth, IBM, Iowa State University and UC-Davis. Thomas Grumbly, president of the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation, which is helping fund the year-long study, said the committee members are the “perfect set of leaders to produce a research agenda to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
Gluten-Free Food Product Surveillance Sampling Results
On August 2, 2013, the FDA issued a final rule defining “gluten-free” for food labeling to help consumers, especially those living with celiac disease, be confident that items labeled “gluten-free” meet a defined standard for gluten content. The final rule’s compliance date was August 5, 2014. To gauge compliance with one of the major requirements of the rule, the agency conducted a sampling assignment of products labeled “gluten free” from July 2015 to August 2016.
In all, the agency tested 702 individual samples from three commodity groups (cereals, grain bars and flours) and found only one of the products out of compliance. More than 250 types of products were analyzed as part of the assignment. FDA found that more than 99.5 percent of sampled food products labeled “gluten-free” are in compliance with a requirement that such foods contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten.