Jewel Bronaugh’s nomination is headed to the Senate floor.
The Senate Ag Committee used a voice vote Monday evening to send her nomination to be USDA’s next deputy secretary to the Senate floor after Bronaugh, currently the Virginia ag commissioner, took part in an April hearing.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the committee, said “it is clear Dr. Bronaugh is a highly qualified leader who has strong experience working on the ground to support our farmers, families, and rural communities.”
By the way: A handful of other nominees are awaiting committee consideration: Robert Bonnie, the pick for undersecretary for farm production and conservation programsJanie Hipp, nominated to be USDA general counsel and Jenny Lester Moffitt, the nominee to head up USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Programs mission area
FDA reaches out to animal biotech stakeholders with July meeting
 The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday it will hold a meeting in July to reach out to stakeholders on its regulatory process for approving animal products made using biotechnology.
The issue is a controversial one: In February, USDA extended its comment period on a proposal issued by the Trump administration to shift responsibility for such products to USDA. That deadline ended May 7 with nearly 4,000 comments submitted.
FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine said it’s holding the outreach session to “collect feedback from stakeholders in order to enhance the predictability, transparency, and efficiency of the review process for intentional genomic alterations in animals.”
Counties may use state and local coronavirus funding for broadband buildout
Treasury Department officials say coronavirus relief for state and local governments signed into law in March may be invested in broadband infrastructure.
The department issued guidance for the $362 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Monday.
“This aid represents an historic investment in counties on the front lines of our nation’s coronavirus response and recovery efforts,” says Matthew Chase, National Association of Counties executive director.
The text includes $65.1 billion in direct and flexible aid to counties across America. It also includes $1.5 billion in investments over two years in federal public lands.
Grazing, pesticide use cited in decision to review status of western bumble bee
 The effects of grazing and pesticide use are singled out in a Fish and Wildlife Service decision to conduct a status review to determine whether Suckley’s cuckoo bumble bee deserves protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The bee’s range includes Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and New York. The Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned for the bee to be listed under the ESA.
Among the potential threats to the insect, said FWS: livestock grazing and habitat loss from fire management, agricultural intensification, and pesticide use for bark beetle management.
The service also determined endangered species reviews are necessary for Clover's cactus, which occurs in New Mexico and Colorado, and Aztec gilia, a flowering plant from New Mexico. Both are potentially threatened by grazing activities, FWS said.
First US exports of cattle embryos to Philippines
The first-ever commercial shipment of beef cattle embryos to the Philippines arrived last week and more are expected soon, according to a new report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
The 93 straws of embryos, valued at $28,000, arrived at Juliana's Cattle Farm and the sale was facilitated by funding from the USDA Market Access Program funding. Funds were used to bring Philippine buyers to Kansas, where they were hosted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
It was about a year ago that the Philippines government finalized a health protocol with USDA that allowed the trade to happen, according to the FAS report, which noted that the buyers “expect additional shipments of 100 to 200 straws of frozen beef embryos within the next 12 months.”
Brazil’s shrinking corn production forecast
Drought conditions are hitting Brazil’s center-south region hard, pushing down forecasts for corn production. The corn in the ground now is known as the “safrinha” – the second crop planted after Brazil’s soybean harvest – and there’s been little rain in the largest growing region for more than a month, according to the consulting firm AgRural.
The company said Monday it has lowered its total production forecast for the entire 2020-21 marketing year to 95.5 million metric tons of corn, down from an earlier prediction of 103.4 million tons and down from the previous year’s production of 102.6 million tons.
Meanwhile, China is making massive commitments to buy U.S. corn from the next harvest this year and take delivery in the 2021-22 marketing year. The USDA announced on Monday an export sale of 1.02 million tons of U.S. new crop corn to Chinese buyers
Cow dung found in luggage at Dulles Airport
U.S. customs officials discover a lot of unusual livestock-derived items in suitcases, but the Customs and Border Protection agency says a recent find takes the cake – literally cow dung cakes.
CBP found the tightly-packed excrement in baggage at Washington Dulles Airport that was left behind by passengers traveling on an Air India flight. In some countries, cow dung is used as a cooking source and as a skin detoxifier. However, it is prohibited from India because of the induction of Foot and Mouth Disease, which is deadly to livestock.
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