Agribusiness
Governor Quinn Makes Cabinet Appointment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Nafia Khan   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:43

Names Bob Flider to Head Department of Agriculture

SPRINGFIELD – February 15, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today named Bob Flider director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Today’s action is the latest in a series of appointments Governor Quinn has made as he continues to fulfill his commitment to creating jobs, fostering economic development, and increasing efficiency and accountability in all areas of state government.

“It is important that our Agriculture agency is led by someone who understands the key role of agri-business in our economy,” Governor Quinn said. "Throughout his career, Bob Flider was a tireless, effective leader for rural farming communities and global agri-business leaders. He served his district with distinction, and I am pleased he will continue to serve all the people of our state.”

Bob Flider served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2003 through 2011. As a legislator, Flider worked on a number of agriculture issues, serving on the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee, the Energy & Environment Committee and the Ethanol Production Oversight Committee. Flider also served as chairman of the House Electric Generation & Commerce Committee and vice chairman of the House Renewable Energy Committee. He was named an “Agriculture Certified Legislator” by the Illinois Farm Bureau in 2004, and he was named a “Friend of Agriculture” by the Illinois Farm Bureau in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

“Bob has a thorough understanding of the issues facing agriculture and agri-business, and he will be a strong advocate for all the state’s agricultural sectors as Director,” said Chris Olsen, Vice President of Community and Government Affairs at Tate & Lyle.

“After spending the last several years advocating for people in our farming communities and agribusiness, I look forward to continuing that work on a statewide level,” Flider said. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this important position and I look forward to working closely with our state's agriculture and agribusiness leaders to help Governor Quinn double Illinois' exports by 2014.”

Flider brings a variety of management, agriculture and economic development experiences to the Department of Agriculture. Since March of 2011, he has been Director of Broadband Impact -- promoting technology access in rural Illinois communities -- at the not-for-profit Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He also serves on the board of directors for United Way of Illinois and is an associate member of the Macon County Farm Bureau. He is a past board Director of the Decatur-Macon County Economic Development Corporation and member of the Mt. Zion Chamber of Commerce. He served as mayor of Mt. Zion from 1995 until 2003, and started his career as a news reporter with the Mattoon Journal Gazette and Charleston Times-Courier.

Flider received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 1979. He resides in Mt. Zion with his wife, Jean. They have three adult children and one grandchild.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) regulates Illinois agribusiness to protect both producers and consumers of raw and processed agricultural products from mislabeled, contaminated or diseased commodities. Agency programs help to protect our state’s natural resources through regulatory oversight and financial incentives. The department also promotes Illinois agriculture by conducting state fairs, providing grant assistance to 4-H clubs, funding county fairs, marketing Illinois agricultural products and providing assistance to develop new, value-added agricultural ventures.

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Host Chinese Officials at First U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:36

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2012– TOMORROW, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host American and Chinese officials and private sector representatives for the first U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa. Vilsack traveled to China for the second time as Agriculture Secretary in November to continue to strengthen bilateral trade relations and support the American brand of agriculture throughout the Asia Pacific region. During the visit, Vilsack and Chinese officials developed the U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium as a key forum to expand their discussions into 2012 and beyond. The all-day forum will feature a morning program of remarks by U.S. and Chinese officials, followed by discussions on four main topics: sustainable agriculture; food security; food safety; and the role of the private sector in agriculture in the United States and China. USDA anticipates about 100 guests for the Symposium, including high-level U.S. and Chinese officials.

 

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012

9-9:45 a.m. CST

 

WHAT: Remarks by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, Chinese Agriculture Minister Han Changfu, and other officials.

 

WHERE: World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

100 Locust Street

Des Moines, IA 50309

 
Grassley, Nelson Say Stalling on BSE Rule Hurts U.S. Beef Producers, Exports PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 17 February 2012 15:33

WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ben Nelson of Nebraska are leading a bipartisan group of 31 senators pressing the administration to issue a comprehensive BSE rule.  The rule has been in the works for several years, but is currently stalled within the Office of Management and Budget.

In 2004, USDA announced its plans for developing a comprehensive BSE rule, a comprehensive rule the U.S. beef industry has requested for many years. Earlier this year, APHIS submitted a proposed comprehensive BSE rule to OMB, but it has yet to be printed in the “Federal Register” asking for public comment.

In the senators’ letter to Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients and Animal Plant Health and Inspection Services Administrator, Dr. Gregory Parham, the senators asked them to issue the BSE comprehensive rule as soon as possible.

“Operating without a comprehensive rule has put our trade negotiators in a tough spot.  On one hand they are urging our trading partners to abide by scientific standards, yet we have failed to lead by example by adopting a comprehensive rule,” Grassley said.  “These are important rules that can provide a tremendous boost to our beef producers by ensuring their export markets remain open.”

“Today, overseas markets are more important than ever for America’s beef producers, including those in my state of Nebraska. Adopting a comprehensive BSE rule will help them by giving our trade negotiators a stronger hand in advocating for U.S. beef. And it will demonstrate to overseas markets the U.S. is leading the way on food safety as it offers nutritious and healthful beef products,” Nelson said.

The letter was signed by Grassley and Nelson along with senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Dick Lugar of Indiana, Jim Moran of Kansas, John Boozman of Arkansas, John Risch of Idaho, Rob Portman of Ohio, Dan Coats of Indiana, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, John Thune of South Dakota, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Patty Murray of Washington,  Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, John Cornyn of Texas, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom  Harkin of Iowa.

Here is a copy of the text of the letter.  For a signed copy of the letter click here.

 

February 13, 2012

 

The Honorable Jeffrey Zients

Acting Director

Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20503

 

Dr. Gregory Parham

Administrator

Animal Plant Health and Inspection Services

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave., SW

Washington, D.C. 20250

 

Dear Acting Director Zients and Administrator Parham:

 

On behalf of America’s beef producers, we urge you to move forward and publish the comprehensive rule for BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). Non-tariff trade barriers limit our ability to sell U.S. beef to consumers in other countries. Beef producers need our trade negotiators to significantly reduce or eliminate non-tariff trade barriers by requiring our trading partners to make science-based decisions regarding U.S. beef. By the same logic, it is also important for our government to take the necessary steps to properly address risks related to BSE by adopting a comprehensive rule.  For the benefit of U.S. beef producers, APHIS and OMB must issue a comprehensive BSE rule as soon as possible.

 

A prime example of where non-science based standards have significantly limited our ability to sell U.S. beef is in the country of Mexico.  Since 2004, Mexico has not allowed the importation of U.S. cattle that are over 30 months of age.  Mexico has traditionally been one of the top export markets for U.S. beef; however, due to the 30 month age restriction, it is estimated U.S. beef producers are losing $100 million annually.

 

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has formally classified the United States and Mexico as controlled risk countries.  According to the OIE’s guidelines on BSE, this common classification reflects the fact that both countries have effective BSE risk mitigation measures in place.  Moreover, the OIE guidelines establish that beef and beef products from cattle of all ages in either country can be safely traded and consumed once specified risk materials have been properly removed.

 

The failure of Mexico to abide by the international guidelines on BSE represents a lost opportunity on at least two levels.  First, it unduly restricts U.S. beef exports and results in ongoing financial losses for U.S. beef producers.  Beyond its immediate commercial impact, Mexico’s treatment of U.S. beef also has implications on our ability to negotiate beef market access agreements with other nations.

 

By having a comprehensive BSE rule in place, the U.S. will show leadership on the global scale and will give USTR and USDA a stronger position to press other nations to follow the OIE’s guidelines and adopt science-based BSE policies.  As a result, when nations base their decisions on sound science, we are confident more markets will be expanded or opened to U.S. beef.

 

In 2004, USDA announced its plans for developing a comprehensive BSE rule, a comprehensive rule the U.S. beef industry has requested for many years. Earlier this year, APHIS submitted a proposed comprehensive BSE rule to OMB, but it has yet to be printed in the “Federal Register” asking for public comment.  During a June 23, 2011 hearing on livestock before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Administrator Parham stated he expected the comprehensive BSE rule to be released sometime in FY2012.

 

We appreciate Administrator Parham’s commitment; however, there is a lot of time left in fiscal year 2012.  We urge you to release the rule as soon as possible.  The sooner the rule is allowed to move through the required rule-making process, the sooner we will be able to give our international negotiators this important tool for pushing our trading partners to adopt similar science-based approaches.

 

We appreciate your attention to this important matter.

 

Sincerely,

 
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Host Chinese Officials at First U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 10 February 2012 09:06

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2012–On THURSDAY, Feb. 16, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host American and Chinese officials and private sector representatives for the first U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa. Vilsack traveled to China for the second time as Agriculture Secretary in November to continue to strengthen bilateral trade relations and support the American brand of agriculture throughout the Asia Pacific region. During the visit, Vilsack and Chinese officials developed the U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium as a key forum to expand their discussions into 2012 and beyond. The all-day forum will feature a morning program of remarks by U.S. and Chinese officials, followed by discussions on four main topics: sustainable agriculture; food security; food safety; and the role of the private sector in agriculture in the United States and China. USDA anticipates about 100 guests for the Symposium, including high-level U.S. and Chinese officials.

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012

9-9:45 a.m. CST

WHAT: Remarks by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, Chinese Agriculture Minister Han Changfu, and other officials.

WHERE: World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

100 Locust Street

Des Moines, IA 50309 

 

RSVP: Credentialed members of the media may attend the 9-9:45 a.m. opening session. Media should RSVP by contacting Stephanie Chan at (202) 720-4623 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

#

 
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Discuss President Obama’s Blueprint for Economic Revitalization and Job Creation in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 10 February 2012 09:04

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2012- TODAY,  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a roundtable with Iowa agriculture and business leaders as well as Des Moines Area Community College faculty and students to discuss President Obama’s efforts to strengthen the Iowa economy. He will also discuss USDA’s efforts to support Iowa’s rural communities and agriculture sector.

In Iowa, USDA has provided 62 grants and loans to assist rural small and mid-sized businesses create or save 5,300 jobs over the past three years. USDA has also improved and modernized rural electric infrastructure for over 91,000 rural residents and businesses in Iowa with more than 2,636 miles of new and upgraded electric lines. Across the country, USDA has helped more than 7,435 rural families in all 99 counties buy or refinance a home.  The department has provided grants and loans for water and waste water community infrastructure projects to help safeguard the health of 257,000 rural residents and create or save 1,900 jobs.

Friday, Feb. 10, 2012

9:45 a.m. CST

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a roundtable with Iowa agriculture

and business leaders as well as Des Moines Area Community College faculty and students to discuss President Obama’s efforts to strengthen the Iowa economy.

WHERE: Des Moines Area Community College– Room 101

Building 3E

2006 South Ankeny Blvd.

Ankeny, Iowa 50023

 
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