USDA has streamlined programs in ways the Department says will help farmers, ranchers and businesses.
"The improvements announced today will help businesses respond more quickly to market demands, provide producers with a more responsive farm safety net, and help our customers create jobs," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack noted.
If Vilsack is right, it could make a significant different for the economy. USDA notes American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the U.S. and provides American consumers with 86% of their food.
Some of the changes could also be important to farmers and ranchers in circumstances like those in North Carolina and Virginia this year, who suffered losses due to tornadoes, hurricanes and tropical storms. In areas in the Carolina-Virginia region, particularly near the coast, the devastation is still clearly visible where trees that smashed through roofs still have not been removed, debris that was once buildings are still scattered on field, ruined forest trees remain un-cleared and more.
Among others, the changes, announced Nov 10, include:
The Farm Service Agency is accepting comments on a proposed rule to streamline the process for its Secretarial Disaster Designation. USDA says this will allow farmers and ranchers who have been devastated by natural disaster to obtain emergency loans faster.
The FSA and the Risk Management Agency are establishing 15 common Acreage Reporting Dates (ARDs) for farmers and ranchers participating in FSA and RMA programs. These common reporting dates are designed to reduce the reporting burden and also lower USDA reporting costs.
APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) is reportedly improving the process for reviewing license applications for veterinary biologics. This agency also plans to improve processes for risk assessment and rulemaking for the importation of agricultural products.
APHIS hopes to significantly reduce the time for the petition process when it comes to requesting nonregulated status for genetically engineered organisms. The new process will also provide the opportunity for earlier input from the public on petitions for deregulations.
APHIS will also streamline the enforcement process against those who jeopardize plant and animal health welfare. The agency plans to resolve a typical case in 165 days – a time saving of 40%. The new target for complex cases is 215 days, a 46% time reduction.
For more information about each of the announced process improvements, visit www.fsa.usda.gov, www.aphis.usda.gov, or www.rma.usda.gov.