Bill addresses rural vet shortage: Sens. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) and Mike Crapo (R., Ida.) continued their efforts to end the shortfall of veterinarians in rural areas by reintroducing the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act. The bill would eliminate taxes on programs that encourage veterinarians to practice in underserved areas. It also would provide a federal income tax exemption for payments received under the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program and similar state programs that encourage veterinarians to practice in smaller and rural communities. Rather than awarding full funding for this program each year, the program currently must immediately return 39% of the money it receives to the U.S. Treasury as a federal tax. The Johnson-Crapo bill removes this tax burden so one-third more veterinarians can be selected and help serve rural America.
Tonsager to leave USDA: U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary of rural development Dallas Tonsager announced that he's leaving after serving 12 years in leadership positions at the agency. He said leading the "group of 5,000 talented men and women has been an honor." Tonsager noted that, in recent years, USDA's Rural Development has carried out more work to help rural communities than at any other time in the agency's history. "As someone who has spent a lifetime working to strengthen rural America, I am excited about the future of farm country," Tonsager said.
CRA names Bode president: Following a three-month search process, the Corn Refiners Assn. (CRA) announced that John W. Bode will serve as the next president of the organization, starting May 6. Bode, a lawyer and lobbyist with many years of experience in public service, succeeds Audrae Erickson, who stepped down Dec. 31. In addition to working in private practice, Bode spent many years working on Capitol Hill and for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He spent 22 years at the law and lobbying firm Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz and was a principle in the firm at the time of his departure in 2011. Matthew Wineinger, chairman of CRA and president of Tate & Lyle Bulk Ingredients, said Bode "is an accomplished leader with a strong background in the food and agriculture sectors. CRA just celebrated its 100th anniversary, and John is the ideal person to lead us into our next century and take on the challenges before us." CRA represents the corn wet milling industry. Member companies manufacture sweeteners, ethanol, starch, bioproducts, corn oil and feed products from corn. Listen to an interview with Bode in the latest "Feedstuffs in Focus" podcast at www.Feedstuffs.com.
Seed treatment stewardship guide: The American Seed Trade Assn. (ASTA) and CropLife America (CLA) announced the release of "The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship," an industry-wide initiative to promote the safe handling and management of treated seed. Endorsed by the National Corn Growers Assn., American Farm Bureau Federation and American Soybean Assn., the guide provides farmers and seed companies with critical information and up-to-date guidelines for managing treated seed effectively to minimize the risk of exposure to non-target organisms. "The guide serves as an all-in-one resource that addresses every stage of a seed's journey from treatment to planting," ASTA president and chief executive officer Andrew W. LaVigne said. "It's designed to be convenient, easy to understand and useful to the entire seed and crop production value chain." ASTA and CLA began aggregating seed treatment research and safety information from universities, seed companies, international seed associations and others in early 2012 in response to growing concern about the effect of seed treatment dust on pollinators. "The health of pollinators, especially honeybees, is crucial to agricultural production in the U.S. and worldwide," noted Jay Vroom, CLA president and CEO. The guide contains recommendations for such processes as: planting treated seed, safe use of seed treatment products, safe handling and transport of seed, selecting treatment products, labeling treated seed and storing treated seed. The guide is available at www.seed-treatment-guide.com.
Consulting firm: Normand Brown, former director for regulatory affairs at Merck Animal Health, has formed RQC Inc., a consulting firm that will assist in registration and compliance matters for new products. Brown has 30 years of experience in the animal health industry, specializing in regulatory affairs and quality control. He noted that, on average, an animal health company must invest as much as $100 million and 7-10 years to develop and register a new drug and up to $80 million and three to five years for a new vaccine. Accordingly, he said RQC will work to make the process as efficient as possible not only for animal health companies but for veterinarians, livestock and poultry producers and pet owners "who benefit the most from innovations" in animal health products. Brown was in regulatory affairs at Merck (previously Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health) for 11 years, and before that, he held positions in regulatory affairs and quality control at Diamond Animal Health, Mallinckrodt Veterinary, SyntroVet and Coopers Animal Health. RQC can be reached at (402) 980-7388 or [email protected]