Besides the inevitable (but maddeningly futile) talk about immigration, what else will be on the agenda?
AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo framed the committee input in this way in a statement: “The new members will advise the department on how to best meet the industry’s needs related to issues such as food safety and nutrition education, among others,” she said.
With Cathy Burns of PMA on the advisory committee, I’m sure nutrition education will be right in her wheelhouse.
The topic of food safety also will be huge for the committee, as rulemaking grinds on at the FDA and the USDA grows into its advisory and consultive role.
The USDA will no doubt educate the committee on the necessity of fee increases for some programs, and perhaps ask for recommendations on how those fee increases should be presented. Getting buy-in from the industry on the need for adjustments to fees is part of the value of the committee to the USDA.
And if Secretary Vilsack can budge the logjam on immigration reform, the quest for Middle East peace is waiting in the wings.