Text: S.2758 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (11/09/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 2758


To amend the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 to establish a national food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance program for agricultural producers, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

November 9, 2009

Ms. Stabenow (for herself, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Merkley, Mr. Sanders, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Bingaman, and Mr. Leahy) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry


A BILL

To amend the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 to establish a national food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance program for agricultural producers, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Growing Safe Food Act of 2009”.

SEC. 2. National food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance program.

(a) In general.—Title IV of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 is amended by inserting after section 404 (7 U.S.C. 7624) the following:

“SEC. 405. National food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance program.

“(a) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) AGRICULTURAL PRODUCER GROUP.—The term ‘agricultural producer group’ means a group—

“(A) the mission of which includes working on behalf of agricultural producers, grower-shippers, packers, distributors, and processors; and

“(B) a majority of the membership and board of directors of which are agricultural producers, grower-shippers, packers, distributors, and processors.

“(2) BEGINNING FARMER.—The term ‘beginning farmer’ means a farmer who, as determined by the Secretary—

“(A) has not operated a farm or who has operated a farm for not more than 10 years;

“(B) materially and substantially participates in the operation of the farm; and

“(C) provides substantial day-to-day labor and management of the farm.

“(3) CONSERVATION SYSTEMS.—The term ‘conservation systems’ means conservation practices, activities, and management measures that are based on local resource conditions and the standards and guidelines contained in the Natural Resources Conservation Service field office technical guides.

“(4) MARKET VALUE OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS.—The term ‘market value of agricultural products’ means gross income derived from—

“(A) the production of agricultural commodities and unfinished raw forestry products;

“(B) the production of livestock and products produced by, or derived from, livestock;

“(C) the production of farm-based renewable energy;

“(D) the processing, packing, storing, and transporting of farm and forestry commodities, including renewable energy;

“(E) the feeding, rearing, or finishing of livestock (exclusive of the cost or other basis of livestock purchased for resale); and

“(F) any other similar market activity related to farming or forestry, as determined by the Secretary.

“(5) NATIONAL INTEGRATED FOOD SAFETY INITIATIVE.—The term ‘national integrated food safety initiative’ means the integrated research, education, and extension competitive grants program carried out under section 406.

“(6) SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED FARM.—The term ‘small and medium-sized farm’ means a farm on which the market value of agricultural products, averaged over the most recent 3-year period for which data are available (including the market value generated by all of the individuals or legal entities that operate or have an ownership interest in the farm) does not exceed $1,000,000.

“(7) SMALL FOOD PROCESSORS.—The term ‘small food processor’ has the meaning given the term by the Secretary.

“(8) SMALL FRUIT AND VEGETABLE MERCHANT WHOLESALER.—The term ‘small fruit and vegetable merchant wholesaler’ has the meaning given the term by the Secretary.

“(9) SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED FARMER.—The term ‘socially disadvantaged farmer’ has the same meaning given the term ‘socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher’ in section 355(e) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 2003(e)) with respect to a farmer.

“(10) SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE.—The term ‘sustainable agriculture’ has the meaning given the term in section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3103).

“(b) Establishment.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall establish a competitive grant program to provide food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance to—

“(A) owners and operators of farms;

“(B) small food processors; and

“(C) small fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers.

“(2) APPLICABILITY.—Food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance provided under this section shall relate only to foods under the authority of the Commissioner of Food and Drugs and not to foods under the authority of the Secretary.

“(3) INTEGRATED APPROACH.—To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall carry out the program under this section in a manner that integrates food safety standards and guidance with sustainable agriculture and conservation systems.

“(4) PRIORITY.—In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to projects that target small and medium-sized farms, small processors, and small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers.

“(5) COORDINATION.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall coordinate implementation of the program under this section with the national integrated food safety initiative.

“(B) INTERACTION.—The Secretary shall—

“(i) in carrying out the program under this section, take into consideration applied research, education, and extension results obtained from the national integrated food safety initiative; and

“(ii) in determining the applied research agenda for the national integrated food safety initiative, take into consideration the needs articulated by the user community served by projects funded by the program under this section.

“(c) Grants.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall make competitive grants to support training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance projects to increase understanding and implementation of food safety standards, guidance, and protocols developed under chapter IV of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 341 et seq.), including, as appropriate to the targeted customer group—

“(A) good agricultural practices;

“(B) good handling practices;

“(C) good manufacturing practices;

“(D) produce safety standards;

“(E) risk analysis and preventative control mechanisms,

“(F) sanitation standard operating procedures;

“(G) safe packaging and storage systems;

“(H) recordkeeping for product sourcing and sales, including traceability standards if relevant;

“(I) food safety audits and certification; and

“(J) other similar activities, as determined by the Secretary.

“(2) ENCOURAGED FEATURES.—The Secretary shall encourage projects carried out using grant funds under this section to include features that provide training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance in sustainable agriculture and conservation systems.

“(3) ORGANIC AGRICULTURE.—The Secretary may make grants under this section to projects that target farms that have, or are transitioning to, certified organic production under the national organic program established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.).

“(4) MAXIMUM TERM AND SIZE OF GRANT.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—A grant under this section shall—

“(i) have a term that is not more than 3 years; and

“(ii) be in an amount that is not more than $600,000 each year.

“(B) CONSECUTIVE GRANTS.—An eligible recipient may receive consecutive grants under this section.

“(d) Grant eligibility.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—To be eligible for a grant under this section, the recipient shall be—

“(A) a State cooperative extension service;

“(B) a Federal, State, local, or tribal agency;

“(C) a nonprofit community-based or nongovernmental organization;

“(D) an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a))) or a foundation maintained by an institution of higher education;

“(E) an agricultural producer group;

“(F) a collaboration of 2 of more eligible recipients described in this subsection; or

“(G) such other appropriate recipient, as determined by the Secretary.

“(2) MULTISTATE PARTNERSHIPS.—Grants under this section may be made for projects involving more than 1 State.

“(e) Project evaluation criteria.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—In making grants under this section, the Secretary shall evaluate proposals based on the extent to which the proposed project—

“(A) demonstrates relevancy, technical merit, and achievability;

“(B) demonstrates knowledge of the goals and requirements of chapter IV of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 341 et seq.) that are directly relevant to the proposed project;

“(C) benefits small and medium-sized farms, small processors, and small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers;

“(D) reaches beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, and underserved geographic areas;

“(E) demonstrates a successful track record in training and outreach programs with the community to be served;

“(F) includes adequate outreach plans;

“(G) demonstrates a capacity to reach a large percentage of eligible participants in the targeted customer group;

“(H) includes adequate plans for a participatory evaluation process and outcome-based reporting;

“(I) leverages cash and in-kind contributions from State, local, and private sources;

“(J) includes substantive, funded collaborations between eligible recipients, including nonprofit community-based or nongovernmental organizations and agricultural producer groups; and

“(K) maximizes other appropriate factors, as determined by the Secretary.

“(2) REGIONAL BALANCE.—In making grants under this section, the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, ensure—

“(A) geographic diversity; and

“(B) diversity of types of agricultural production.

“(f) Relationship to other programs.—

“(1) INTERAGENCY COORDINATION.—The Secretary shall coordinate implementation of the program under this section with the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to food safety standards, guidance, and protocols developed under chapter IV of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 341 et seq.).

“(2) CONSISTENCY.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Projects funded by this program shall be consistent with—

“(i) sustainable agriculture;

“(ii) conservation practices (as defined in section 1240A of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–1)); and

“(iii) conservation activities (as defined in section 1238D of that Act (16 U.S.C. 3838d)).

“(B) ORGANIC STANDARDS.—With respect to certified organic production, projects funded under this section shall be consistent with the national organic program established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.).

“(g) Reporting requirements.—The Secretary shall require grant recipients to submit—

“(1) annual reports; and

“(2) at the completion of the grant period, an evaluation of the project funded under this section.

“(h) Curriculum and training material clearinghouse.—The Secretary may enter into a cooperative agreement with any entity eligible to receive a grant under this section for the purpose of establishing a nationwide online clearinghouse of information relating to the on-farm production, harvesting, packing, transporting, and processing of safe food that makes available educational curricula and training materials and programs that further the purposes of this section.

“(i) Technical assistance.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary may use funds made available under subsection (k) to provide technical assistance to grant recipients to further the purposes of this section.

“(2) TYPES.—Technical assistance under paragraph (1) may—

“(A) be in the form of a train-the-trainer program; and

“(B) include or be provided by food safety extension teams of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“(j) Best practices for State programs.—Based on evaluations of projects funded under this section, the Secretary shall recommend on an iterative basis a set of best practices and models for food safety training programs for agricultural producers and small food processors.

“(k) Authorization for appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $50,000,000 for each fiscal year, of which—

“(1) not more than 3 percent may be used for a curriculum and training materials clearinghouse under subsection (h);

“(2) not more than 10 percent may be used for technical assistance under subsection (i); and

“(3) not more than 4 percent may be used for administrative costs incurred by the Secretary in carrying out this section.”.

(b) Integrated research, education, and extension competitive grants program.—Section 406(c) of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7626(c)) is amended—

(1) by striking “Grants under” and inserting the following:

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Grants under”; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

“(3) EMPHASIS.—In carrying out the food safety initiative under this section, the Secretary shall emphasize integrated projects that address priority research, education, and extension needs relevant to implementing this Act and other applicable agricultural research laws, including projects that—

“(A) aid in the development and repeated improvement of food safety standards, guidance, and protocols, including produce standards and guidance;

“(B) analyze on an iterative basis the most critical points of risk in the food system for fresh produce and other raw agricultural commodities;

“(C)(i) determine conservation and biodiversity standards and practices that positively address food safety concerns; and

“(ii) develop education and decision support tools to assist landowners with those standards and practices;

“(D) investigate methods to reduce the impact of animals of significant risk on contamination of food;

“(E) identify low-cost, effective food safety practices for highly diversified agricultural operations;

“(F) develop decision support tools to aid in the effective implementation of whole-farm food safety plans; and

“(G) address other similar topics, as determined by the Secretary.”.


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