NAMA Update

Focusing on a new Congress and presidential administration.

This article is taken from the First Quarter 2021 MILLING JOURNAL

The North American Millers’ Association’s (NAMA) strategic plan is to focus on three main areas for the flour milling industry, which include: food safety, nutrition, and the supply chain.

In an effort to provide an in-depth update on the regulatory efforts of the association, NAMA staff wrote this article in coordination with Tucker Scharfenberg, Milling Journal managing editor.

As we turn to a new year, NAMA continues to be busy at work advocating for the nation’s millers and providing value to members. While continuing to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMA also is focusing on a new Congress and new administration, all while in a virtual setting.

The 116th Congress wrapped up in December, but not before legislators passed their fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding package. In addition to a number of COVID-19 relief provisions, the omnibus included an increase of $250,000 for genetic oat research – a top NAMA priority – as well as an increase of $10 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program and an increase of $15 million for Food for Peace (Title II). NAMA continues to be involved in congressional appropriations discussions for both genetic oat and wheat research funding and food aid funding. NAMA recently led a group letter to congressional leaders requesting a $1 billion allocation for international food aid in the next COVID-19 relief package to fight global hunger.

The North American Millers’ Association’s (NAMA) strategic plan is to focus on three main areas for the flour milling industry, which include: food safety, nutrition, and the supply chain.

In an effort to provide an in-depth update on the regulatory efforts of the association, NAMA staff wrote this article in coordination with Tucker Scharfenberg, Milling Journal managing editor.

As we turn to a new year, NAMA continues to be busy at work advocating for the nation’s millers and providing value to members. While continuing to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMA also is focusing on a new Congress and new administration, all while in a virtual setting.

The 116th Congress wrapped up in December, but not before legislators passed their fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding package. In addition to a number of COVID-19 relief provisions, the omnibus included an increase of $250,000 for genetic oat research – a top NAMA priority – as well as an increase of $10 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program and an increase of $15 million for Food for Peace (Title II). NAMA continues to be involved in congressional appropriations discussions for both genetic oat and wheat research funding and food aid funding. NAMA recently led a group letter to congressional leaders requesting a $1 billion allocation for international food aid in the next COVID-19 relief package to fight global hunger.

2021 Legislative Session

The start of the 117th Congress on Jan. 3, 2021 brought a host of new faces to Capitol Hill. Within the NAMA member footprint, there are 16 new members of the House and six new senators that NAMA is engaging actively. As part of this outreach, NAMA has identified and connected with any NAMA milling members with new congressional representation to set up virtual meet and greets with the new representatives and their staffs. Building these relationships with new members of Congress, while also fostering existing relationships on Capitol Hill, helps ensure NAMA members are well-positioned for any new pieces of legislation that may affect the industry.

Specifically, NAMA expects to see policies introduced this session regarding infrastructure, climate change, and sustainability. As such, the NAMA Supply Chain Committee is forming a new sustainability working group to be best prepared on these issues.

The NAMA Sustainability Working Group also will be attuned to any new sustainability policies initiated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which President Biden has chosen former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to lead once again.

Vilsack has stated that in addition to the continued COVID-19 response, his priorities include a focus on rural communities, addressing food shortages, and positioning American agriculture as a leader in climate change mitigation.

COVID-19 Response

As the nation battles the novel coronavirus, the Biden administration is committed to getting people vaccinated as quickly as possible. In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance that included who the federal government believe should be in the first phases of vaccine prioritization, which included essential workers such as those in the food and agriculture sector. While ultimately these decisions are being made at the state and local levels, NAMA has been actively engaged with coalition partners in sending letters to the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Biden administration on the importance of vaccinating food and agriculture workers after health care professionals.


NAMA recently led a group letter to congressional leaders requesting a $1 billion allocation for international food aid in the next COVID-19 relief package to fight global hunger.


Food Safety

On the regulatory front, NAMA has been active in evaluating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint (the Blueprint), which was released by FDA in July as a roadmap for FDA food safety priorities over the next 10 years.

Since July, FDA has announced a pilot program to evaluate alignment of private third-party food safety audit standards with the food safety requirements in two regulations under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – the Preventive Controls for Human Food (PC Human Food) and the Produce Safety rules. FDA also has held a “First 100 Day” review of FDA efforts related to the Blueprint, where it discussed further stakeholder engagement and various webinars/roundtables that will be held in 2021.


The NAMA Technical Committee Subcommittee on Food Safety has been reviewing the four core elements of the Blueprint, with an ultimate goal of identifying areas of interest to the milling industry and engaging FDA on those issues.


The NAMA Technical Committee Subcommittee on Food Safety has been reviewing the four core elements of the Blueprint, with an ultimate goal of identifying areas of interest to the milling industry and engaging FDA on those issues.

Additionally, the NAMA Technical Committee has been reviewing a FDA proposed rule published in September that would establish additional traceability recordkeeping requirements for certain foods. The intent of the proposal would be to standardize the data elements and information that firms must establish and maintain, as well as the information they would need to share with supply chain partners to facilitate rapid and accurate traceability.

While milled grains currently are not subject to the proposed rule, NAMA is reviewing the proposal for aspects that may not be practical for the milling industry. NAMA also will be looking to engage FDA on the complexity of the grain supply chain and how future traceability requirements could impact the industry.

NAMA Virtual Spring Conference

Due to the ongoing uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, the NAMA Spring Conference is going virtual. Sessions will be held during the afternoons of April 19 and 20. General session topics will include post-COVID-19 consumer demand and trends, carbon banking, and food safety.

The virtual conference also will feature the soft wheat crop report and forecast that is a regular feature of the NAMA Spring Conference.

For more information about NAMA issues and programs, contact Chris Clark, vice president-communications and administration, at 202-484-5621/cclark@namamillers.org.

NAMA Promotes | Kim Cooper to Director | of Government Affairs

The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) in December announced the promotion of Kim Cooper to director of government Affairs.

Since joining NAMA in June 2019, Cooper has worked to increase the milling industry’s presence with Congress, working on Capitol Hill almost daily before the pandemic.

According to NAMA President Jane DeMarchi, “Kim is an essential part of NAMA’s government affairs team and has developed expertise on a range of issues from appropriations to nutrition to transportation policy.”

Congress and presidential administration

  • Jane De Marchi Small
  • Dale Nellor
  • Kim Cooper
  • Chris Clark