Policy & Politics

Thatcher Sees No Senate Climate Vote This Year

Published Jul. 1, 2009

Mary Kay Thatcher, AFBF director of public policy, tells Agriculture Online that Farm Bureau doesn't anticipate the massive climate change bill passed by the House last week to pass the Senate this year. And the New York Times reported Tuesday that opposition from Farm Bureau and other...

Tobacco Regulation Bill Being Debated

Published Jun. 5, 2009

Legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products appears on track for passage after a procedural vote in the Senate on Thursday, but Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) are taking steps to slow or stop the bill.

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Adam Sharp and Chris Henney share more about why Trade Matters in this video update.

Trade Matters - Take Action Now

Published May. 31, 2011

$3 Billion in Additional Exports, Economic Development and Jobs. That’s what is gained once the Korea, Panama and Colombia Free Trade Agreements are implemented. But while the Administration and Congress delay action, current American agricultural market share is being cut by other countries...

Trio of Senators Offer New Climate Change Proposal

Published Dec. 23, 2009

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I.-Conn.) on Thursday held a press conference to talk up a proposal on climate legislation that includes caps on greenhouse gas emissions and incentives for offshore oil-and-gas exploration and nuclear power plants.

Two WTO Dispute Panel Requests Blocked

Published Nov. 2, 2009

Two World Trade Organization dispute panel requests were blocked recently. The United States blocked a request by Canada and Mexico requesting that a WTO dispute panel look into U.S. country-of-origin labeling rules. The two countries contend COOL has made U.S. processors reluctant to buy...

U.S. Beef Hormone Agreement Signed

Published May. 21, 2009

The United States and the European Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in their dispute over the EU’s import ban on U.S. beef produced with hormones.

U.S. District Court Enjoins Obama H2-A Rule

Published Jul. 1, 2009

A Federal District Court in North Carolina recently issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from suspending the H2-A rule, issued last December. The preliminary injunction reinstates the Bush rule, which would have been suspended July 1, and halts DOL from...

U.S. EPA Names Agriculture Advisor

Published Jun. 1, 2009

Larry Elworth, has been named as chief Agriculture Counselor to Administrator Lisa Jackson. Larry has more than 30 years experience in agriculture and brings to EPA an understanding of all sides of agricultural issues.

U.S. Farmers Rank Low on Global Subsidy Scale

Published Jun. 15, 2009

Research by Texas Tech University’s Economics Research Institute (CERI) shows that all countries, regardless of size, protect their agricultural producers and generally far more than the United States. According to CERI, the U.S. falls near the bottom on the use of tariffs.

Update on Efforts to Repeal the Ohio Estate Tax

Published Mar. 15, 2011

HB 3 (Grossman, Hottinger) & SB 90 (Jordan) – Repeal the Estate Tax HB 3 is an OFBF priority bill. HB 3 passed the House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 16. At this time, the bill has not been scheduled for a vote before the full House of Representatives. Sources within the House...

Update on HB 22 - Animals at Large Bill

Published Mar. 15, 2011

HB 22 (Bubp) - Animals at Large HB 22, which is an OFBF priority issue for 2011, will clarify Ohio law by establishing clear standards for civil and criminal liability and will ensure that farmers whose animals escape fences and buildings through no fault of the owner (natural disasters,....

Update on U.S. House Food Safety Bill

Published Jun. 29, 2009

Bipartisan negotiations have addressed numerous concerns about the Food Safety Enhancement Act raised by Farm Bureau and other agriculture groups since the discussion draft was introduced late last month. However, unresolved issues that could increase cost and paperwork burdens on farmers remain...

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Tell Congerss to Put Death Taxes to Rest

Urgent Action Alert on End of Year Bi-Partisan Federal Estate Tax Agreement

Published Dec. 8, 2010

PUT DEATH TAXES TO REST - Congress Needs to Hear From You Today to Ensure a $5 million Estate Tax Exemption Is In End-of-the-year tax legislation. The White House announced "a framework for a bipartisan agreement" Monday night over the impending expiration of the Bush tax cuts that includes Farm...

Urgent Action Alert: Help End Ohio's Estate Tax

Published Jan. 31, 2011

Help End Ohio's Estate Tax by Calling or E-mailing your State Representative and State Senator. On average, 84 percent of farm assets are real-estate based. Burdensome estate taxes can cause the loss or break-up of family farms when heirs are forced to sell assets to pay the tax...

USDA Advocacy Office Opened

Published Dec. 23, 2009

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the opening of the Office of Advocacy and Outreach. This office was established by the 2008 farm bill to improve access to USDA programs and enhance the viability and profitability of small farms and ranches, beginning farmers and ranchers, and...

USDA announces measures to promote renewable fuels

Published Oct. 22, 2010

As part of the administration’s effort to promote production of fuel from renewable sources, create jobs and mitigate the effects of climate change, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday announced a series of measures during a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C....

USDA Forecasts Lowest Food Price Increase Since 1992

Published Aug. 26, 2010

USDA forecasts that the consumer price index for food will increase just 0.5 percent to 1 percent this year, the lowest rate since 1992. In last month’s forecast, USDA pegged the food price increase at 1.5 percent to 2 percent.

USDA Implements New Crop Disaster Assistance Program

Published Dec. 28, 2009

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week announced that USDA has implemented the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program (SURE) in accordance with the 2008 farm bill. Vilsack also encouraged producers to visit their USDA Farm Service Agency county office beginning...

USDA Notice to Hispanic or Women Farmers and Ranchers

Published Jul. 20, 2011

Farmers and ranchers who believe that the United States Department of Agriculture has improperly denied them farm loan benefits between 1981 and 2000 because they are Hispanic or because they are women may be eligible to apply for compensation.

USDA Partners With IRS to Reduce Farm Program Fraud

Published Jan. 5, 2010

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on New Year’s Eve that the Agriculture Department is partnering with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to reduce fraud in farm programs and streamline payment limits for family farmers.

USDA Plans Organic Farming Survey

Published Apr. 29, 2009

The Agriculture Department will make its first in-depth survey of organic farming this spring and will send an eight-page questionnaire to known organic farmers. The survey will ask which crops and livestock are produced, how they are grown and where they are sold.

USDA Re-Establishes Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee

Published May. 21, 2009

USDA is re-establishing the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee to examine the full spectrum of issues facing the fruit and vegetable industry and to provide suggestions to USDA on how programs can be tailored to best meet the challenges of the industry...

USDA Targets $50 Million to Organic Farming

Published May. 8, 2009

USDA will target $50 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for a new initiative to encourage more organic agriculture production. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan made the announcement Tuesday to USDA’s National Organic Standards Board.

Vilsack Confident Congress Will Act on Biodiesel Tax Incentive

Published Dec. 30, 2009

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he’s confident Congress will act early in the new year to extend the tax incentive for soy biodiesel, according to Brownfield. “We’re obviously encouraged by comments from congressional leaders that it’s their intention to take this matter—the tax extenders...

Vilsack defends federal farm payments

Published Oct. 15, 2010

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said federal farm payments have enabled Americans to have relatively cheap food and are needed to protect farmers from price drops. “Who benefits ultimately for all of this? I would argue that it’s not the 250,000 to 270,000 farmers who benefit from this...