Policy & Politics

Stabenow Introduces Bill with Ag Offsets

Published Nov. 9, 2009

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced a bill that would establish an offsets program as part of the Senate cap-and-trade bill. The bill establishes an initial list of eligible offsets that include agricultural practices such as no-till, methane digesters, tree planting, precision fertilizer...

AFBF, Ag Library to Create Clearinghouse for Beginning Farmers

Published Nov. 9, 2009

The American Farm Bureau Federation is partnering with the Agriculture Department’s National Agricultural Library to create the National Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. The new information-sharing program will help those who have decided to pursue...

A history of the Ohio congressional delegation

Published Dec. 10, 2009

The Ohio congressional delegation had been a relative sea of tranquility for a decade. Those waters began roil in 2006 and an even bigger wave of change hit in the 2008 election. The Buckeye State delegation was taken over by Democrats by a 10-8 margin; it had been 11-7 Republican.

EPA Delays Ethanol Blend Decision Until Summer

Published Dec. 23, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it will wait until June to decide whether to approve a petition by Growth Energy to boost the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline to 15 percent. EPA did acknowledge that it believes American cars built after 2001 “will likely be...

Inhofe Seeks Hearings on Climate Change E-Mails

Published Dec. 23, 2009

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, wrote committee Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif. ) on Tuesday requesting hearings on the recent disclosure of e-mails between some of the world’s most pre-eminent climatologists that reveal...

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.

Meat for School Lunches Below Standards of Fast Food Chains

Published Dec. 23, 2009

In the past three years, the government has provided the nation's schools with millions of pounds of beef and chicken that wouldn't meet the quality or safety standards of many fast food restaurants, from Jack in the Box and other burger places to chicken chains such as KFC, according to...

Climate Change Bill on Track for Senate Vote in Spring

Published Dec. 23, 2009

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) told reporters Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is committed to move on the climate change bill after the Senate finishes legislation to reform the financial regulatory system. Kerry said this should allow for a spring vote on the climate measure.

EPA Seeks More Thorough Assessment of Pesticide Risks

Published Dec. 23, 2009

A proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would include a more thorough assessment of pesticide health risks to workers, including farmworkers and farm children, as well as risks posed by pesticides that are not used on food.

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...

Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan ‘Severe’ for Agriculture

Published Dec. 23, 2009

Senate and House bills that would expand and reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay restoration program would impose severe economic hardship on agriculture and put further pressure on farming to move out of the watershed, according to Wilmer Stoneman, Virginia Farm Bureau’s associate...

$60 Million Cheese Purchase Assists Producers, Food Banks

Published Dec. 23, 2009

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Friday announced the purchase of $60 million in cheese and cheese products by the Commodity Credit Corporation for use in domestic feeding programs through USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

Fox News Story Explores Clean Water Restoration Act

Published Dec. 23, 2009

How passage of the Clean Water Restoration Act would affect farmers and ranchers was the subject of a Fox News broadcast story on Sunday. Don Parrish, water expert with the American Farm Bureau Federation, appeared live on a segment about the issue.

Sweeping Health Care Bill Advances in Senate

Published Dec. 23, 2009

In early morning procedural votes today, the Senate approved cutting off debate on the manager’s amendment on health care legislation offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The manager’s amendment did not include a public insurance option, which Farm Bureau strongly opposes.

Climate Summit Ends with Accord, Little Real Progress

Published Dec. 23, 2009

The Copenhagen talks on climate change wrapped up Sunday with a whimper rather than a bang, by most accounts. A “Copenhagen Accord” document was produced by the U.S., China and other parties at the conference, putting down on paper commitments by nations to act individually to combat global warming.

Hunters Bag Nearly 20k Deer on Extra Weekend

Published Dec. 23, 2009

The extra weekend of gun hunting was first offered in 2006 in response to hunters' request for additional weekend days to pursue white-tailed deer, the state's number one big game animal. In 2008, hunters took 16,382 deer during those two days.

House, Senate send budget corrective bill to Governor

Published Dec. 23, 2009

after several months of acrimonious debate, House and Senate leaders passed a budget corrective item on largely partisan lines, relying primarily on Democrat votes in both the House and Senate (although the republicans hold a majority in the Ohio Senate, the bill was passed with only five...

Ohio Grape Industries Committee Announces Photo Contest

Published Dec. 23, 2009

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio ) – This holiday season, take time to enjoy and explore Ohio’s wineries while putting your photography skills to good use during the Ohio Grape Industries Committee’s photo contest. “This photo contest encourages Ohioans to venture out and enjoy the state’s wineries with...

2010 Ohio Fairs Schedule Now Available

Published Dec. 23, 2009

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (Dec. 7, 2009) – Ohioans can start planning visits to fairs for the 2010 season as the Ohio Department of Agriculture today released the official dates for the state’s 94 county and independent fairs and the Ohio State Fair. The Paulding County Fair will kick off the 2010 fairs...

Senate Agriculture Committee Shuffles Leadership Positions

Published Dec. 28, 2009

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), chairman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, recently announced several new subcommittee leadership positions. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) will assume chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Rural Revitalization, Conservation, Forestry and Credit...

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...

Senate Approves Health Care Bill Along Party Lines

Published Dec. 28, 2009

The Senate on Thursday approved H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, on a 60-39 vote along party lines. Senate Democrats and Independents supported the measure; no Republicans voted for it.

AFBF President Appoints New YF&R Committee Members

Published Dec. 28, 2009

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman has appointed eight new committee members for two-year terms to the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. The YF&R program is composed of Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35. The program’s goal is to provide leadership...

Moderate Democrats Urge White House to Drop Cap-and-trade

Published Dec. 28, 2009

Moderate Democrats in the Senate are urging the Obama administration to stop urging passage of climate change legislation with cap-and-trade provisions in 2010. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and several other Democrats are speaking to the White House and party leadership about setting aside efforts...

Weather, Economy, Animal Issues Top Farm News in 2009

Published Dec. 29, 2009

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says the biggest news story for agriculture in 2009 was weather extremes, from the drought in California and Texas to the wet planting in many parts of the country and the unseasonably cool and wet harvest in many areas.

Vilsack Directs USDA to Revise Climate Change Model

Published Dec. 29, 2009

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed the Agriculture Department to revise a computerized forecasting model that showed that climate legislation passed by the House would make planting trees more lucrative than producing food, according to the Washington Times.

Hong Kong Is Fastest Growing Export Market

Published Dec. 30, 2009

Hong Kong is the fourth-largest market for U.S. food and beverage exports, which have grown by 15 percent this year. This represents the fastest growth among all export markets globally, according to a report by USDA’S Foreign Agricultural Service.

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...

Producers Benefit More from ACRE than Price-Based Programs

Published Dec. 30, 2009

A report released Tuesday by USDA’s Economic Research Service on the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program suggests that for 2009-2012, producers of corn, soybeans, wheat and rice are likely to benefit more from the ACRE program than from the price-based...

Editorial Warns of Higher Food Prices due to Climate Bill

Published Dec. 31, 2009

An editorial in today’s Investor’s Business Daily rallied against climate change legislation, stressing that consumers will pay higher food prices due to increased farming costs. “If the cap-and-trade provisions of the Waxman-Markey bill become law, you can wave goodbye to those amber waves...

Proposed Crop Insurance Cuts Sending Alarms

Published Dec. 31, 2009

Proposed cuts in the crop insurance program are sending alarms through the insurance industry for both underwriters and agents, according to National Underwriter. Under a proposal unveiled earlier this month, the Obama administration wants new cutbacks in the program that in addition to other...

Kentucky Grilled Chicken Most Memorable Product Launched

Published Jan. 4, 2010

A poll of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers asking them to name the most memorable product launched in 2009 placed five fast-food products among the top 10 spots.

Russia Blocks Import of U.S. Poultry

Published Jan. 4, 2010

Russia began blocking imports of U.S. poultry as of Jan. 1 because of concerns about a commonly used chlorine treatment, USDA and a Russian news agency reported last week. Russia plans to proceed, over U.S. objections, with a new law prohibiting chlorine as an anti-microbial treatment in...

State of State Set for January 27th

Published Jan. 4, 2010

Governor Ted Strickland will deliver his "State of the State" address at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 27 before a joint session of the General Assembly.

Pension Costs Rising for Local Governments, Schools

Published Jan. 4, 2010

Ohio newspapers reported Sunday on the rising cost of the state's five pension plans and its effect on local governments and school districts.

House, Senate Leaders Pledge More Cooperation

Published Jan. 4, 2010

The Plain Dealer reports that the House and Senate are set to return this month after a contentious 2009, with Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) and House Speaker Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) pledging better cooperation between the two chambers.

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.

Estate Tax Viewed as Big Ag Issue in 2010

Published Jan. 5, 2010

The estate tax will be one of the big issues in Congress for farmers and ranchers in 2010, according to Mark Maslyn, executive director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “The exemption levels at the end of 2009 were $3.5 million per household. In 2010 that has gone away...

Hog Producers Should Break Even in 2010

Published Jan. 5, 2010

U.S. hog producers should break even in 2010 as both the average price received and the total cost of production are expected be around $50 per hundredweight, according to Purdue University Extension Economist Chris Hurt.

Mother Nature Wreaks Havoc on Ag in 2009, Giving Food Market a Jolt

Published Jan. 5, 2010

Mother Nature wreaked havoc on producers of agricultural commodities in 2009 and gave the food market a jolt, sending prices for staples like corn and soybeans on a wild ride only to end the year close to where they started, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Taiwan Votes to Ban Some U.S. Beef Exports

Published Jan. 5, 2010

The Taiwanese Legislature has voted to ban some U.S. beef imports, which the U.S. government says undermines Taiwan’s credibility as a trading partner. The move reverses an earlier deal the government had negotiated with Washington.

IRS-USDA Partnership May Make Farmers’ Lives Easier

Published Jan. 5, 2010

A new partnership between the Agriculture Department and Internal Revenue Service to reduce fraud by verifying which farmers are eligible for farm program payments may make farmers’ lives easier, according to Tara Smith, American Farm Bureau Federation farm policy specialist. Smith said the...

Taiwan Beef Ban Draws Ire of U.S. Officials

Published Jan. 7, 2010

The Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Agriculture Department on Tuesday released a statement regarding a recent decision by Taiwan officials to bar import of some U.S. beef and beef products by amending the country’s Food Sanitation Act (FSA).

Staple Food Prices Trend Down for 5th Straight Quarter

Published Jan. 7, 2010

Retail food prices at the supermarket decreased for the fifth consecutive quarter and are significantly lower than one year ago, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey.

Vote of Confidence: Engaging Ohioans in Support of Issue 2

Published Jan. 29, 2010

Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio's six major commodity organizations along with a coalition of over 500 local, state, and national elected officials, businesses, organizations, and farm-families secured the support of Ohioans by a margin of 2 to 1 in support of amending the Ohio Constitution to establish the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board during the November 2009 election.

Ohioans for Livestock Care Coalition Statement on HSUS Ballot Initiative

Published Feb. 2, 2010

Leaders of Ohioans for Livestock Care, which includes OCA, released the following statement in response to their announcement.
“Ohio farmers, first and foremost, are committed to caring for the animals we raise. It’s the right thing to do, and it means we can continue to provide Ohioans...

OFBF Responds to HSUS Power Grab

Published Feb. 2, 2010

Out-of-state activists have begun their efforts to undo Ohioans’ overwhelming passage of Issue 2. Less than three months after Ohioans approved Issue 2 to create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB), lobbyists from Washington, D.C. have declared they know better than Ohio voters...

Ohio Farm Bureau Announces 2010 State and Federal Priority Issues

Published Feb. 2, 2010

Animal Care Issues, Climate Change, Business Climate and Taxes, Environment and Land Use, Food Safety, Transportation and Infrastructure, Education Reform, and more are among the top public policy priorities for the Ohio Farm Bureau in 2010.

New Renewable Fuel Standard will Boost Ethanol

Published Feb. 4, 2010

The new renewable fuel standard (RFS) announced Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will give a boost to the production of ethanol. According to EPA, new data showed that ethanol delivers significant climate benefits by displacing conventional gasoline.

"Don't Cap Our Future" Goes to the Hill

Published Mar. 16, 2010

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s six-month campaign to oppose cap-and-trade climate change legislation, “Don’t CAP Our Future,” culminated Wednesday when farmer and rancher members from across the country presented key lawmakers with some of the 100,000 grassroots calls to action gathered in opposition to the issue.