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.