Policy & Politics

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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.

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.

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...

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...

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.

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

$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.

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...

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...

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.

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.