Buckeye Farm News
Boccieri on House Ag Committee, Schmidt leads subcommittee
U.S. Congressman John Boccieri, D-Alliance, was recently appointed to the Agriculture Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Agriculture Committee has jurisdiction over several renewable energy matters, rural development and more. Boccieri said he intends to build on Ohio’s rich agricultural past by working on renewable energy efforts that will create good-paying jobs and reward farmers for their attention to environmental concerns.
Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, has been named the ranking member of the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture. Specific commodities under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction are fruits and vegetables, organic agriculture, horticulture and viticulture (wine production) and a variety of other issues.
EPA changes rule on CAFO air emissions
Citing a rule change that would “enable authorities to better focus their attention on hazardous substance releases that require a response, while reducing reporting burdens on America’s farms,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it will exempt all farms from reporting to the federal government when air emissions from manure exceeds certain levels. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) will still have to report emissions to state and local governments, but all other farms will not. EPA said existing reporting requirements have created an unnecessary burden for many farms and that the emission release reports usually weren’t acted upon. The agency said farms will still have to notify authorities when hazardous substances are released to the air from sources other than animal waste.
Grants available for rural education, healthcare resources
USDA is accepting applications through March 24 for grants through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program to provide access to education, training and healthcare resources in rural areas. The program provides increased economic opportunity by expanding telecommunications, educational resources and computer networks throughout rural America. Materials, including an application guide and full details about the program can also be obtained at www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/dlt/dlt.htm or by calling the DLT program at 202-720-0413.
Farm Bureau comments on ammonium nitrate
The American Farm Bureau Federation recently submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the secure handling of ammonium nitrate. A new program requires the agency to regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate by a facility to prevent the misappropriation or misuse of the product in an act of terrorism. Farm Bureau worked in support of enactment of this DHS program as it will help to further secure ammonium nitrate and keep it available to America’s agricultural industry. AFBF stressed that farmers should not be required to register if they do not take possession of the ammonium nitrate fertilizer they purchase.
OFBF appointed to Great Lakes Advisory Board
Ohio’s passage of the Great Lakes Compact (House Bill 416) included legislation that established an advisory group made up of industry and environmental groups to help develop the new program. OFBF Director of Policy Development and Environmental Research Larry Antosch has been appointed to serve on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact Advisory Board. Antosch will represent agricultural interests in the Lake Erie Basin.
Mark March 26 for Trends and Issues Conference
Experts’ views on climate change policies and the farm economy will be part of the discussion during OFBF’s annual Trends and Issues Conference on March 26 in Columbus. Full details will appear in the Feb. 26 Buckeye Farm News.