News Briefs

Buckeye Farm News

Getting broadband to rural America

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps recently released a report identifying common problems affecting rural broadband, including technological challenges, lack of data and high network costs. American Farm Bureau Federation recently emphasized the need for widely available broadband access for rural Americans in comments to the FCC. “In the 21st century, broadband Internet access is a necessity, not a luxury,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 requires the FCC to develop a comprehensive broadband plan by Feb. 17, 2010.

Ag exports down, imports up

Ag exports for fiscal year 2009 are projected at $96 billion, down from the $115 billion in FY2008, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. The forecast for FY2009 agricultural imports is $81 billion, $2 billion higher than the FY2008 total. A prolonged recession is expected to continue to drop world trade volume between 6 percent and 9 percent, and weak consumer spending has reduced import growth to the slowest rate in many years, according to ERS.

Food safety bill needs refinement

The Food Safety Enhancement Act, a bill that would overhaul food safety rules, includes provisions that concern farmers. While Farm Bureau supports the overall goal of the legislation to strengthen resources for food safety functions, it believes further refinement is needed on some provisions, including country-of-origin labeling, record-keeping and reporting, traceability requirements, safe production standards for fresh produce and raw commodities, language on antibiotic restrictions and FDA authority on meat packaging that has the potential to threaten trade relationships. House leadership wants to pass a food safety bill this year.

Stallman: Time to implement farm bill

AFBF President Bob Stallman recently testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, outlining major components of the 2008 Farm Bill that still need to be enacted, stressing the urgency of doing so. Such components include disaster assistance, payment eligibility and the collaboration between the Internal Revenue Service and USDA. AFBF is keeping a close eye on the USDA/IRS collaboration announced earlier this year. “Any proposal that allows IRS information to become public through the Freedom of Information Act is unacceptable to Farm Bureau,” Stallman said. “It’s Farm Bureau’s goal to ensure that the best interests of farmers are of paramount importance during this implementation process.”

Ohio FSA develops ACRE calculator for farmers

State and county office members at the Ohio Farm Service Agency have developed an ACRE calculator for producers who are interested in and have questions about the new ACRE program. The calculator helps landowners and operators better understand the potential impact of ACRE participation on farming operations. The deadline to enroll in ACRE is Aug. 14. Landowners and operators are encouraged to visit their local FSA office to use the ACRE calculator and determine if ACRE is an option for their farm.

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