Buckeye Farm News
Farm Bureau strongly opposes Boxer-Kerry climate change bill
The Boxer-Kerry climate change bill introduced in the Senate includes few provisions that are friendly to agriculture and will be strongly opposed by the American Farm Bureau Federation. “America’s farmers and ranchers did not fare that well in the House-passed climate change bill, and they fare even worse in the Senate bill,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “There are few benefits and even greater costs to agriculture and the American public.” The bill, authored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass), seeks to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program. The legislation would require greenhouse gas emissions to be cut 20 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels — greater than the House bill’s target of 17 percent. Stallman said the 20 percent target is unrealistic and will lead to higher energy bills for all consumers.
USDA purchases pork products to help in a down market
The USDA will purchase an additional $30 million in pork products in FY 2009 for federal food and nutrition assistance programs. According to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, the action was taken to help mitigate further downward pressure on hog prices and stabilize market conditions. This brings USDA spending to approximately $151 million in pork products this year for the food and nutrition assistance program through annual appropriation and Recovery Act funding.
Dairy aid part of USDA’s new budget
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) announced recently that $60 million would be used to purchase dairy products for use in U.S. public nutrition programs and $290 million would be spent in direct aid to dairy farmers. The money would be part of USDA’s fiscal year budget. USDA will set guidelines for the payments. Senate and House conferees approved the agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010, which provides funding for USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Farm Credit Administration.
Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard bad for farmers
Changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would impede the growth of the U.S. biofuels industry, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF pointed out that EPA’s definition of “agricultural land” in the proposed regulations creates onerous land-use rules and record-keeping requirements that would bar many farmers from growing crops used for biofuel production and, in so doing, would reduce the value of a great deal of American farmland. The regulations could potentially prohibit farmers from converting pastureland or forestland to cropland to produce ethanol. “This could allow the EPA to dictate how a farmer manages his or her land,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “This is unprecedented because it could give EPA the authority to regulate and redefine the uses of agricultural land.”
Large number of dairy cows retired from production
Audits by Cooperatives Working Together show a total of 225,783 dairy cows that produced 4.5 billion pounds of milk have been retired so far this year in an effort to address a supply-and-demand imbalance that has fueled a severe financial crisis in the dairy industry. Jim Tillison, CWT chief operating officer, said still more herd reductions are possible this year due to the continuing milk price squeeze farmers are in. In the most recent retirement round, the majority of the 74,114 cows that produced 1.5 billion pounds of milk have been sent to processing plants.
World will need 70 percent more food by 2050
Producing 70 percent more food for an additional 2.3 billion people by 2050, while at the same time combating poverty and hunger, using scarce natural resources more efficiently and adapting to climate change are the main challenges world agriculture will face in the coming decades, according to a discussion paper published recently by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Global projections show that in addition to projected investments in agriculture, further significant investment will be needed to enhance access to food, otherwise some 370 million people could still be hungry in 2050, almost 5 percent of the developing countries’ population. According to the latest U.N. projections, world population will rise from 6.8 billion today to 9.1 billion in 2050 – a third more mouths to feed than there are today. Nearly all of the population growth will occur in developing countries. The demand for food is expected to continue to grow as a result of both population growth and rising incomes. Demand for cereals is projected to reach 3 billion tons by 2050. Annual cereal production will have to grow by almost 1 billion metric tons from 2.1 billion metric tons today. Meat production must increase by 200 million metric tons to reach a total of 470 million metric tons in 2050, 72 percent of which will be consumed in developing countries, up from the 58 percent today.