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News briefs: Trade agreements, farm bill, corn production
Hirsch takes Ohio Farm Bureau policy to Washington, D.C.
Ohio Farm Bureau Federation President Steve Hirsch, a farmer from Ross County, was recently in Washington, D.C. to visit with several lawmakers and their staff. The trip was a chance for Hirsch, who was elected Ohio Farm Bureau President in April, to meet with lawmakers for the first time as OFBF’s president and to discuss trade agreements, the need for safety net programs in the upcoming farm bill and legislation that would fix costly redundancy in the permitting process for pesticides.
Hirsch also met with House Agriculture Committee staff to discuss oversight issues regarding the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act and with the agriculture adviser to the U.S. EPA administrator to discuss water issues related to Grand Lake St. Marys, agricultural dust rules, nutrient management and pesticide regulation.
Farmers double corn production using less fertilizer
The Fertilizer Institute announced recently that between 1980 and 2010, U.S. farmers nearly doubled corn production using slightly fewer fertilizer nutrients than were used in 1980. The announcement is based on fertilizer application rate data released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. In 1980, farmers grew 6.64 billion bushels of corn using 3.9 pounds of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) for each bushel, and in 2010 they grew 12.45 billion bushels using 1.6 pounds of nutrients per bushel produced. In total, this represents an 87.5 percent increase in production with 4 percent fewer total nutrients during that same time frame.
Corn production accounts for half of U.S. fertilizer use, and experts estimate that 40 percent to 60 percent of world food production is attributable to fertilizers.