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Buckeye Farm News
Indirect Land Use calculations troubling EPA proposal
U.S. EPA recently announced its proposed strategy for increasing the supply of renewable fuels, poised to reach 36 billion gallons by 2022. Under the proposed rule, to qualify as renewable, a fuel must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent relative to gasoline over its life cycle, from growing in the field to combustion in a motor vehicle. AFBF believes the way indirect land use is measured to determine greenhouse gas emissions in the proposed rule is controversial. Essentially, ethanol would be linked to the loss of forests and other vegetation as a result of corn production.
USDA targets $50 million to organic farming
USDA will target $50 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for a new initiative to encourage more organic agriculture production. The 2009 Organic Initiative will be open to growers switching to organic production or expanding their organic operations, and certified organic farmers who want to expand stewardship work.
Honeybee colony decline slows
The decline of honeybee colonies has slowed slightly since last fall, but the Agriculture Department says a mysterious combination of ailments is still affecting honeybee populations. Research at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., has found that honeybee colonies declined by 29 percent between September 2008 and early April. That’s an improvement over the last two years, when researchers found that 32 percent and 36 percent, respectively, of all beekeepers surveyed lost hives.
USDA seeks nominations for Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee
USDA recently announced it is re-establishing the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee to examine the full spectrum of issues facing the fruit and vegetable industry and to provide suggestions to USDA on how programs can be tailored to best meet the challenges of the industry. USDA is accepting nominations for up to 25 committee members through July 1. Those interested in being nominated for the committee should contact OFBF Senior Director of Legislative and Regulatory Policy Adam Sharp at [email protected] or 614-246-8278 for more details.
EPA names agriculture advisor
Larry Elworth, has been named as chief Agriculture Counselor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Elworth previously served as executive director of the Center for Agricultural Partnerships, a nonprofit organization that works with farmers on developing environmentally sound and economically profitable practices. “Larry is a good choice for this selection at U.S. EPA,” said Adam Sharp, OFBF senior director of legislative and regulatory policy. “I have worked with Larry on many challenging issues in the past. He is well respected by farm groups and is very familiar with farmer concerns and opportunities regarding federal environmental policy.”
New fumigant pesticide restrictions issued
EPA has issued final safety measures for soil fumigant pesticides, which agency officials said will increase protections for agricultural workers and bystanders near sites where the fumigants are being applied. AFBF, with the help from Ohio Farm Bureau and other state Farm Bureaus, were successful in urging EPA to eliminate some unworkable requirements, including several controversial buffer requirements, from the final safety measures.