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Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Regulations; and, Immigration- Monday
Government
Monday, 21 April 2014 11:42

Keith Good

Farm Bill- Policy Issues

In an interview last week with Don Wick of the Red River Farm Network, House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) remarked on USDA’s implementation of the new Farm Bill and noted that, “I think the Department is well along, and it’s gotten a much quicker start this farm bill as opposed to the last farm bill. But there are a lot of complications. As you said, the first thing they focused on was getting the livestock disaster thing going, so that’s happening now. They’re working…I think, I’m expecting in the next week or two to get them to designate these critical conservation areas so we can start getting some of this retention stuff moving yet this summer. I’ve talked with the Secretary a couple times about this, and I think that’s going to happen.

“And they’re working on like 600 different areas that they had to work on, so they’ve got a lot of work to do. But because the bill had been out there for so long, I think they were a little more prepared this time than they were in ’08. But the commodity title, with us getting rid of direct payments and setting up these two new safety nets, where you have to make a choice, that’s more complicated, and it’s going to take them a while to get that put together.”

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USDA sets date for soybean request for referendum
Government
Monday, 21 April 2014 08:28

By Latham Farley
Reporter

USDA will offer soybean producers the opportunity to request a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order), as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (Act).

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EPA- Policy Issue; FDA; and, the Ag Economy- Friday
Government
Monday, 31 March 2014 12:06
By Keith Good

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)– Policy Issues

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was a guest on yesterday’s AgriTalk radio program with Mike Adams where, in part, the conversation focused on recent EPA water related issues.  An unofficial FarmPolicy.com transcript of yesterday’s complete discussion with Mr. Adams and Sec. Vilsack is available here.

Mr. Adams queried yesterday: “A lot of news this week, a lot of conversation about the release by EPA concerning a clarification of the Clean Water Act, and really the waters of the U.S. and the interpretation there. Now we have heard it explained that this is a protection for agriculture, that the exemptions will not only be kept in place, but enhanced, in some cases. But we’re hearing a lot of skepticism and criticism from some in agriculture saying they still think it’s an overreach by EPA. Now USDA is included in this as far as a consultation with EPA. What’s your interpretation of it, and what is USDA’s role in this?”

Sec. Vilsack indicated that, “Well, I think we have been working with EPA and the Corps of Engineers for the last couple years to make sure that they fully understood and appreciated what goes on on the farm and on ranches around the country, so as they crafted a response to litigation or response to their statutory responsibilities in terms of the Clean Water Act that they could take into consideration what’s happening on the ground.
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Climate- Policy Issues; COOL; Ag Economy; Biofuels; Immigration; Biotech; and, EPA- Monday
Government
Monday, 31 March 2014 12:04

 By Keith Good

 Climate Issues- White House Proposal, and Farm Bill Issues

Justin Gillis reported on the front page of today’s New York Times that, “Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported Monday, and they warned that the problem is likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

“The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.”

Chapter Seven of the report, which is available here, is titled, “Food Security & Food Production Systems.”

Meanwhile, Amy Harder reported in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal that, “The Obama administration on Friday directed several federal agencies to clamp down on emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas emitted from natural gas and other industries, fleshing out an initiative that attempts to address environmental concerns without harming the nation’s booming natural-gas industry [Fact Sheet, Full Report].”

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Farm Bill; EPA Issues; Ag Economy; Biotech; and, Tax Extenders- Thursday
Government
Thursday, 27 March 2014 16:41

By Keith Good

Farm Bill- Policy Issues

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden was a guest on yesterday’s AgriTalk radio program with Mike Adams where the conversation focused on Farm Bill implementation.

Mr. Adams queried on the radio program yesterday: “What is the biggest challenge, when you’re looking at that commodity title and you say it’s going to take the rest of this year, what is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome to get that thing going?”

Dep. Sec. Hardin indicated that,  “It is complicated.  And because it does lock in producers for the life of the farm bill, we want to make sure that they can make decisions that is right for them.  A lot of changes.  There are IT changes, you know, getting our systems up-to-date and making the changes, training our personnel, making sure we’re communicating with producers so that they have the information to make informed decisions.  There’s a lot of steps in this process.  We’re going to make sure we take each step and do it right so producers can make good decisions and not just a quick decision.”

Mr. Adams also asked, “We knew all along about direct payments going to go away and the shift now over to these other types of programs.  How big of an adjustment is that for you at USDA to make that kind of a shift?”

Dep. Sec. Harden noted that, “It’s a big difference, it really is.  It is a change in course.  Obviously a lot of folks saw that coming.  We assumed direct payments would go away.  That had been the talk for some time, you’re exactly right.  But what would replace it we didn’t really know, and you can’t preempt what Congress might do, so we really could only prepare up to a point before Congress actually acted.  So it is complex, it’s complicated, but in the long run I think it will be good for producers.  We’ll get the right information out there.  We’re hopeful they’ll make really good decisions.  We’ve just got to make sure we do this in a systematic, careful process.”

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