Administration leaders gathered last Tuesday at the USDA for a late-morning press event to announce the new trade case against the People’s Republic of China. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was joined by U.S.
While 44 percent of all British exports go to Europe and 16 percent to the U.S., the Brits are now faced with possibly having to create new free-trade agreements with the EU and the U.S. The U.S. exports about $15.7 billion in ag goods to Europe overall, of which about $3.
Yet Glanz has already been told his corn crop will face a quality control audit this growing season by Des Moines-based Rain and Hail LLC after Glanz informed his insurance agent that he plans to interseed a cover-crop mix into his standing corn crop this year.
“We need to make sure we have a candidate that supports ethanol and a candidate that supports trade and a candidate that knows rural America is a vital part of this country,” said Chip Bowling, outgoing president of NCGA. “We’re beating the bush for those candidates.
The Senate agriculture committee was scheduled to hold a meeting last Thursday on a bill drafted by Chairman Pat Roberts (R- KS) that would block states from creating their own mandatory biotech food labeling laws. Roberts introduced his bill Feb. 19 and set the Thursday date for the committee to vote on the bill.
Despite being rebuked by Congress last fall for a far smaller cut to crop insurance, President Barack Obama in his final proposed federal budget calls for cutting crop insurance $18 billion over 10 years as the biggest single cut in mandatory spending in the budget.
A caveat to the 2014 farm bill is that it requires the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to calculate yearly county yields for ARC-County payments. Therein lies the problem. At least a couple of law firms and others are holding meetings with farmers in parts of the Plains and Midwest to argue that FSA did not accurately calculate county yields.
Vilsack points to a recent Economic Research Service report, which showed projected declines in production in most commodities around the country from higher temperatures. Climate change is going to hurt farm income in some parts of the country without adaptation and mitigation, he said.
The budget deal approved at the end of October includes plans to cut the rate of return for crop insurance companies from 14.5 percent to 8.9 percent, a cut of roughly 38 percent on the rate of return that translates into $300 million a year or $3 billion over 10 years.
Even as other business lobbies are taking a more wait and see attitude, leaders from several major agricultural groups gathered Nov. 11 in Kansas City, MO, to talk up the benefits and importance of the 12-nation trade deal for farmers and rural America.
While FSA announced more than $3.9 billion in commodity payments started to go out recently to roughly 800,000 farmers, FSA staff are concerned at least some farmers don’t understand the nuances of the ARC-County program. It isn’t like the old Direct Payments program because not everyone is going to receive a check.
Michael Stern, President and Chief Operating Officer at Climate Corporation, said he believes agriculture globally is on the cusp of an information age that will further digitize data for farmers and their suppliers. Stern noted there are more cellular phones on the planet than people.
In a potential win for grain exporting countries, a European Parliament committee voted last Tuesday to block a proposal that would have allowed each of the 28 EU countries to decide on their own whether to allow the import or use of biotech food or feed.
Page acknowledges that agriculture, even in its own tent, has been unwilling to talk about climate change. His talks to larger ag groups have resulted in relatively unfriendly reactions. However, in smaller groups, the conversation is more informed and encouraging.
Despite the challenges of a prolonged drought, data reported last week from USDA shows California farmers had just under $54 billion in cash receipts for crops and livestock in 2014. Of those totals, $38.7 billion came from crops, of which fruits and nuts accounted for $21.
Wells Fargo sent a signal during the week of Aug. 10 that it is looking to sell its crop insurance arm, Rural Community Insurance Services (RCIS). The banker wants to continue offering crop insurance by holding on to its agency, but also increase “cross-selling” by seeking to offer a broader range of insurance and banking products to its customers.
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman announced last week that the WTO’s appellate body has ruled India is discriminating against U.S. poultry, eggs and live pigs to protect its own domestic products. India had argued an outright ban on U.S. poultry meat, eggs and swine was needed to protect the country from avian influenza.
The vaccines currently available aren’t effective enough, the department stated. The one vaccine currently tested offers 60 percent effectiveness in chickens, leaving four in 10 birds unprotected. That would translate into having to euthanize a flock regardless of the vaccine usage.
State officials see a crown jewel of research that will draw world-class scientists to Kansas State University (K-State), while federal officials say the new diagnostic lab under construction in Manhattan will provide a first line of defense against foreign animal diseases globally.