Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack found himself walking a tightrope last Tuesday as he addressed a group of community food activists who, on the one hand, praise USDA for some recent initiatives to promote local foods, but on the other, criticize the department for its support of production agriculture.
Farmers, landowners and conservationists are looking at what options may be available for 436,000 acres across the state that will move out of USDAs Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) at the end of this month.
Some agricultural opponents of climate change legislation argue the U.S. could lose significant crop acres to forestry, but others worry about cleaner energy demanding more cropland to grow biofuels and renewable electricity. One of the key battles on climate legislation right now is just how much land shifting would occur.
While Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack maintains there is a positive outlook for fertilizer prices under climate legislation, the Fertilizer Institute is upset that Vilsack wont listen to their view that the bill could hurt the domestic fertilizer industry.
Agricultural groups are doing more forms of outreach on climate change and asking farmers to voice their views on climate legislation and its potential impacts. Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), attended a meeting with international farm leaders in Iceland last week to speak about the climate legislation in Con- gress.
Federal officials told farmers and academics earlier this month that they will take an unprecedented look at market concentration and transparency issues in agriculture through a series of planned workshops by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and USDA.
USDA is getting ready to roll out a new biomass program that will pay up to $45 a ton in matching payments for delivering eligible biomass to businesses that convert the biomass into renewable fuel, energy or bio-products.
Congress should not pass cap-and-trade legislation mandating reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, but should instead promote a market-based incentive program to address climate change, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said last Tuesday.
JBS Swift is continuing talks with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on potentially divesting assets to complete its purchase of National Beef Co., and talks remain stuck on some of the major points laid out by DOJ in its anti-trust case, JBS executives said late last month.
Commodity farmers get the lion’s share of focus in the farm bill, but
there are several provisions in the Senate farm bill that could affect
the way livestock producers do business.
Senate debate is stalled over how to accept amendments, but several
senators are expected to offer proposals on the Senate floor as early as
next week to tighten buyer-seller arrangements in the complex livestock
The Senate farm bill includes a ban on packer ownership of livestock
longer than 14 days before slaughter. But the Senate bill also has a
provision that would allow private companies to forward contract
Beginning and young farmers and ranchers are going to have better
options for tapping into USDA programs stemming from the 2007 Farm Bill.
The House and Senate farm bills reflect that Congress is working to help
younger producers get better access to capital and land. It’s a contrast
to the past when lawmakers would talk about the needs, but never follow
through with better benefits for younger, beginning producers.
“Both bills represent the most attention beginning farmers have gotten
in the farm bill,” said Ferd Hoefner, policy director for the
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “As far as the farm bill, this is