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  • Farm Bill Faces Money Woes

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Farm leaders have predicted all along there’d be less money to write a farm bill in 2013. Now those predictions may be about to come true. House Ag and maybe Senate Ag plan to start rewriting the failed 2012 Farm Bill in late February. But that’s exactly when extraordinary Treasury measures to extend the nation’s borrowing limit will be exhausted - followed by automatic spending cuts in early March - followed by expiration of a short-term government funding measure in late March. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson sees a perfect storm developing

    Farm Bill Faces Money Woes

  • Dairy Producers Want More

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Congress passed an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill as part of its fiscal cliff bill early this week. National Milk Producers Federation’s Chris Galen says most of the farm bill is good for another nine-months - but some other programs - like the dairy price support program - go through the end of the year. Many people were concerned about the dairy cliff - and the possibility of eight-dollars per gallon milk - if Congress wouldn’t have taken action. Galen says it would have taken awhile without a new farm bill or extension for consumers to see any change

    Dairy Producers Want More

  • Not Much Change in Supply Demand

    Posted by Rick Shields

    USDA sharply increased its estimate of China’s 2012-’13 corn production…but little impact is expected to U.S. corn exports.

    USDA raised China’s expected corn production by 8-million tons, based on expanded corn plantings and good rainfall, boosting area and yields to new records.


    But, World Ag Outlook board chair Gerald Bange says China won’t suddenly become a net corn exporter, again

    Not Much Change in Supply Demand

  • Russian Meat Testing Spurs Frustration

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The U.S. Meat Export Federation is disappointed but not giving up on U.S. efforts to reverse new Russian restrictions on imports of U. S. beef, pork and poultry.

    Russia’s new requirements that U.S. beef and pork imports be tested and certified free of leanness-additive Ractopamine, come just days after Congressional action to lift cold-war era trade sanctions on Russia and reap benefits from Moscow’s joining the WTO.

    USMEF spokesman Joe Schoele

    Russian Meat Testing Spurs Frustration

  • Some Concern About Blooms

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Milder than normal weather...lack of significant snow and memories of last winter have some concerned about a few blooms showing up on fruit plants.  Mark Longstroth responds...

    Some Concerns About Blooms

  • 2013...A Watershed

    Posted by Rick Shields

     2013 could be a watershed year for farm policy - with the now likely absence of a new farm bill - or maybe even an extension of now lapsed 2008 farm law. There’s a deepening concern among farm leaders in D.C. that House GOP Leaders don’t like and don’t plan to do a farm bill or an extension. And now - with increasing talk of going off the fiscal cliff of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes in January - some ag lobbyists are starting to wonder of 2013 may see a historic shift away from farm bills altogether. Here’s National Farmers Union’s Chandler Goule…

    2013...A Watershed

  • Farm Bill Dean Seems Less Likely

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Months of hearings, studies, negotiations, staff work, committee work - and now it appears House GOP Leader Eric Cantor may have nailed the coffin shut on a 2012 Farm Bill in this Congress. Cantor had this response when asked in a regular end-of-the-week exchange with the Democratic Whip about the farm bill…

    Farm Bill Deal Seems Less Likely

  • Ag Impacting Tax Decision Time

    Posted by Rick Shields

     Agriculture is making its final push to head off increases in the Estate and Capital Gains taxes in the Lame Duck Congress. The way American Farm Bureau Tax Chief Pat Wolff sees it - without Congressional action by January 1st - there will be a huge increase in Estate and Capital Gains Taxes. And AFBF is holding back nothing as it fights to preserve breaks critical to agriculture…

    Ag Impacting Tax Decision Time

  • Countering Meat Without Drugs

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Farmers and veterinarians are often at odds with consumers groups and activist organizations over the use of antibiotics in food animal production. Some groups claim that on-farm antibiotic use has led to a rapid proliferation of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that threaten human health.

    Jean Halloran - Director of Food Policy Initiatives with Consumers Union - says her group is out to change that…

    Countering Meat Without Drugs

  • Still a Wait on E-15

    Posted by Rick Shields

    An ethanol industry official says full-scale commercialization of E-15 is probably years off - but cellulosic ethanol - seen as a key safety valve to meet the nation’s Renewable Fuels Standard - may be just around the corner. Last week’s EPA denial of an RFS waiver request by the livestock industry and several Governors did nothing to end their fight with ethanol producers over high grain prices. EPA says the petitioners couldn’t prove such harm and a waiver would provide little relief. More non-corn ethanol could ease the fight - but that will take time - though Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen expects some mass production next year

    Still a Wait on E-15

  • Stabenow On Farm Bill Action

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The Ag Chair's message to Republicans -- don't give up on a farm bill now.

    Stabenow On Farm Bill Action

  • Farm Bill Finger Pointing

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Senate Ag Chair Patrick Leahy blasted House GOP leaders this week for holding up a farm bill - even as the House’s top brass suggested they might have a way forward soon. Leahy says in his 38-years in the Senate - eight as Senate Ag Chair - he’s never seen a House Committee-passed farm bill blocked by leaders of the same party as the panel. Leahy joined other lawmakers and groups stepping up pressure on the House GOP to move House Ag’s bi-partisan bill in this lame duck session

    Farm Bill Finger Pointing