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Beer Institute touts economic benefits in fighting tax hike

Fearing that that the lame duck session might lead Congress to consider an increase in taxes on beer as one solution to the so-called “fiscal cliff,” The Beer Institute on Thursday made the case to congressional aides that beer is taxed enough already, and then offered those who were 21 or older a sampling of their products. Read More...

Farm bill expires Sunday, farm groups call for action

The expiration of the 2008 farm bill on Sunday will not affect most farm programs immediately, but farm groups called this week for action on a new bill as soon as Congress comes back to Washington after the November 6 election. Read More...

Vilsack says farm bill prospects uncertain

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday that the House Republican leadership should have brought up the farm bill before leaving to campaign and that the bill’s prospects in the lame duck session are uncertain, the National Journal reported today. Read More...

Beer choices indicate political preferences

The beers people buy can say a lot about what political party people lean to and how they will vote, the Hotline and National Journal reported Thursday. Read More...

Consumers Union launches meat campaign at Trader Joe’s

Consumers Union today launched a campaign calling on Trader Joe’s to stop selling meat and poultry from animals in which antibiotics have been used heavily in production. Read More...

Young gardener gets Clinton award

NEW YORK CITY — Former President Bill Clinton gave one of his global citizen awards this week to Katie Stagliano, the 14-year-old founder of Katie’s Krops, a South Carolina-based organization that starts and maintains vegetable gardens and donates the harvest to the needy. Read More...

Biofuels coalition launches pro-RFS campaign

The Biotechnology Industry Organization, DuPont and other groups with a stake in the biofuels industry today joined with ethanol groups to launch a campaign called Fuels America to defend the Renewable Fuel Standard. Read More...

USDA, Indian Affairs sign agreement on farm programs

The Agriculture Department and the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs today announced the signing of two memorandums of understanding designed to foster improved access to USDA and BIA programs by tribes and tribal members. The memorandums apply to programs administered by the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development at USDA, and the BIA. Read More...

Food & Water Watch releases antibiotic resistance report

Overuse of antibiotics in large-scale animal operations is leading to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a trend that deteriorates the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs needed to save human lives, Food & Water Watch says in a new report released today. Read More...

Peterson: Votes are there for farm bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said Tuesday that his poll of House members last week showed that there were more than enough votes to pass the farm bill. Read More...

Dairy groups spar over CRS report

The National Milk Producers Federation, which represents dairy farmers and co-ops, and the International Dairy Foods Association, which represents processors, are sparring over how to interpret a Congressional Research Service report on the proposed dairy title of the farm bill. Read More...

DeLauro, Eshoo praise claims process with reservations

Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., on Tuesday praised the Obama administration for establishing a claim-filing process for female and Hispanic farmers who believe the Agriculture Department discriminated against them in the past. Read More...

Procter & Gamble launches campaign through social media for clean drinking water

NEW YORK CITY — Can a major corporation be as successful using social media for charity as opponents of “pink slime” were in reducing use of the hamburger ingredient? The question came to mind here this week when Procter & Gamble announced at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting that it has formed an alliance with singer Smokey Robinson to launch a Twitter and Facebook campaign to raise money to distribute packets of P&G’s water-purifying technology so that people in some of the poorest countries in the world can get clean drinking water. Read More...

Federal agencies reopen comment period on Dodd-Frank

The Farm Credit Administration joined four other federal agencies today to reopen the comment period for a portion of the proposed Dodd-Frank rule. Read More...

Farmers blame Congress for lack of immigration reform, but see new coalitions forming

Fruit and vegetable farmers from four corners of the country complained last week that congressional inaction on immigration is forcing them to leave crops on the ground, but key immigration lobbyists also took a fresh approach to the issue, saying that farm workers should be considered skilled workers and that new allies are coming forward in the immigration battle. Read More...

Romney praises John Deere in foreign aid speech

NEW YORK CITY — In a speech on foreign policy and development at the Clinton Gobal Initiative annual meeting here today, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney praised John Deere & Co. for developing smaller farm equipment that African farmers can use. Read More...

Obama: End trafficking of migrant workers

NEW YORK CITY — President Barack Obama called here today for steps to eliminate the trafficking of human beings, including migrant farm workers in the United States.
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Rural voters favor immigration reform until ...

Rural voters are more likely to favor the Democratic Party position on comprehensive immigration reform rather than a Republican position emphasizing secure borders and opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants — until they find out that the reform position belongs to the Democrats, according to a poll taken by Greenburg Quinlan Rosner Research and released by Daily Yonder. Read More...

Poll shows Romney leading Obama in rural areas of swing states

Republican Mitt Romney holds a 14 percentage point lead over President Barack Obama among rural voters in nine swing states, according to a National Rural Assembly poll released today in the Daily Yonder. Read More...

USDA announces process for discrimination claims

The Agriculture Department has put in place a process for Hispanic and female farmers who allege USDA discrimination to file claims, the department said today in a news release. Read More...

Obama, Romney provide policy answers to Farm Bureau

The American Farm Bureau Federation today released questionnaires that President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney filled out with their views on farm policy. Read More...

Humane Society sues over ‘Other White Meat’ sale

The Humane Society of the United States and a pig farmer filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Washington today, charging that the National Pork Board struck an unlawful backroom deal with the National Pork Producers Council for the purchase of the “Pork: The Other White Meat” slogan. Read More...

Clinton cites ‘Feed the Future’ at CGI conference

NEW YORK CITY — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the U.S. Agency for International Development’s “Feed the Future” program as an example of the Obama administration’s approach to development in a speech here today at the annual Clinton Global Initiative conference, which features sessions on subjects ranging from “the future of food” to the need for proper nutrition for babies to the importance of providing clean water and crop insurance in developing countries.
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The Hill: Some House Republicans say votes are there for farm bill

Some House members who favor action on a farm bill have said that there are enough votes to take the House Agriculture Committee-passed bill to conference with the Senate, which passed its own bill, The Hill reported over the weekend. Read More...

Three Democrats to introduce arsenic limitation bill

Democratic Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Nita Lowey of New York announced they will introduce legislation today to require the Food and Drug Administration to limit the amount of arsenic permitted in rice and rice-based products. Read More...

Colorado’s Chimney Rock site proclaimed national monument

President Barack Obama today signed a proclamation establishing the Chimney Rock archaeological area, located in the San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado, as a national monument. Read More...

Senators introduce bill countering Clean Water decision

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill Thursday that address a court decision that forced the Environmental Protection Agency to begin requiring Clean Water Act permits for certain applications of pesticides in or near water. Read More...

Boehner, Pelosi tussle over farm bill

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, today said he has postponed action on the farm bill because there are not enough votes to pass it, but Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., put it at the top of the list of bills that the House should have finished rather than leaving town until after the election. Read More...

Conservatives introduce ‘food welfare’ block grant bill

A group of House conservatives today introduced legislation that would combine the supplemental nutrition assistance program and five other food programs into a single block grant to the states. Read More...

Portrait of Sen. Harkin unveiled in Senate building

The official portrait of former Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee from 2001 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2009, was unveiled Wednesday evening at a reception in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building. Read More...

Stabenow focused on new farm bill in lame-duck session

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said late today that she will ”do everything possible” to get a new farm bill finished in the lame duck session despite House leadership's unwillingness to bring the bill to the House floor. Read More...

Vilsack announces regional drought meetings

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA and other federal agencies will hold four joint regional meetings to discuss federal efforts that can be used to address the drought. Read More...

House Ag economist Jagger to become consultant

House Agriculture Committee economist Craig Jagger will retire on October 5 and will open a consulting firm as well as spend more time with his family. Read More...

House farm bill situation chaotic

In a display of the bipartisanship that still marks the House Agriculture Committee, the chairman and two former chairmen of the committee showed up at a breakfast today to honor committee economist Craig Jagger on his retirement, but the situation regarding the 2012 farm bill that the committee has passed could only be described as chaotic. Read More...

New communications manager at National Grain and Feed

The National Grain and Feed Association has announced the hiring of a new director of communications and a manager of arbitration services.
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OECD: Government ag support falls in 2011

Government support to agriculture in the world’s richest countries fell to 19 percent of total farm receipts in 2011, a record low driven by developments in international commodity markets rather than by explicit policy changes, according to the latest version of an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development annual report, which was released in Washington today. Read More...

USDA to move lock report release time to noon

The Agriculture Department announced today that it will move the release of its key supply and demand reports from 8:30 a.m. to noon beginning January 1. Read More...

Cantor, anti-hunger advocates spar over food stamp studies

Conservatives are pointing to two new studies — one from the Congressional Research Service, the other from the New York-based Manhattan Institute — as proof that too many people are now on food stamps, but the Food Research Action Center said today that the studies only prove that the food stamp program is working the way it is supposed to work in a recession. Read More...

Kirk participates in campaign call

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, a former Dallas mayor, re-entered the political sphere on Tuesday, participating in a Democratic National Committee news conference on the day that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in Dallas to raise money for his campaign. Read More...

Additional $11.8 million in drought aid announced

Farmers and ranchers suffering from the drought in 22 states can apply for an additional $11.8 million in financial and technical assistance from the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA officials said today. Read More...

Consumer Reports releases arsenic in rice study; FDA says warnings premature, and industry responds

Consumer Reports today released a study on arsenic levels in rice and recommended that consumers take steps to avoid exposure to a known human carcinogen, but the USA Rice Federation criticized the study, and the Food and Drug Administration said it is too early to tell whether consumers should change their consumption. Read More...

USDA-Interior agreement to provide regulatory certainty on wildlife listing

Ranchers and forest landowners participating in the Agriculture Department’s ”Working Lands for Wildlife” (WLFW) initiative will get long-term regulatory predictability for up to 30 years under an agreement announced Monday by Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. Read More...

Last days to highlight partisan differences on farm bill

Partisan differences are likely to dominate any discussion of the farm bill as the House and Senate return Wednesday for their last two or three days in session before leaving until after the November 6 election. Read More...

Sweetener users hold out hope for more Australian sugar access

The Sweetener Users Association does not believe that U.S. trade negotiators are firm in their unwillingness to increase market access for Australian sugar within the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement, even though U.S. officials have said they do not plan such negotiations, a key Sweetener Users official said late last week. Read More...

Republicans introduce bill to repeal school lunch changes

In a sign that new school meals are becoming part of the political campaigns this fall, Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., and Steve King, R-Iowa, introduced a bill Friday to repeal the Agriculture Department rule that sets new standards and caloric limits on school lunch, while Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon and Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan defended the rule. Read More...

Liberal members and advocates ask House to bring farm bill to vote

Three liberal House members said last week that House Republican leaders should bring the farm bill up for a vote even though they disagreed with the cut in food stamps that the House Agriculture Committee included in the bill. Read More...

Dairy members seek MILC extension

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said Friday he and 59 other members of the House and Senate are pushing for assistance for dairy farmers since Congress has not passed a new farm bill with a proposed new dairy program. Read More...

USDA announces grants to help schools prepare healthier meals

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Janey Thornton announced Friday that 19 states and one territory had won $5.2 million in grants to help their schools meet the new meal requirements that have gone into effect this fall. Read More...

House schedules departure, farm bill action unlikely

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has officially announced that the House will go out of session this Friday and will not return until November 13, making action on the farm bill before the election extremely unlikely. Read More...

Johnson named USDA deputy liaison to the White House

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that Ashlee Nicole Johnson has been appointed to serve as the deputy White House liaison. Read More...

Twelve more sign farm bill discharge petition

Fourteen more House members today signed the discharge petition to bring the farm bill to the House floor, but the two Republicans who signed it today — Scott Tipton of Colorado and Renee Elmers of North Carolina — later withdrew their signatures. Read More...

Adelstein to leave Rural Utilities Service for PCIA

Agriculture Department Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein will leave his position effective Saturday to become president and chief executive officer of PCIA — The Wireless Infrastructure Association, on Monday. Read More...

White House releases OMB’s sequestration report

The White House today released the Office of Management and Budget’s report on what would happen to every government agency if sequestration goes into effect.
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Sweetener users, growers disagree over comparison with European Union program

The Coalition for Sugar Reform said this week that U.S. sugar growers’ claims that 2006 reforms to the European Union’s sugar policy helped create shortages and increased prices there are “nonsense,” as are charges the same would happen if Congress were to reform the U.S. sugar program.
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Nine Republicans join 30 Democrats on petition to bring farm bill to House floor

Thirty-nine House members including nine Republicans signed the discharge petition to move the farm bill to the House floor only hours after Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, moved it. Read More...

House, Senate expected to leave next week

The Senate will head home next Thursday, and the House is likely to follow suit. Read More...

State Department involves U.S. chefs in diplomatic culinary partnership

The State Department is starting an American Chefs Corps and creating a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership to bring U.S. and foreign chefs together, the agency announced last week. Read More...

House passes continuing resolution that will limit conservation signups

The House of Representatives today passed a continuing resolution to fund the government for six months. Read More...

New York City adopts drink size restriction, McDonald’s to list calories

In a blow for the soft drink industry and a win for anti-obesity advocates, the New York City Board of Health voted today to restrict sales of sweetened soft drinks to no more than 16 ounces a cup in restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums and arenas. The vote was 8 to 0, with one abstension. Read More...

BPI launches pink slime lawsuit against ABC News

A South Dakota beef producer on Thursday filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC News, claiming the broadcaster unfairly disparaged its beef additive by labeling it “pink slime.” Read More...

Ellen Terpstra new head of IPC

The International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council has named Ellen Terpstra as president and CEO. Read More...

White House names 11 food security ‘champions of change’

The White House has named 11 food security activists its “champions of change” and welcomed them to Washington last week.
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Bipartisan Farm Bill Now rally reveals partisan divide on bringing up the bill

Two Republican candidates in increasingly tough races — Rep. Rick Berg of North Dakota, who is running for the Senate, and Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, who is running for re-election — attended the Farm Bill Now rally today and called on the House leadership to take up the farm bill in September. But the battle over bringing up the bill is becoming is becoming increasingly partisan. Read More...

Farmers, key members of Congress to speak at Farm Bill Now rally

Farm leaders and some key members of Congress will speak at the Farm Bill Now rally on the Capitol grounds on Wednesday, Farmers Union President Roger Johnson announced Monday. Read More...

McCarthy: House considering short-term farm bill

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Monday that House leaders are considering a short-term farm bill, perhaps for six months, but did not provide any details of how it might be considered, the Washington Times reported. Read More...

Vilsack reassures Growth Energy on ethanol support

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gave a ringing endorsement of corn-based ethanol and other biofuels early today, saying that he has stressed the positive aspects of ethanol to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, who is considering a petition to waive Renewable Fuel Standard ethanol requirements because feed prices are high. Read More...

Stabenow to House: Pass farm bill in September, conference in October, final passage in November

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said today that there is still time for Congress to pass a new farm bill this session. The 2008 farm bill expires at the end of this month. Read More...

House conservatives plan news conference during rally

A group of House conservatives has scheduled a news conference on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. — during the time of the farm rally — to discuss the farm bill, the continuing resolution and the lame duck agenda. Read More...

Dow, Save Our Crops reach agreement on 2,4D

Dow AgroSciences and the Save Our Crops Coalition, a group of Midwestern farmers and vegetable processors, announced today that they have resolved SOCC’s concerns regarding the potential for herbicide injury to non-target plants following the introduction of the new 2,4-D tolerant crops.
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Farm groups tell Senate not to take up House-passed disaster aid

Thirteen farm groups urged Senate leaders Friday not to take up the House-passed livestock disaster bill and to pass a full five-year farm bill.
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AEI launches farm bill website

The American Enterprise Institute has a new website on the farm bill that brings together AEI's research and proposals for change.
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One million people register for USDA diet tracker

One million people have signed up for the Agriculture Department’s SuperTracker free diet planning and tracking tool, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release last week. Read More...

Vilsack: Congress can still pass farm bill this month

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today urged National Farmers Union members in fiery language to fight for a new farm bill. He also defended the Obama administration’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program and biofuels agenda against critics. Read More...

APEC makes food security a priority

Citing the growing world population, leaders of the Asian Pacific Economic Forum meeting in Vladivostock, Russia, on Sunday included a section on food security in their declaration. Read More...

Vilsack defends Obama's ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,’ biofuels

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that the Obama administration has a four-pronged approach to achieve rural prosperity and defended two of those programs against Republican attacks.
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Cantor releases heavy schedule but no farm bill

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has released a lengthy list of bills on which the House will vote this week, but the farm bill is not included in it. The list includes a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through the first quarter of 2013, and a vote on that bill could come as early as Thursday, the National Journal reported today. Read More...

Obama speaks of need for renewable energy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Barack Obama did not directly discuss agriculture or farming in his speech to the Democratic convention Thursday night after accepting nomination for a second term, but he did bring up renewable energy and other issues related to agriculture. Read More...

Montana governor blasts Romney on higher milk and gun ’fees’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer raised two issues in his speech here Thursday night that could cause problems for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney: higher milk taxes and more expensive gun licenses. Read More...

Glickman calls Vilsack ‘greatest,’ tells Clinton pork price story

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dan Glickman, the Agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration, told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack here this week that he is “the greatest Agriculture secretary ever” because farm incomes have never been higher, and then told a story about President Bill Clinton calling him to ask him to take action to raise pork prices. Read More...

Carson: Rural Democratic organizing not easy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A White House official with a farm background urged rural delegates to the Democratic National Convention this week to campaign hard and deliver a strong re-election vote for President Barack Obama. Read More...

Vilsack: Ag is back and cool

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told a group of farm lobbyists here this week that agriculture has “a phenomenal future ahead.” Read More...

Democrats tell rural delegates to get aggressive

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While rural delegates to the Democratic convention waited today for President Barack Obama’s speech accepting nomination for a second term, scheduled for 10 p.m., Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and other party officials urged them to take an aggressive stance in promoting the Obama-Biden ticket in the November elections. Read More...

Gen. Clark speaks out in favor of RFS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former General Wesley Clark told a group of agricultural lobbyists here this week that the Renewable Fuel Standard “is the only successful energy policy the United States has.” Read More...

Obama campaign introduces rural ‘dashboard’

The Obama presidential campaign will have a lot of offices in rural America again this year, but has also introduced an online “dashboard” through which people can become supporters and sign up for a variety of campaign activities. Read More...

Vilsack speaks to Democratic National Convention

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told delegates to the Democratic convention this evening that President Obama has done a lot to help rural America, but that there is more to do in a second term. Read More...

First lady mentions farmers in speech

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — First Lady Michelle Obama mentioned farmers in her speech to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday evening, signalling that the role of farmers in the American revolution could be an inspiration for modern American achievements of all types. Read More...

Vilsack to rural Democrats: Be proud of Obama's accomplishments

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a preview of the speech he is scheduled to deliver to the Democratic National Convention at 7 p.m. EST, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told about 300 rural delegates and activists Tuesday that they can be proud of the accomplishments of the Obama administration in rural America and that a Romney-Ryan administration would gut both nutrition and farm programs. Read More...

Democrats pledge support for farms of all sizes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to providing a safety net for farms of all sizes and will oppose Republican budget cuts on rural programs, according to the platform released today by the Democratic National Committee here.
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Vilsack to speak at Democratic convention

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will speak at the Democratic convention on Wednesday evening, according to Democratic Party sources.
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Iowa corn farmer doorkeeper at Democratic convention

Bruce Rohwer, an Iowa corn farmer, will serve as doorkeeper of the Democratic National Convention, the convention's rules committee announced today. Read More...

Stallman, Johnson to preside over rally

In a sign of the unity of farm groups pushing Congress to finish the farm bill before the 2008 farm bill expires on September 30, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman and National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson will serve jointly as masters of ceremony at a September 12 rally on Capitol Hill. Read More...

Hagstrom columns available on National Journal website

Jerry Hagstrom's exclusive columns for National Journal Daily over the past year can be read this week on the National Journal website, which has been opened to the public for the convention period. Hagstrom's columns for National Journal are normally for subscribers only. Read More...

White House releases its honey ale and porter recipes

In response to an online petition, White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass today released the recipes for two beers being brewed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: White House Honey Ale and White House Honey Porter. Read More...