The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

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Humane Society launches campaign against King amendment

The Humane Society of the United States is launching a major campaign involving state and local government groups to urge conferees on the farm bill to remove a provision sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that would prohibit states from regulating the sale of farm products from other states due to objections about how they were produced, Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said a news conference on Tuesday. Read More...

Sportsmen praise Connor nomination at Interior

Two key sportsmen’s groups on Tuesday praised President Barack Obama’s nomination of Mike Connor to be Interior deputy secretary. Read More...

House farm bill critics plead for causes in conference, while NSAC, EWG predict farm bill extension

As the House and Senate Agriculture committees appear headed for informal conference negotiations in August, seven groups highly critical of the House-passed farm bill held a joint news conference on Tuesday to discuss their priorities and the possibility of another extension of the 2008 farm bill rather than passage of a bill this year. Read More...

Farm groups join immigration letter to House leaders

The American Farm Bureau Federation and other farm groups joined a coalition of more than 400 business groups Tuesday in sending a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., urging them to pass immigration reform. Read More...

Paper details impacts of proposed food stamp cuts

A paper released Tuesday by the Health Impact Project provides a detailed picture of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or food stamps, and the impact of the proposed cuts in the Senate and House farm bills.
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Gates hires Anderson from Potato Center

The Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has hired Pamela Anderson as its new director of agricultural development, beginning on January 6. Read More...

Oxfam: Food aid arguments lost on labor issue

Gawain Kripke of Oxfam America said at a Tuesday news conference that commodity provisions in the House and Senate farm bills “are not good for our concerns,” and that even though efforts to make major changes to international food assistance programs failed, the Senate version of the bill contains “modest changes” to food aid. Read More...

Baucus praises Obama request for trade promotion authority

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for trade promotion authority and trade-related worker adjustment assistance, a move that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., praised in a news release. Read More...

House members may vote to stay in session

The House and the Senate are scheduled to adjourn on Friday for five weeks, but some members of the House of Representatives may vote to stay in session because the House has failed to act on a budget bill, immigration or the farm bill, The Hill reported Monday. Read More...

Report: SNAP participation remains high because unemployment is high

The number of people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits remains high because the number of people without jobs remains high, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities said in a report issued Monday. Read More...

New York City hospitals launch fruit and vegetable prescription program

Two New York hospitals last week launched the biggest program in the nation allowing doctors to write prescriptions for fruits and vegetables redeemable at local farmers' markets for patients at risk of diet-related diseases and who live in underserved communities. Read More...

EWG releases new report on wetlands loss

The Environmental Working Group today published an interactive map that shows the counties in the United States that have experienced the most dramatic conversions of wetlands, nearby habitat and highly erodible land to row crops as commodity prices have risen in recent years and it has become economically worthwhile for farmers to plant crops on more fragile land. Read More...

GAO: USDA paid out millions to dead farmers, but USDA says procedures have improved

The Government Accountability Office said in a report released Monday that the Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency paid out as much as $36 million to more than 6,000 dead people over a four year period from 2008 to 2012. Read More...

Nestle, Schumacher among James Beard award recipients

The James Beard Foundation today announced the winners of its 2013 leadership awards, which will be presented on October 21. Read More...

Peterson: Boehner wants to finish bill by September 30, Cantor is problem

The House leadership is unlikely to appoint farm bill conferees this week or bring up a food stamp bill, according to House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn. Read More...

Upton establishes RFS task force

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., has tasked four GOP members of his panel to take the lead on changing the Renewable Fuels Standard that determines the level of biofuels in the nation’s gasoline supply, National Journal Daily reported today. Read More...

ASPCA: All ag-gag bills failed

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced today that all 11 state “ag-gag” anti-whistleblower bills that were introduced during 2013 legislative sessions have failed. Read More...

Vilsack, White House release report stressing rural benefits of immigration reform

In a sign that the White House recognizes the importance of gaining rural support for immigration reform, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released a report citing the need for immigration reform to benefit agriculture and praising the Senate-passed comprehensive reform bill. Read More...

NSAC blogs on Senate conferee rumors

Although no official announcements have been made, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition blogged late last week that the likely Senate conferees “based on the rumor mill” besides Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., would be six other Democrats and five Republicans. Read More...

Biotech industry launches website, Food & Water Watch responds

The biotech industry has launched a website, GMOAnswers.com, as a way for consumers to get fast information on genetic modification.
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CRS publishes comparison of farm bills

The Congressional Research Service has published and made available to Congress a side-by-side comparison of the provisions of the farm bills that have passed the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee and how they differ from current policy. Read More...

Meat groups fight over COOL

Nine U.S., Canadian, and Mexican meat and livestock groups have asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to grant a preliminary injunction to block implementation of a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule finalized by the Agriculture Department in May. Read More...

Few days remain for new farm bill before extension of old one expires

Prospects for finishing a new farm bill before the extension of the 2008 farm bill expires appear dim, with the House leadership not planning to appoint conferees until September and Congress in session only nine days that month. Read More...

Soy, corn, canola groups send letter on commodity title

The American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Canola Association today sent a letter to House and Senate Agriculture committee leaders that they continue to “oppose any bill containing a risk management program that would tie planted acres to fixed reference or target prices,” but it is questionable whether that message will find a receptive audience. Read More...

Stabenow, organic leader attend Iftar dinner

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Shazi Visram, the 36-year old founder and CEO of Happy Family Organic Superfoods, were among the guests Thursday evening at the White House’s fifth annual Iftar dinner, Obama Foodorama reported today. Read More...

Weller named NRCS chief

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed Jason Weller the chief of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Read More...

FDA releases two food safety rules

The Food and Drug Administration today released two long-awaited rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act that President Barack Obama signed into law on Jan. 4, 2011. Read More...

O’Malia: Exclude end-users from definition, but problem may already be solved

The only Republican member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission told a House Agriculture subcommittee this week that Congress should consider formally excluding end-users from the definition of a swaps dealer, but even he noted that farm co-ops have already been excluded. Read More...

Senate Ag approves Harden and Bonnie nominations

The Senate Agriculture Committee today voted to approve the nominations of Krysta Harden to be Agriculture deputy secretary and Robert Bonnie to be undersecretary for natural resources and environment. Read More...

CFTC holds calm ag advisory committee meeting

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission held a meeting of its agricultural advisory committee today that was remarkable for its calmness compared with the high-pitched rhetoric that surrounds futures, derivatives and swaps issues on Capitol Hill. Read More...

Corpse plant in Botanic Garden falls over

The bloom on the titan arum, the exotic plant in the U.S. Botanic Garden, has lasted longer than expected, but has now collapsed after being on display for almost four days. Read More...

Lucas: If no nutrition bill next week, go to conference

The House of Representatives has left Washington until Tuesday with no apparent plans to take up a nutrition bill next week, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., says that if the House cannot reach agreement on a bill to reauthorize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program before leaving next Friday for five weeks, the farm bill conference between the House and the Senate should proceed. Read More...

Casey rejoins Senate Agriculture Committee

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has rejoined the Senate Agriculture Committee. Read More...

Cantor nutrition group meeting, but bill next week unlikely

The nutrition working group put together by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is meeting this afternoon, Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., a member of the group, said, but Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., said he does not think that the House leadership will bring a nutrition bill to the House floor before the House leaves on August 2 for five weeks. Read More...

Fuels America launches ad campaign as RFS debate begins

Fuels America, the coalition of renewable fuels makers, is running a new advertising campaign today as a House Energy Commerce subcommittee complete two days of hearings on the Renewable Fuels Standard and House and Senate leaders are making plans to rewrite the RFS. Read More...

Vilsack: Pilot program shows SNAP incentive increases consumption of produce

A small increase in the amount of money that food stamp beneficiaries could spend on fruits and vegetables leads to a 25 percent increase in the amount of consumption of produce, according to a report Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released today. Read More...

Vilsack announces CRP signup results

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday that the Agriculture Department will accept 1.7 million acres that farmers applied to sign up under the 45th general signup. Read More...

Bishop, despite past conflict, endorses Harden nomination

Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., and Krysta Harden, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the Agriculture deputy secretary, proved today that time does indeed heal all wounds in politics. Read More...

McCarthy: Farm bill passage may be model for immigration reform

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said last week that the House passage of the farm program-only farm bill may be the model for passing immigration reform piecemeal, National Review Online reports. Read More...

Boyle to leave AMI at end of the year

American Meat Institute President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle has announced that he will step down at the end of 2013 after 24 years in the position. Read More...

Stabenow waiting for House leaders on farm bill

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said today she is waiting for the House leadership to respond to the receipt of the Senate farm bill, to call for a conference and to appoint conferees. Read More...

CFTC to hold ag advisory meeting Thursday

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will convene a meeting of its agricultural advisory committee on Thursday to discuss the Dodd-Frank Act, including customer protection and to hear a presentation on trading of ethanol/Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). Read More...

Is Botanic Garden corpse plant an omen for farm bill?

As members of Congress return to Washington today, they may wish to make a stop at the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory at the bottom of Capitol Hill, where the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), also known as the corpse flower or stinky plant, is blooming for the first time since 2007. The blooming of a corpse plant at the Botanic Garden could be considered a bad omen for the farm bill, but farmers see a bloom as a sign of success. Perhaps equally important, the Botanic Garden is directly below the House, where the fate of the farm bill will be determined. Read More...

National Grain and Feed, Futures Industry Association say changes to margin requirements could hurt farmers

When the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission last week, the National Grain and Feed Association and the Futures Industry Association testified that a CFTC-proposed rule on margin requirements would have negative effects on farmers and the businesses that serve them. Read More...

Energy and Commerce subcommittee to hold RFS hearings

House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold hearings Tuesday and Wednesday on stakeholder perspectives on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Read More...

Changing permanent law, no authorization for SNAP unwise

Changing permanent farm law and leaving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or food stamps, without authorization are not wise ideas, Jerry Hagstrom writes in his National Journal Daily column today.
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Ag subcommittee to hold CFTC hearings

The House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee will holding hearings Tuesday and Wednesday on the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Read More...

Cantor forms group to work on nutrition bill

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has established a working group to help write a nutrition bill that could theoretically pass the House with only Republican votes. The Hagstrom Report has obtained a list that contains 16 members including Cantor, although there have been rumors that the group includes more than 20 members. Read More...

Coalition sends letter on farm bill

A coalition of 262 small farm, religious and other progressive groups have issued a statement demanding that Congress “develop and pass a full and fair farm bill this summer without further delay.” Read More...

McCarthy confirmed as new EPA administrator

Renewable fuels leaders and Democrats today praised the Senate confirmation of Gina McCarthy as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The vote was 59-40. Read More...

Corn growers: Members are confused, but want full farm bill

More than half the 200 members of Congress and senators that the National Corn Growers Association visited this week on Capitol Hill are confused about where the farm bill stands, but most House members want a comprehensive bill, NCGA President Pam Johnson told The Hagstrom Report today at the conclusion of the group’s Corn Congress. Read More...

McGovern asks Lucas for nutrition hearing

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and 28 other House members sent House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, D-Okla., a letter today asking him to hold a hearing on nutrition before advancing a stand-alone nutrition bill. Read More...

Senate accepts UC to send farm bill back to House

The Senate just before 6 p.m. accepted without exception a unanimous consent resolution introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., today to send the farm bill back to the House and set the stage for a conference and the appointment of conferees. Read More...

Flannery new v.p. at Grocery Manufacturers Association

The Grocery Manufacturers Association has hired Jim Flannery as senior executive vice president for operations and industry affairs.
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Farm bill movements in Senate and House slow and subtle

Amidst rumors that a senator has placed a hold on naming conferees for the farm bill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said today they are consulting with colleagues about sending the farm bill back to the House and asking for a conference. Read More...

Lucas faces food stamp challenges

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said today that he faces real challenges in trying to write a nutrition bill that can garner 218 Republican votes to pass. Read More...

Corn Growers ‘mad as hell’ and headed to Capitol Hill

In what amounted to a lobbying pep talk, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told several hundred corn growers gathered in Washington today that they should get over their rural politeness and tell House Republicans that “the nation needs a farm bill,” and National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson responded that her members would tell Congress, “We are mad as hell. We are not going to take this anymore. We are going to hold you accountable.” Read More...

Vilsack urges House to appoint farm bill conferees, move on immigration reform

Reacting to statements by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., late Tuesday that he does not expect the House Republican leadership to appoint farm bill conferees before a determination is made on a nutrition bill, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that the only way that Congress can finish a farm bill is for conferees to be appointed. Read More...

Stabenow, Cochran to begin process to send farm bill back to House

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, confirmed today that the House has sent its farm-only farm bill to the Senate and that she and Senate Agriculture ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will begin the process of sending the Senate farm bill back to the House so that conference can begin. Read More...

Lucas tells GOP that conference won’t wait for nutrition bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., sent all Republican members of the House a memo today that he intends to move forward with conference on the farm bill and will not wait for the House to pass a nutrition bill for the conference to proceed. Read More...

Harden, Bonnie confirmation hearing scheduled

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced today that the committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday on President Barack Obama’s nominations of Krysta Harden to be Agriculture deputy secretary and Robert Bonnie to be undersecretary for natural resources and environment. Read More...

CFTC names whistleblower office director

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler today announced that Christopher Ehrman has been named the new director of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Office. Read More...

Stabenow fears House will wait to send farm-only bill to Senate

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said today she feared the House Republican leadership would not send the farm-program-only bill to the Senate until after the House has passed a nutrition bill, and urged conservation leaders to deliver a message to the House this week that leaders should deliver the bill, appoint conferees and prepare for a bipartisan farm bill. Read More...

House farm bill may be on way to Senate

Amidst controversy today about what will happen next on the farm bill and who holds responsibility, the House leadership began the process of sending the farm-bill-only farm bill to the Senate, a knowledgeable House Republican source told The Hagstrom Report late today. Read More...

Farm bill without food stamps criticized in media

While House Republicans were congratulating themselves on getting the farm-program-only farm bill through the House last week, the bill became the subject of criticism in newspapers, weekend TV talk shows and on farm radio programs. Read More...

Stabenow recalls her mother was there on Black Sunday

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., recalled today that her mother was an Oklahoma farm girl when the worst dust storm in American history occurred on April 14, 1935, and she noted the improvements to American conservation since then. Read More...

Farm, nutrition groups put hopes in conference for bill that includes food stamps and permanent law

Farm and nutrition groups said they are hoping a farm bill conference between the House and Senate will be productive, even if they did not like the bill that the House passed. Here is a selection of statements issued reacting to the House bill. Read More...

Senate Ag announces witness list for CFTC hearing

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., today announced a witness list for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission reauthorization hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Read More...

C-SPAN Radio interviews Jerry Hagstrom on farm bill

C-SPAN Radio asked Jerry Hagstrom late Thursday about the House passage of the farm-program-only farm bill and where that bill and nutrition programs are headed. Read More...

Obama names broccoli as favorite food

President Barack Obama stirred up a light-hearted summer food controversy by telling a young journalist at the “Kids‘ State Dinner” that his favorite food was broccoli. Read More...

Lucas looks to ‘conversations’ with Senate on farm bill

Although the House passed a farm bill Thursday that leaders said would move the bill forward, that path does not appear clear today. While Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Thursday that she looks forward to starting a conference with the House even though she doesn’t like the House bill, House Agriculture Committee Frank Lucas, R-Okla., did not use the word “conference” in his statement Read More...

Young healthy-recipe winners dine at White House

An 8-year-old North Dakota girl was one of 54 children who attended the White House “Kids’ State Dinner” on Wednesday for creating winning healthy recipes that have been included in a cookbook for children. Read More...

House passes farm-program-only farm bill, 216-208

The House today passed the farm-program-only farm bill that did not include a nutrition title, but did include a provision to repeal the 1938 and 1949 permanent farm laws and make Title I — the commodity title — of the 2013 bill permanent law, if the bill can make it through conference and get President Barack Obama’s signature. Read More...

Farm bill debate goes slowly

In what has become the closest thing that in the House can amount to a filibuster, Democrats have managed to slow down the vote on the farm-bill-only farm bill. Read More...

CBO releases latest farm bill score

The Congressional Budget Office has released a final score on the farm-program-only bill under consideration on the House floor today.
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Boehner deflects question on nutrition title

As debate on the rule governing consideration of the farm-program-only bill on the House floor continued, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, deflected a question on about whether he would bring to the floor a conference report with a nutrition title that the majority of House Republicans does not support. Read More...

House passes farm bill rule

The House voted today to support a closed rule on the farm-program-only farm bill and proceeded to debate on the bill. The vote was 223 to 195. Read More...

House takes up farm-program-only bill as many groups urge defeat, for-differing-reasons

As the House began debate on the rule governing consideration of a farm bill that does not contain a nutrition title and would repeal current permanent farm law and make Title 1 — the commodity title covering crops, dairy and sugar — permanent law, groups with widely divergent views today urged the House to vote against the farm-program-only farm bill that the House is considering today. Read More...

Farm-only bill up on House floor Thursday

The House Rules Committee late tonight granted a farm bill that covers all farm programs a closed rule, setting the stage for consideration of the bill Thursday on the House floor. Read More...

Senate Ag hearing airs concerns about Smithfield sale

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., other senators and witnesses today raised many concerns about the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods to Shuanghui International, a Chinese company. Read More...

Center releases Southerland amendment analysis

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities on Tuesday released a detailed analysis of the potential impact of the food stamps amendment to the farm bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., which was adopted in the House. Read More...

Meat industry groups file suit against COOL rule

Eight organizations representing the U.S. and Canadian meat and livestock industries on Tuesday filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block implementation of a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (“COOL”) rule finalized by the Agriculture Department in May in response to a World Trade Organization ruling that a previous U.S. COOL rule violated WTO standards. Read More...

USDA, USAID announce food aid meeting

The Agriculture Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which earlier announced that for the first time in decades they would not hold a summer conference on food aid, announced today they would hold a public meeting on “international food assistance and development” on November 21 and 22 in Washington. Read More...

House Rules will return for more debate on farm bill

After nearly an hour of debate on the farm-program-only bill without food stamps, the House Rules Committee has broken for votes on the House floor and will return for more debate when the votes are completed tonight. Read More...

House Rules meeting tonight on farm bill

In a sign that the House Republican leadership has whipped together enough votes to pass a farm program-only farm bill, the House Rules Committee will meet at 9 p.m. on the bill so that the House can consider it on Thursday. Read More...

House leaders’ proposal to split farm bill meets resistance

The House Republican leadership’s proposal to split the failed farm bill into two parts appears to be in trouble. Whip counts show a low level of support, a conservative think tank said the proposal does not go far enough, farm groups expressed concern about the contents of the proposal, and Democrats said that splitting the bill could end the urban-rural cooperation that has ensured passage of farm bills in the past. Read More...

House may split food stamp authorization from farm bill

House leadership has decided to split funding authorization for the food stamps program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), from the rest of the farm bill that failed to pass the House last month, according to a story posted by the National Journal. Read More...

House members in competitive districts supported farm bill

Members of the House who fear losing their seats were much more likely to vote for the farm bill last month than members from safe districts, according to a Hagstrom Report analysis. Read More...

National Review: Cantor scolds chairmen over farm bill vote

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., scolded Republican committee chairmen for voting against the farm bill on Monday, National Review Online, a conservative publication, reported on Monday. Read More...

School meals group divided over legal counsel, obesity

The School Nutrition Association’s decision last week to replace Marshall Matz, its longtime outside legal counsel, with another firm has caused an open rift within the organization and the revelation that the group has been divided over how to handle the growing national concern about obesity. Read More...

Stabenow announces more Smithfield witnesses

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has announced additional witnesses for the Wednesday committee hearing on the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods Inc. to a Chinese company. Read More...

Michelle Obama to host ‘kids’ state dinner’ today

First Lady Michelle Obama will host a “kids’ state dinner” at the White House today. Guests will include children from all U.S. states and territories who submitted winning healthy food recipes. Read More...

Daalder starts work as Chicago Council president

Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and national security expert, took office Monday as president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an organization that has played a lead role in food aid and foreign agricultural development policy in recent years. Read More...

Proposal to split farm bill divides Congress

Key anti-hunger groups and the Environmental Working Group as well as farm groups oppose splitting the farm bill into two bills — one for farm programs, the other for food stamps, Jerry Hagstrom writes in his column in National Journal Daily. Read More...

Note to Readers

Dear Readers: I thought you might be interested to know that I was quoted in The Economist on the failure of the House to pass the farm bill. A link to the article is below. The quote is from one of my National Journal columns to which readers of the report also had access. Read More...

Farm groups, tea party take different farm bill approaches

More than 500 farm groups wrote House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, today to urge him to bring the full farm back to the House floor as soon as possible, while House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla. and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., defended the single bill and Rep. Marlin Stutzman,R-Ind., said he believes he is making headway with his idea of splitting the bill into two. Read More...

School Nutrition Association switches lawyers

The School Nutrition Association, which has been represented by Marshall Matz of Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC for more than 30 years, has hired Barnes & Thornburg LLP for its advocacy and legislative services. Read More...

Obama continues to talk agriculture in Africa

As President Barack Obama’s trip in Africa continued to Tanzania today following a weekend stop in South Africa, Obama continued to highlight agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future program, whose evaluation was released Friday. Read More...

Obama focuses on roads and trade facilitation in East Africa

In Tanzania today President Barack Obama announced a “Trade Africa” initiative focused on the East African Community (EAC) — Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda — that will help those countries integrate their own economies through roads and customs procedures that would eventually make it easier for them to import goods from the United States. Read More...

Nutrition advocates praise snack rule, School Nutrition Association cautious

Nutrition advocates and retired military officers joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in praising the new nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold in school a la carte lines, vending machines and snack bars, while the School Nutrition Association adopted a wait-and-see attitude as an official testified that the new rules for healthier school meals have caused some problems. Read More...

DeLauro: Reinstate horse slaughter ban

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a former House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee chairman and a member of that subcommittee, said last week that the Agriculture Department’s announcement that it is in the process of authorizing federal inspections of a horse slaughter facility in New Mexico proves that Congress should reinstate that ban.
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Johanns, Vilsack exchange letters on using extension for Obamacare education

After Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said last week that the Agriculture Department’s Cooperative Extension Service would help inform rural America about the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., wrote Vilsack that he was “incredulous” that USDA would use its money for that purpose, and demanded that Sebelius send him details of the nearly $800,000 that would be spent on the project. Read More...

EU reaches new Common Agricultural Policy agreement

European Union negotiators last week reached an agreement on a revision of the EU Common Agricultural Policy for the period 2014 to 2020.
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