December 13, 2019

Video: USDA Reports Say Climate Change Will Affect Agriculture, Forests

From the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Feb. 14, “Two USDA reports say U.S. agriculture and forest management will have to adapt to climate change and that some of those efforts are already underway.”


Rep. McGovern’s 2nd ‘End Hunger Now’ speech- Thursday

Categories: Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Member Jim McGovern (D., Mass.) spoke on the House floor today about hunger issues in the United States.

In part, Rep. McGovern noted that, “Over 50 million people are hungry in America – more than 50 million who struggle to put food their tables. Many of these are hard-working people whose jobs just do not pay enough to feed their families. We need to use every opportunity we have to talk about it, to shine a light on the plight of the hungry, to take hunger out of the shadows and rededicate ourselves to the need to End Hunger Now.”

Rep. McGovern also “called for a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition.”

He stated that, “Over the years, there have been citywide, countywide and statewide hunger summits. Food banks, hospitals, colleges and universities have all held these events. But there hasn’t been one nationwide hunger summit, convened by the White House, since President Nixon hosted such a summit in 1969 – over 44 years ago!”

Rep. McGovern also spoke about U.S. hunger issues back on February 5.


Policy Issues- Budget; Trade; Biofuels; Regulations; and, Immigration

Policy Issues- Budget- Farm Bill

DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service will have to furlough meat, poultry and egg product inspectors if sequestration goes into effect, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wrote the American Meat Institute on Tuesday. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also raised concerns about the furlough.

“AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle had written Vilsack and President Barack Obama that USDA has a ‘statutory obligation’ to keep FSIS inspectors on the job.”


Sen. Johanns Presses EPA for Transparency on Senate Floor Wednesday

Sen. Mike Johanns (R., Neb.) discussed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues on the Senate floor today.

A news release from his office indicated that, “[Sen. Johanns] is introducing today a package of legislation promoting greater transparency and accountability in the [EPA’s] regulatory process. The package contains four individual pieces of legislation.”


Video: A Look at EU Farm Policy Issues

Categories: EU

A recent video presentation from, the EU Policy Broadcaster, provided an overview of recent EU farm policy issues.

Topics discussed include: the EU’s long-term budget (2014 to 2020), MEPs’ demands for CAP reform & Commission proposals for a ban on common insecticides.


Farm Bill- Policy Issues; Ag Economy; and, Trade

Farm Bill- Policy Issues, Budget- Sequestration

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “While possible sequestration cuts could begin as soon as March 1, USDA is still examining the possible effects on farm programs, a senior USDA official said Tuesday.

Michael Scuse, the department’s undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, spoke at the crop insurance industry’s annual meeting near Palm Springs, Calif. During the question-and-answer session, DTN asked Scuse about how farmers would be affected by possible cuts to commodity and conservation programs.

“‘We still have all of the attorneys at USDA looking at all of the programs and how they will in fact be affected if the sequester does kick in on March 1,’ Scuse said.”


Sen. Grassley Discusses Payment Limits on Senate Floor Tuesday

Categories: Farm Bill

Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) discussed payment limits and the Farm Bill on the Senate floor today.

A news release today from Sen. Grassley’s office, which contained more specific details, indicated that, “Senators Chuck Grassley, Tim Johnson, Mike Enzi and Sherrod Brown today are introducing legislation [“The Farm Program Integrity Act of 2013“] that would place a hard cap on the farm payments an individual farmer can receive in a year and close long-abused and well-documented loopholes in the farm payment program.”


Policy Issues (Budget); and, the Agricultural Economy

Policy Issues, Budget- Sequestration

Chris Clayton reported yesterday at the DTN Ag Policy Blog that, “The American Meat Institute is pushing back on the idea that thousands of USDA meat inspectors must be furloughed because of the impact of sequestration cuts.”

The DTN update noted that, “Responding in a statement, AMI President J. Patrick Boyle wrote Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack ‘reminding him of USDA’s legal obligations to provide meat inspection even under sequestration.’

“As AMI stated, USDA also said that production will shut down for that time period, impacting approximately 6,290 establishments nationwide and costing roughly over $10 billion in production losses. USDA further told reporters that industry workers would experience over $400 million in lost wages and that consumers would experience limited meat and poultry supplies and potentially higher prices.

“‘We agree with the assessment that furloughing inspectors would have a profound, indeed devastating, effect on meat and poultry companies, their employees, and consumers, not to mention the producers who raise the cattle, hogs, lamb, and poultry processed in those facilities,’ Boyle said. ‘AMI respectfully disagrees with the Department’s assertion is that, in the event of sequestration, the furloughs referenced are necessary and legal. The Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (the Acts) impose many obligations on the inspected industry, which we strive to meet. Those Acts, also however, impose an obligation on the Department – to provide inspection services.’”

The AMI letter to Sec. Vilsack is available here.


Bloomberg Video: The Farm Economy Recovers From the Drought

From Bloomberg News, Feb. 11 — “U.S. farm income will set a record in 2013, reflecting the anticipated rebuilding of crop reserves depleted by drought that will not be sold until future years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. Alan Bjerga reports on Bloomberg Television’s ‘Taking Stock.'”


Farm Bill (Budget); Ag Economy; Biotech; and, Immigration

Farm Bill- Policy Issues, Budget- Sequestration

Reuters writer Charles Abbott reported on Friday that, “The Obama administration warned on Friday that across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in March may result in furloughing every U.S. meat and poultry inspector for two weeks, causing the meat industry to shut down.

“By law, meatpackers and processors are not allowed to ship beef, pork, lamb and poultry meat without the Agriculture Department’s inspection seal.

“The prospect of mass furloughs of meat and food inspectors was part of a broader White House warning about the effects of the potential spending cuts on everyday life. Meatpackers said a shut-down would devastate consumers as well as their industry.”


Thompson: New farm Bill Must Be A Priority For President, Congressional Leadership

Categories: Farm Bill

On the House floor on Wednesday, House Agriculture Committee Member Glenn Thompson (R., Pa.) stated that, “During the last Congress there was one area where both parties came together. It was an effort that made improvements to programs resulting in better use of each taxpayer dollar. It was on an effort that also achieved deficit reduction. That effort was the farm bill.

“Many of us are eager to hear the President’s plan to help the nation achieve fiscal balance during next week’s State of the Union. I encourage the President to elevate passage of a new farm bill to the forefront in his speech. It’s good policy. It’s one area where we can come together and start the path to fiscal balance. I encourage my leaders in the House to welcome this call.”


February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE)

Today the World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) released its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), which stated in part that, “U.S. feed grain ending stocks for 2012/13 are projected higher this month as lower expected exports outweigh an increase in projected domestic usage. Corn exports are projected 50 million bushels lower based on the sluggish pace of sales and shipments to date and prospects for more competition from Brazil. Corn use for ethanol production is unchanged, but corn use for sweeteners and starch is raised 20 million bushels, boosting projected food, seed, and industrial use. Projected corn ending stocks are raised 30 million bushels. The projected range for the season-average farm price for corn is lowered 20 cents at the midpoint and narrowed to $6.75 to $7.65 per bushel.”

The WAOB noted that, “U.S. soybean ending stocks for 2012/13 are projected at 125 million bushels, down 10 million from last month due to increased crush…Strong U.S. soybean meal exports during the first half of the marketing year are partly offsetting declining shipments from Argentina where crushing has slowed due to limited soybean supplies…Soybean oil used for methyl ester is unchanged this month despite relatively low use during the first quarter of the marketing year. Production and use are expected to expand in coming months due to the higher mandate for 2013.”

Today’s report added that, “The U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2012/13 is projected at $13.55 to $15.05 per bushel, up 5 cents on both ends of the range.”

With respect to wheat, today’s WASDE report stated that, “U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2012/13 are projected 25 million bushels lower this month with higher expected feed and residual disappearance. Feed and residual use is projected 25 million bushels higher as weaker cash prices relative to corn support opportunities for increased wheat use in livestock and poultry rations…The projected season- average farm price for wheat is narrowed 5 cents on both ends of the range to $7.70 to $8.10 per bushel.”

Charts containing the complete supply and demand variables for U.S. corn and soybeans are reproduced from today’s WASDE report (click on tables for full view).

And, a chart from today’s report highlighting U.S. wheat supply and demand variables is available below (click on table for full view).


Farm Bill- Policy Issues; Biofuels; and, the Ag Economy

Farm Bill- Budget Issues- Sequestration

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke yesterday at the National Ethanol Conference in Las Vegas.

During the “Q and A” portion of his remarks, in response to a question regarding the Farm Bill, Sec. Vilsack elaborated on the sequester and budget issues (audio, (MP3- 4:07), transcript) and noted that, “Sequester could have an impact on the farm bill, because in order to avoid sequester, some folks may say, well, you know what, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to do some deficit reduction. We’re going to take some money from those farm programs and we’ll use it for deficit reduction now, not in the context of a new farm bill, but just to avoid sequester.

But when they do that, it makes it more difficult to write that farm bill, because if you’re going to do away with direct payments and you’re going to try to save the $48 billion that direct payments represents, and you’re going to try to plow some of that back into a new system that takes care of rice producers, and cotton producers, and soybean producers, and corn producers, and wheat producers, etc., but yet you also have to have some for deficit reduction, the smaller that pie is, the more difficult it is to write those programs.”


Farm Bill; Climate; Ag Economy; and, Immigration

Farm Bill: Budget and Policy Issues

An update yesterday at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) Blog stated that, “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its first snapshot of the budget projections for 2014 and beyond on Tuesday.  The snapshot includes projections for federal farm bill spending.  The final version of the projections, which will be published in late March, will be the version that is used for determining the costs and savings of competing budget resolutions and farm bill proposals to be debated later this year.  As a general rule, though, there are only rarely big differences between the early snapshot and the final projections.”

The NSAC update noted that, “The 2012 debate on a new farm bill used the March 2012 CBO baseline as its measuring rod.  Compared to that March 2012 baseline, several items stand out in the new version.

“First, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as the food stamp program, is projected to decline in cost by almost $8 billion in the next five years and by nearly $12 billion over the coming decade, relative to last year’s projection.  Those are decreases of 1.9 and 1.5 percent, respectively.”

“Second, CBO projects a decline in the cost of the crop insurance program, by close to $3 billion over the next decade relative to last year’s projection.  The insurance subsidies would still cost close to $9 billion a year, according to CBO.”

Yesterday’s NSAC analysis pointed out that, “Third, the current suite of commodity programs are projected to increase in cost by $1.6 billion over the next 10 years relative to last year’s projection.  The increase is largely due to projected increases in Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) payments for corn, soybeans, and wheat and projected increases in counter cyclical payments for cotton.  Dairy program costs drop dramatically after the current one-year extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program — included as part of the short-term farm bill extension enacted at the beginning of January — expires at the end of this year.”


Policy- Budget Issues; Ag Economy; and, Immigration

Policy- Budget Issues: CBO Update, “Sequester” Analysis

Reuters writer Charles Abbott reported yesterday that, “U.S. farmers will plant huge amounts of corn and soybeans this year, producing a record corn crop and ending three years of razor-thin supplies barring weather problems, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office projected on Tuesday.

“The CBO projected a corn crop of 14.454 billion bushels [see page nine of “CBO’s February 2013 Baseline for Farm Programs”] , which would be the biggest ever, and a soybean crop of 3.306 billion bushels [see page 11 of the Farm Program Baseline], the third-largest on record.

The projections assume a return to normal weather and higher yields despite the lingering effects of the 2012 drought – the worst in 56 years.”


Rep. McGovern Discusses Hunger Issues on House Floor- Tuesday

Categories: Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Member Jim McGovern (D., Mass.) spoke on the House floor today about hunger issues in the United States.

According to his webpage, “Starting on February 5th, Congressman McGovern began a series of speeches focused on the importance of ‘End Hunger Now.'”


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