FarmPolicy

April 29, 2017

USDA Reassures Trading Partners Of Food Safety Of U.S. Wheat

Categories: Regulations

From USDA on May 31, “USDA officials say USDA is doing all it can to reassure trading partners that there are no food safety concerns related to U.S. wheat in light of the recent discovery of transgenic wheat on an Oregon farm.”

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Video: The Lead with Jake Tapper- Protests Over Genetically Modified Food

Categories: Regulations

On Tuesday, The Lead with Jake Tapper, reported on the controversy that surrounds GMOs and one of the companies that makes them.

In a related article in Tuesday’s New York Daily News, David Knowles indicated that: “Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposed amendment of the food bill was defeated less than a week ago, but the Vermont senator has taken to the airwaves to campaign for its defeat and to emphasize the growing number of states with genetically modified food legislation.”

USDA Continues Investigation Of Detection Of Positive Genetically Engineered Wheat In Oregon

Categories: Regulations

From USDA, May 31- “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) commented about its ongoing investigation into the discovery of transgenic traits recently detected in growing wheat plants in Oregon.”

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Bloomberg Video: Rogue Roundup Proof Wheat Found in Oregon

Categories: Regulations

From Bloomberg News, May 30- “The discovery in an Oregon field of gene-altered wheat developed by Monsanto Co. that was not approved for sale shows a failure of oversight that safety advocates say may endanger consumers and U.S. Trading relationships. Alan Bjerga reports on Bloomberg Television’s ‘Bottom Line.'”

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Farm Bill; Food Safety; Ag Economy; and, Immigration

Farm Bill

Ryan Johnson reported yesterday at The Dickinson Press (N.D.) Online that, “The next five-year Farm Bill is progressing in the House, and representatives could vote on the legislation in the third week of June, Rep. Collin Peterson said Thursday.”

Mr. Johnson noted that, “But Peterson said there are serious questions over the opposition the House legislation will face, both from Republicans who want more spending cuts and Democrats who don’t support the bill’s $20.5 billion in cost savings to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over the next decade.

“‘We’re not out of the woods yet,’ he said.”

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Purdue Ag. Economist Chris Hurt: Effects of merger on U.S. pork industry not yet known

Categories: Regulations

From Purdue University, May 30- “The full impact on the U.S. pork industry of a merger between Smithfield Foods – the world’s largest pork producer – and Chinese firm Shuanghui are not yet known, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt says.

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Bloomberg Video: U.S.-EU Trade Pact Prompts Food Fight

Categories: Trade

From Bloomberg, May 30, “Peter Bishop, deputy CEO at London Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Fredrik Erixon, director at European Centre for International Policy, discuss the politics behind food and agriculture in a U.S.-EU trade deal. They speak on Bloomberg Television’s ‘The Pulse.'”

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Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Smithfield; and, Regulations

Farm Bill

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D) continued to address Farm Bill issues in her home state of Michigan yesterday.

As the Senate’s Memorial Day state work period continues, Chairwoman Stabenow was a guest on yesterday’s Current State radio program (WKAR) where she noted that the legislation has “overwhelming support” in The Great Lakes State.

“Michigan is on every page of this Bill,” she said.

With respect to the House of Representatives, which did not take up the Agriculture Committee passed Farm Bill last year, Chairwoman Stabenow indicated that, “hopefully they will understand how important this is as a jobs bill, and a nutrition bill and be willing to pass it this year.”

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USDA Investigating Detection Of Positive Genetically Engineered Glyphosate-Resistant Wheat In Oregon

Categories: Regulations

From USDA, May 29- “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today that test results of plant samples from an Oregon farm indicate the presence of genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. Further testing by USDA laboratories indicate the presence of the same genetically engineered GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety that Monsanto was authorized to field test in 16 states from 1998 to 2005. APHIS launched a formal investigation after being notified by an Oregon State University scientist that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of GE glyphosate-resistant wheat plants.

The detection of this wheat variety does not pose a food safety concern. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed a voluntary consultation on the safety of food and feed derived from this GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety in 2004. FDA completed the voluntary consultation with no further questions concerning the safety of grain and forage derived from this wheat, noting that this variety was as safe as any non-GE wheat currently on the market.

“USDA officials say they are taking this situation very seriously and have launched a formal investigation.”

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Farm Bill; Ag Economy; and, Immigration

Farm Bill

Jim Harger reported yesterday at Michigan Live Online that, “U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow is confident her colleagues in the Senate will pass the Farm Bill her committee has been working on for the past two years.

“The Michigan Democrat said she is not as sure about the U.S. House, where some conservatives and the ‘tea party wing’ of the Republican caucus don’t believe a Farm Bill is needed, Stabenow said during a visit to a Sparta apple orchard Tuesday, May 28.

“‘The problem has always been folks who don’t think we should be helping farmers at all,’ said Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.”

(more…)

Ag Economy; Food Labeling; and, Immigration

Agricultural Economy- Trade

Joshua Chaffin and James Politi reported last week at The Financial Times Online that, “The faultlines over a proposed EU-US trade agreement came into sharp focus on Thursday as the European Parliament backed French demands to exclude cultural fare from a pact as US farmers blasted Europe’s safety standards as protectionist.

“The contrasting positions were a reminder of the entrenched disagreements that negotiators will have to overcome if they are to deliver an agreement that has received political backing at the highest levels on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The two sides are hoping to begin negotiations in July for an agreement that is being counted on to boost economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic and be a benchmark for the technical and legal standards for future trade agreements.”

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Farm Bill; and, the Ag Economy

Farm Bill- Senate Focus

Nearly two weeks ago, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a Farm Bill on a strong bipartisan vote of 15-5.  Without objection, the measure moved in astonishing time to the Senate floor, where debate began a week ago today.

Amendments focusing on the nutrition title (expanding cuts (v. 58-40); eliminating cuts (v. 26-70); and, block granting some programs (v. 60-36)) all failed, as did an effort to change the sugar program (v. 44-54).

In addition to other amendments, the Senate considered three amendments focusing on specific aspects of the crop insurance program.  An amendment eliminating the federal crop insurance premium subsidy for tobacco fell short (v. 44-52); however, a measure adding $5 million in funding to help eliminate fraud (v. 94-0), and an amendment to reduce the premium subsidy by 15% for farmers with an annual adjusted gross income of $750,000 or higher (v. 59-33), both passed.

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Farm Bill; and, COOL

Categories: Farm Bill

Farm Bill: Crop Insurance

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “Larger farmers would have to pay higher crop-insurance premiums under an amendment added to the Senate version of the farm bill on Thursday.

“Repeating a provision they introduced last year, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., got senators to back a plan that would lower the premium subsidy for farmers making more than $750,000 adjusted gross income. The vote was 59-33 despite opposition from leaders on the Senate Agriculture Committee.”

Note that a copy of the amendment (SA 953) was included in Monday’s Congressional Record at page Senate S3629 and can be viewed by clicking here.

Mr. Clayton explained that, “Under the Durbin-Coburn provision, those farmers making more than $750,000 would see their premium subsidy lowered from 62% to 47%.

“Durbin and Coburn said their amendment would affect about 20,000 farmers and save $1 billion over 10 years. They also each noted that roughly 4% of farmers account for nearly 33% of all the premium support for the federal government. Those figures come from a Government Accounting Office report last year.”

A video replay of the discussion between Sens. Durbin, Coburn and Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), which preceded the vote on the amendment, can be viewed here.  In the clip, each lawmaker made their respective arguments for supporting (Durbin, Coburn) the proposal, or alternatively, opposing (Stabenow) the amendment.

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Video: Sens. Durbin, Coburn, and Stabenow Debate Crop Insurance Amendment to the Farm Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

On the Senate floor today, Sens. Durbin, Coburn and Stabenow discussed an amendment regarding premium subsidy limits for crop insurance.

A transcript of this interesting discussion, from the Congressional Record, is available here.

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Sen. Burr Talks About Crop Insurance- Tobacco

Categories: Farm Bill

On the Senate floor today, Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) countered arguments made by Sen. Feinstein regarding her amendment to the Farm Bill, which deals with crop insurance & tobacco.

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Sen. Feinstein- Crop Insurance Amendment- Tobacco

Categories: Farm Bill

On the Senate floor today, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) discussed an amendment to the 2013 Farm Bill regarding crop insurance and tobacco.

The amendment is cosponsored by Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and would eliminate the premium subsidy to purchase crop insurance for tobacco.

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