FarmPolicy

April 24, 2019

Beef Prices-All Time High, Winter Takes Toll on U.S. Farms

The front page of today’s Los Angeles Times provided an in-depth look at variables associated with record high beef prices in the U.S. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal explained today that a harsh winter took a toll on farms throughout the U.S. and adversely impacted many crops.

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Farm Bill- Policy Issues; Ag Economy; Biofuels; Tax Extenders; and, CFTC

Farm Bill- Policy Issues

Yesterday, USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services Michael Scuse testified before the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee.

In his prepared remarks to the Subcommittee, Under Sec. Scuse noted that, “The President’s Budget includes a proposal to consolidate 250 field offices. However, there are steps that need to be taken to reshape and restructure our county offices and workforce before we can begin actively planning any office consolidation plan. So far, the agency has not identified any specific offices for closure and implementation of these changes will carry over beyond FY 2015.  FSA is proposing to reduce non-federal staff by 815 FTEs, saving $61.6 million, and realigning approximately 300 federal headquarters and state office oversight staff to the county offices, saving $6.8 million.

To promote increased efficiency, the IT request includes base funding to continue contract services that support modernization, development and maintenance of applications systems, and deployment support (e.g. data and database administration, testing and certification, and security). These funds will enable FSA to maintain essential program delivery and operations in the field, as well as provide support for improvements. This funding includes 65.0 million for MIDAS.”

In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt (R., Ala.) indicated that, “We will explore two of the more controversial proposals from the Farm Service Agency that call for a reduction of 815 non-federal permanent full time staff years and the closure of 250 county offices. While all of us on the Subcommittee are proponents of efficiencies, many of us here are not convinced that FSA has fully developed these plans and the savings associated with the proposals.”

Chairman Aderholt inquired about proposed technological advancements at yesterday’s hearing.  He noted that proposed efficiencies from fewer FSA offices are contingent on successful implementation of necessary technological variables that are used in the field offices, including the FSA “MIDAS” software.  To listen to a portion of a discussion on this issue, including remarks about MIDAS between Chairman Aderholt and Under Sec. Scuse, just click here (MP3- 1:43).

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Hoeven, Childress Back Blender Pumps

Categories: Ethanol

At an April 8 Senate Agriculture hearing, Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and Richard Childress, former NASCAR driver, testify of the importance of increased blender pumps to provide consumers with greater choice at the pump.

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