TPA moves one step closer in Senate

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  Trade Promotion Authority cleared what looks like the final hurdle before a full vote in the Senate.  The legislation was advanced on a 62-38 cloture vote with 13 Democrats joining 49 Republicans in support. The measure was held-up until Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to bring legislation to renew the charter for the Import-Export… Read more »

Grain inspection bill advances

A bipartisan bill to reauthorize the federal Grain Standards Act has passed the Senate Agriculture Committee and includes steps the US Ag Secretary would have to take to avoid port shipment slowdowns. Sponsored by Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and Ranking Chair Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the bill would require the Secretary to… Read more »

Extending the TPA debate in the U.S. Senate

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A Democratic Senator hopes to put the brakes on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) by extending the debate in the U.S. Senate. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio says he’s not opposed to trade, but with American jobs on the line, the Senator says it’s important to have an open and informed debate on trade policy. “If… Read more »

Ag retailers educate on stewardship

Ag retailers are involved with the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. Clay Martz, manager of the Crop Production Services Woodbury Farm Center in Mid-Michigan, says the partnership has helped educate about new technologies and potential hazards. “A lot of our employees along with myself have offered training for some of the MAEAP verified farms or… Read more »

Rural roads and bridges need improvement

Rural roads and bridges are costing farmers time and money. A new report this week by TRIP, a non-profit transportation research group, found 11 percent of the nation’s rural bridges structurally deficient and 10-percent were functionally obsolete.  In 2013, 15 percent of rural roads were in poor condition, 39 percent were mediocre or fair.  The… Read more »

House Agriculture Committee approves repeal of COOL

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The House Ag Committee approved a measure Wednesday that would effectively repeal country of origin labeling requirements for beef, pork and chicken.  If passed, the bill leaves intact labeling requirements for all other covered commodities. Committee Chairman, Republican Michael Conaway of Texas, says the move is to bring the U.S. into WTO compliance and to… Read more »

NCBA supports COOL’s repeal

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) supports legislation to repeal Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). Wyoming cattleman and NCBA president Philip Ellis says Congress needs to act quickly to prevent trade retaliation by Canada and Mexico. “We think this is an easy way to solve this problem before it disrupts our cattle market and dollars… Read more »

Wisconsin lifts one avian influenza quarantine

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture has released the quarantine on the mixed poultry flock in Juneau County.  The flock of 33 birds was confirmed to have the H5N2 avian influenza virus on April 16th.  The flock was depopulated and extensive testing and monitoring in the area have found no further infections.  The ban on poultry… Read more »

Grassley prefers COOL fix over repeal

The WTO’s ruling against Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) puts the issue back in the hands of Congress. While some are pushing for a quick repeal of the COOL law, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says Congress needs to take its time and consider the alternatives. “One would be a ‘North America’ label,” Grassley says.  “I… Read more »

New plan to restore pollinator habitat

A national strategy to promote the health of honeybees and other pollinators was announced this week.  EPA and USDA are working together on the Pollinator Heath Task Force to support habitat focused efforts.  The goals of the new strategy include reducing honeybee colony loses, increasing monarch butterflies and restoring habitat.  The plan includes restoring 7… Read more »