FDA finalizes calorie label rule

Every restaurant chain, grocery store take-out counter, convenience store, amusement park and movie theater would have to post calories for most or all of their menu items under a final rule by the Food and Drug Administration. So would most vending machines. The FDA says Americans consume about one-third of their calories away from home… Read more »

Congress wrestles with tax extenders

Congress continues to wrestle with the tax extenders package. Republicans and Democrats are reportedly working on a compromise that would make permanent a few of the tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013 and extend others through 2015. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley hopes they’ll have it ready for a vote by next week…. Read more »

Grassley hopes for tax extenders vote by next week

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Congress continues to wrestle with the tax extenders package. Republicans and Democrats are reportedly working on a compromise that would make permanent a few of the tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013 and extend others through 2015. Of particular interest to agriculture are the biodiesel tax credit and the Section 179 deduction… Read more »

Agriculture needs to push Congress on immigration

Once the initial positioning and grandstanding dies-down, many in agriculture hope President Obama’s executive action on immigration will eventually lead to Congress taking action. Chris Galen is senior vice-president of the National Milk Producers Foundation, he says the fact that there was nothing specific for agriculture in the President’s plan means those in agriculture will… Read more »

President’s plan doesn’t address ag’s concerns

President Obama’s executive order on immigration does not include the guest worker program sought by the agriculture industry. Chuck Connor, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and chair of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, says that while the President’s actions will alleviate some pressure in the short term, it does not offer… Read more »

Senators urge animal antibiotics action

Four U.S. Senators are urging the head of the Food and Drug Administration to propose a rule increasing data collection of medically important antibiotics used in agriculture. Senators Tom Harkin (of Iowa), Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren have sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. The Democrats say antibiotic resistance in foodborne… Read more »

Conaway to chair House Ag Committee

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As expected, Texas Congressman Michael Conaway will be the chair of the House Agriculture Committee when 114th Congress takes office in January.  In a statement, the Texas Republican said: “I represent, and love, rural America. It’s the backbone of our country.  The values and concepts that make America great are stored in rural America, and… Read more »

China agrees to curb greenhouse gas emissions

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An agreement between the U.S. and China is being heralded as a breakthrough in global climate change efforts. While attending the annual Asian Pacific Economic Conference in Beijing this week, China’s president set a target to reduce fossil fuel emissions by 2030.  This is the first time Beijing has ever agreed to reduce emissions. The… Read more »

Illinois group sees opportunity in Cuba

The head of the Illinois Cuba Working Group, established by the Illinois legislature, sees an opening for lifting of the U.S. trade barrier with Cuba, helping to increase U.S. agricultural exports there. Paul Johnson, executive director of the group and president of Chicago Foods International, says the new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate could help,… Read more »

Grassley: Tax extenders are top ‘lame duck’ priority

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says passage of tax extenders legislation should be a top priority for the lame duck Congress. Grassley says increasing the Section 179 deduction level from the current 25-thousand dollars to 500-thousand dollars is important to farmers. “I have very regularly heard at my town meetings from constituents who are putting off… Read more »