Ag issues in Capitol Hill spotlight

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will appear before two Congressional committees this week. On Tuesday, Vilsack will testify at a Senate Ag Committee hearing on implementation of the farm bill. On Wednesday, he’ll appear before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. Later this week, Vilsack will be in Phoenix to speak at the annual Commodity Classic… Read more »

Increased truck capacity provides benefits

As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Surface Transportation Bill, (also known as the Highway Bill), the Soy Transportation Coalition is urging Congress to include increased truck capacity. STC executive director Mike Steenhoek, says a recent study looked at the impact of increasing truck weight limits on federal roads and bridges from the current 80,000 pounds… Read more »

Hypoxia Task Force realigns target date

The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force (HTF) is revising its strategy to reduce the hypoxia or “dead” zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The HTF is a partnership of agencies from 12 states, five federal agencies and Native American tribes. The group says efforts to reduce the hypoxia zone have not delivered the… Read more »

Dietary Advisory Committee calls for less meat

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The USDA and Health and Human Services Department Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee issued its report on Thursday. Pork and beef producer groups question the recommendation for Americans to reduce their meat consumption.  The report is part of the process to review the U.S. Dietary Guidelines every five years to make sure they are up-to-date and… Read more »

Governor talks Cuba at Martin Rice

Governor Jay Nixon was with Missouri Agriculture Director Richard Fordyce at the Martin Rice Warehouse in Stoddard County to talk about their upcoming trade trip to Cuba. Rice is a staple in the Cuban diet and it’s grown in Southeast Missouri. Nixon will lead the trip with members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba… Read more »

Legislation introduced to end Cuban embargo

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A bipartisan group of Senators has introduced legislation to lift the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. Senators Amy Klubuchar (D-MN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) have cosponsored “The Freedom to Export to Cuba Act”. The bill repeals the current legal restrictions against doing business… Read more »

Crop insurance concerns at hearing

Lawmaker’s concerns about the president’s proposal to cut crop insurance in his 2016 budget were raised at a House Ag Committee hearing Wednesday. One of the issues is the rates of return being earned by crop insurance companies.  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says they’re still too high. “I think what we found is, this… Read more »

COOL lawsuit dropped

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The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed a lawsuit against Country of Origin Labeling. The American Meat Institute filed suit against USDA in July of 2013 saying COOL violates the constitution by mandating speech and that it creates unnecessary and costly burdens for producers and packers. The U.S. District Court had… Read more »

The ever-evolving National Farmers Organization

The National Farmers Organization held their annual meeting recently in Nashville, President Paul Olson says attendance was great including a large number of younger members. “That is so refreshing,” says Olson, the organization has added programs aimed at younger members and they are drawing well. Declining farm prices among the main topics at the convention… Read more »

RFS reform bill introduced in the House

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Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced H.R. 704: The RFS Reform Act of 2015 on Wednesday. The bill would eliminate the corn-based ethanol requirement, caps the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10 percent, and requires the EPA to set cellulosic biofuels levels at production levels.  Goodlatte says, “With the EPA’s continued failure… Read more »