The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

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The Hagstrom Report guide to the New Northwest

How long will it take for farmers and ranchers visiting Washington to demand that their lobbyists take them to 14th and U and other hot addresses in the New Northwest Washington rather than stodgy Georgetown or even Capitol Hill? The center of the New Northwest is 14th and U, but new restaurants and bars are opening almost daily as far north as W Street and east and south all the way to Seventh Street near the convention center. Read More...

Congressional staff continues work on farm and Ag appropriations bills

While many Americans take time off for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the staffs of the House and Senate Agriculture committees that write farm bill authorizing legislation and the staffs of the House and Senate Agriculture appropriations subcommittees are likely to be working hard to prepare the new farm bill and the fiscal year 2014 bills for Senate and House members when they return the first week of January. Read More...

FDA to publish feed rule

The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday it would publish a proposed rule on food adulteration and terrorism, but will exempt animal and pet feed as part of its implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Read More...

Vilsack reports progress in talks with China

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that he and Chinese leaders made progress on a number of high-priority issues during the 24th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade which wrapped up today in Beijing, although details were not released. Read More...

Obama formally nominates Baucus for China post, raising trade bill questions

President Barack Obama on Friday formally announced his intention to nominate Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., to be U.S. ambassador to China. The nomination raised the question of whether Baucus would be able to lead the Senate to pass a trade promotion authority bill before he leaves the Senate or whether that legislation would languish. Read More...

Ronholm named acting food safety undersecretary

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has named Brian Ronholm, the deputy undersecretary for food safety, as acting undersecretary, Food Safety News reported this week. Read More...

Harkin to support farm bill nutrition title

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said Thursday he will support the farm bill nutrition title that is likely to cut $8 billion from the food stamp program over 10 years, DTN, an Omaha-based satellite farm news service, reported. Read More...

RFA celebrates 6th anniversary of RFS

The Renewable Fuels Association on Thursday celebrated the sixth anniversary of the signing of the law that expanded the Renewable Fuel Standard by publishing a report on what RFA considers its accomplishments. Read More...

Festive tours of the White House

Tours of the White House decorated for Christmas have been taking place in addition to the evening parties which President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have hosted. Read More...

FDA to revise FSMA rules

Reacting to criticism from the farm community, the Food and Drug Administration will revise two Food Safety Modernization Act rules and will seek comment on them, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor announced Thursday.Reacting to criticism from the farm community, the Food and Drug Administration will revise two Food Safety Modernization Act rules and will seek comment on them, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor announced Thursday. Read More...

GMA, EWG spar over labeling GMO foods as natural

The Grocery Manufacturers Association will petition the Food and Drug Administration to allow foods derived from genetically modified ingredients as “natural,” but the Environmental Working Group said FDA should reject the petition. Read More...

Scuse: Farm bill needed to keep up exports

Noting that U.S. agricultural exports set a record $140.9 billion in agricultural exports for fiscal year 2013, Agriculture Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services said Thursday that Congress needs to pass a new farm bill that reauthorizes trade promotion programs. Read More...

EWG releases crop insurance report

The Environmental Working Group on Thursday released a report that describes most federal crop insurance spending as wasteful.
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American Seed names Walters communications director

The American Seed Trade Association has named Janice Walters as its director of communications. Read More...

Obama nominates Bowen for the CFTC

President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced his intention to nominate Sharon Y. Bowen to succeed Bart Chilton as a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Read More...

Senate to depart today

The Senate is expected to go out of session today after a series of votes at 10:15 a.m., including one to invoke cloture on the nomination of Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve Bank. Read More...

Senate passes budget deal, setting up appropriations process

The Senate on Wednesday voted 64 to 36 to pass a House-Senate budget deal that will set the stage for the appropriations committees to get allocations by the end of the week and prepare a government funding bill by January 15, the date the current continuing resolution expires. Read More...

U.S., Brazil to explore full beef trade

The Agriculture Department and the Brazil Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (known by the Portuguese acronym MAPA) announced Wednesday that had “agreed to a path forward to amend rules that currently limit bilateral beef trade,” Agriculture Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse announced. Read More...

National Christmas Tree a living thing

Unlike most of the Christmas trees in the nation’s capital, the National Christmas Tree, located in the Ellipse near the White House, is a living tree. Read More...

Obama to appoint Baucus ambassador to China

President Barack Obama intends to nominate Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., as U.S. ambassador to China, and Baucus will resign from the Senate before his term is up, USA Today reported Wednesday. Read More...

Stutzman will oppose farm-nutrition bill

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., who worked earlier this year to separate agriculture and nutrition programs into two bills, said Wednesday he will not vote for a farm bill that combines the two programs. Read More...

EPA’s McCarthy meets with senators on RFS

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy met with a bipartisan group of senators to hear their views on the agency’s proposal to reduce the volumetric requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in news releases. Read More...

New Republic: Calorie-counting devices challenge people with anorexia and bulimia

The calorie-counting devices that may help overweight people control their calorie intake may make it more difficult for people suffering from anorexia and bulimia to deal with their disorders, Alice Gregory writes in The New Republic. Read More...

Pork producers, others consider opposing TPP over Japan

Seventeen agriculture groups led by the National Pork Producers Council are considering opposing a final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement if it includes Japan but that country doesn’t agree to comprehensive trade liberalization, including elimination of tariffs on virtually all U.S. agricultural products. Read More...

National Journal poll: Most Americans want tougher food stamp standards

Two-thirds of Americans want tougher requirements for food stamps, according to a National Journal poll released Wednesday. Read More...

USDA seeks diversity in fruit and vegetable committee

The Agriculture Department is seeking nominations for the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, which advises the Agriculture secretary on policies affecting the industry. Read More...

Farmers, lobbyists speculate about farm bill

As congressional staff continued to work on finalizing the farm bill Wednesday evening, hundreds of American Farm Bureau Federation members and Washington lobbyists attending Farm Bureau’s annual Taste of the States event speculated on the finer points of how the bill may turn out. Read More...

Obama nominates Vetter chief agricultural negotiator

President Barack Obama late Tuesday announced his intention to nominate Darci L. Vetter for chief agricultural negotiator with the rank of ambassador, a position in the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Read More...

USDA to announce grants for school kitchens as foundations issue report on need

The Agriculture Department today will announce $11 million in grants to help schools purchase equipment to make preparing and serving healthier meals easier and more efficient, while the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will release a comprehensive study of the need for new school kitchen equipment around the country. Read More...

Senate signals passage of budget deal with implications for Ag appropriations and farm bill

The Senate today passed a procedural motion on the budget bill that signals the bill will be passed and sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. Read More...

EU farm ministers approve CAP reform

The European Union farm ministers today approved the latest version of the Common Agricultural Policy, the last step in the lengthy process of developing the new policy, EurActiv.com reported today. Read More...

Senators urge Korea to prevent disruption in organic trade

Thirteen senators last week wrote the Korean ambassador to the United States urging his government to keep the Korean market open to products certified organic pending completion of an equivalency agreement between the two countries. Read More...

China agrees to increase number of FDA inspectors

China has agreed to increase the number of U.S. food and drug inspectors stationed in China, the White House has announced. Read More...

Vilsack plans to talk beef, biotech, fruits and vegetables in China

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to talk to Chinese officials about beef exports and biotechnology issues on a trip to China this week, he told The Red River Farm Network in an interview transcribed by Farm Policy. Read More...

Vilsack, Sutley blog on farm bill

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Nancy Sutley, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, called for passage of a new farm bill last week. Read More...

Heitkamp interviews Massad as CFTC commissioners name Wetjen acting chairman

Assistant Treasury Secretary Timothy Massad, President Barack Obama’s nominee to succeed Gary Gensler as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is making the rounds of Senate offices as the remaining commissioners named Commissioner Mark Wetjen as acting chairman upon Gensler’s departure at the end of the year. Read More...

Gensler names acting chief economist

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler on Monday named Sayee Srinivasan acting chief economist. Read More...

Report: Unwillingness to expand Medicaid in rural states creates coverage gap

The decision of some states with large rural populations not to expand Medicaid has created a health care coverage gap, the Center for Rural Affairs said in a report released today. Read More...

Froman to give Outlook Forum dinner speech

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will give the dinner speech at the Agriculture Department’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum in February, USDA announced today. Read More...

Dole could be role model for conservative Republicans on nutrition

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., who became a nutrition advocate after initial skepticism, could become a role model for House conservatives as they decide how to vote on the farm bill, Jerry Hagstrom writes in his National Journal column published Sunday. Read More...

Democrats may use farm bill for unemployment benefits leverage

House Democrats may refuse to vote for the farm bill unless Republicans agree to use the savings in that bill to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits, The Washington Post reported Friday. Read More...

ZooLights holiday display returns to National Zoo

Are you looking for a place to take children, a spouse, a date or friends to look at Christmas lights? Consider the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo, which has been transformed with its ZooLights festival, featuring electrical displays of animals and the foods they eat. Read More...

Food Policy Action names managing director

Food Policy Action, the group that produces a scorecard on members of Congress's votes on a wide range of food-related issues, has hired Claire Benjamin as its managing director. Read More...

No farm bill framework until January

House and Senate Agriculture committee leaders will not reveal a farm bill framework until January, they said today after a one-hour meeting. They also stressed they made progress, which signals for finalization of a bill and its completion are positive. Read More...

House passes budget deal with implications for agriculture

The House of Representatives passed a budget deal Thursday that should lead to higher appropriations for Agriculture and related agencies than the House had planned, but also means there will be other cuts in mandatory spending and possible fees for farmers seeking conservation technical assistance. Read More...

Vilsack, Froman, Pritzker to travel to China

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on a trip to Beijing December 19 and 20 when Pritzker and Froman co-chair the 24th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang.” Read More...

Boehner invites Obama for State of Union on January 28

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, today invited President Barack Obama to deliver the 2014 State of the Union address on January 28. By tradition it would be delivered to a joint session of Congress held in the chamber of the House of Representatives. Read More...

Siddiqui to leave USTR

Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, the chief U.S. agriculture negotiator, has decided to leave his post soon, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced Thursday. Read More...

Obamas entertain thousands at holiday parties

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are hosting a series of parties at Christmas, serving food and drink from around the United States to thousands of people, including the print press corps on Thursday.
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EPA explains RFS; Feinstein and Coburn propose elimination of corn ethanol mandate

A day after a key Environmental Protection Agency official told a Senate committee why the agency decided to lower the volumetric requirements for renewable fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard, Sens. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and eight other senators introduced a bill to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate within the RFS. Read More...

U.S. Botanic Garden sends ‘Season’s Greenings’

The U.S. Botanic Garden, at the foot of the House of Representatives, is holding its annual poinsettia showcase and other holiday displays. It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, in December it is open Tuesdays and Thursdays until 8 p.m., with music concerts scheduled on those nights. Read More...

Budget vote, extension debate, farm bill meeting expected

The House has begun voting on a budget deal that would involve some changes in agriculture spending and are expected to begin a debate on a farm bill extension. In addition, the farm bill principal negotiators are expected to hold a conference meeting either today or Friday, but appear unlikely to announce a framework agreement on the bill. Read More...

Land Trust Alliance wants tax measure in farm bill

The Land Trust Alliance, which represents nearly 1,700 land trusts nationwide, is trying to convince farm bill conferees to include a measure that would make permanent a tax deduction created in 2006 to encourage landowners to preserve farms, ranches, forests and historical sites in protected easements. Read More...

Sen. Dole accepts WFP USA award

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., returned to Capitol Hill Wednesday to receive the World Food Program USA’s George McGovern Leadership award for his role in alleviating global hunger. He also learned that the 12-year-old award will be named after him as well as McGovern, the late Democratic senator from South Dakota and his party’s presidential candidate in 1972. Read More...

Navy to buy biofuels regularly

The Navy, which is in partnership with the Agriculture Department on a “Farm to Fleet” venture, will incorporate the acquisition of biofuel blends into regular Department of Defense domestic solicitations for jet engine and marine diesel fuels, using funds from the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today. Read More...

USAID awards challenge grants to farm innovators

The U.S. Agency for International Development and its partner organizations today awarded grants to winners of its contest to come up with innovations to improve agricultural productivity and value in developing countries. Read More...

House, Senate farm leaders to meet again Thursday

House and Senate Agriculture committee leaders have put intense pressure on their staffs to finish as much of the farm bill as possible by tomorrow when the four principal negotiators are planning to meet. Read More...

National Journal: Gensler the regulator most responsible for the Volcker rule

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler is the regulator who pushed hardest for the Volcker Rule that was adopted on Tuesday, National Journal reported. Read More...

USDA releases breastfeeding report

Breastfeeding among participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, has increased from 63 percent to 67 percent in the last three years, the Agriculture Department’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service said in a report released today. Read More...

Budget deal enters agriculture sphere

The budget deal entered the agriculture sphere today as House Democrats proposed using farm bill savings to pay for unemployment benefits, conservation groups criticized plans to ask farmers to pay for technical assistance, and a key food aid group endorsed it. Read More...

Mayors: Food requests still increasing in most cities

All but four of 25 cities reported receiving an increased number of requests for food in the past year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said today as it announced its annual survey on hunger and homelessness. Read More...

Tufts professor calls for national nutrition conference

A national conference on nutrition would make Americans more aware of the importance of healthy eating, a key academic leader on nutrition told congressional aides at a briefing last week. Read More...

Women in Agriculture raise money for project to teach Thai sex workers to farm

An informal Washington group known as Women in Agriculture or the “Waggies” held a fundraiser Monday to support Breakthrough Thailand, a project to help Thai sex workers change their lives by learning how to farm.
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Froman says ‘great’ TPP meetings held in Singapore

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said today that the Trans-Pacific Partnership held a “great set of meetings” in Singapore, and that there was “great momentum” out of the meeting. Read More...

Lucas to offer farm bill extension, but tones down need for it

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said today he will offer an extension to the 2008 farm bill through the end of January. But after Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the Senate would not pass it, Lucas said he hopes that so much progress is made this week the House will not have to vote on it. Read More...

Food Policy Action releases Congressional scorecard

Food Policy Action, a project started by the Environmental Working Group, today released its 2013 National Food Policy Scoreboard, rating how members of Congress voted on a range of issues that the group considers food-related. Read More...

USFRA publishes annual report and transparency study

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance has published its annual report and a document on transparency in the food and agriculture industries.
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National Journal: Budget deal tantalizingly close

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are very close to finishing a budget agreement and it could be announced as early as this evening, National Journal reported today. Read More...

Obama shakes hands with Raul Castro

At a memorial ceremony in South Africa today for President Nelson Mandela, President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro, The Guardian reported. Read More...

Stabenow won’t support farm bill extension of any kind

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told reporters today that she would not support a short-term or long-term farm bill extension, Reuters reported. Read More...

Groups write conferees on conservation issues

More than 300 conservation, hunting, fishing and faith-based organizations have written a final letter to farm bill conferees calling for inclusion of the sod buster provision that would discourage farmers from breaking up new ground and the conservation compliance provision that would require farmers receiving federally subsidized crop insurance to comply with federal conservation standards. Read More...

Wholesome Wave encourages food stamp beneficiaries to eat healthier

“Double bucks” coupons for the purchase of fruits and vegetables distributed by Wholesome Wave, a charity started by chefs, help food stamp beneficiaries eat healthier, National Journal reports. Read More...

Boehner aide: Farm bill needs to save money even though it is not in budget deal

Farm bill negotiators still need to create savings in the bill even though the budget deal that Congress is near does not take those savings into account, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told The Hagstrom Report today. Read More...

AGRA, farm leaders issue statements on Mandela

The board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, a Gates Foundation-supported group chaired by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, issued a statement over the weekend mourning the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela as a major loss to the African continent. Read More...

McConnell criticizes food stamp spending in farm bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., over the weekend criticized the farm bill for emphasizing food stamps over production agriculture, and called for work requirements to be attached to food stamps, The Washington Post reported. Read More...

Tourists visit ‘People’s Tree’ at foot of Capitol

The Capitol Christmas tree is not lit until dusk each evening, but tourists are enjoying having their picture taken with the tree and the Capitol in the background day and night. Read More...

Law professors oppose King amendment

Fourteen professors from as many law schools around the country have written the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees that if the amendment on commerce written by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in the House-passed bill were to become law, “there is a significant likelihood that many state agricultural laws across the country will be nullified, that public health and safety will be threatened, and that the amendment could ultimately be deemed unconstitutional.” Read More...

Bali WTO trade deal close

Trade ministers gathered in Bali, Indonesia, for the World Trade Organization meeting are close to concluding a small deal before the meeting is scheduled to end today, after the United States and India reached agreement on food subsidies, the Associated Press reported. Read More...

Greeks promote Mediterranean Diet on Capitol Hill

Quoting Hippocrates, who said, “Let food be thy medicine,” Greek chefs and members of Congress on Wednesday promoted the Greek Mediterranean diet as the place “where flavor meets good health.” Read More...

Farm bill conference may hold public session next week

Farm bill conferees may meet in a public session next week, a House Republican aide confirmed to The Hagstrom Report today. Read More...

Cornell professor: TPP offers challenges for dairy

The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, which begin Sunday in Singapore, offer “quite interesting” challenges for the dairy industry in the proposed member countries, Andrew Novakovic, a Cornell University professor told reporters in Washington on Thursday. Read More...

CropLife releases seed treatment study

The CropLife Foundation today released, “The Role of Seed Treatment in Modern U.S. Crop Production,” a report detailing the uses of seed treatments, primarily fungicides and insecticides. Read More...

Cochran to run for re-election

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will run for re-election, his office confirmed to The Hagstrom Report today. Read More...

Peterson: Dairy issue done; IDFA uncertain

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said Wednesday that the dairy issue has been resolved, but an International Dairy Food Association official told The Hagstrom Report today that IDFA has not been informed of that. Read More...

USDA releases SNAP education study

The Agriculture Department today released an evaluation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program education program that Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon said proved the value of the program.
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Shah urges ag interests to support food aid flexibility

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah appealed to agricultural lobbyists today to support the Obama administration’s request for more flexibility in administering food aid programs.
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Conaway: House flexible on all issues, including dairy

House Agriculture General Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said today that that House negotiators will be flexible on all major issues in the bill including whether farm program payments should be based on planted acres or farmers’ historic base, nutrition and “even the dairy title.” Read More...

Farm bill negotiations appear to be continuing

Negotiations on the farm bill conference report appeared to be continuing this afternoon, even though House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said an extension of the 2008 farm bill might be needed. Read More...

Boehner talks of one-month farm bill extension

Although the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees say they are making progress on the farm bill, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said today he sees no progress and that the 2008 farm bill should be extended for a month. Read More...

Farm Bureau, Farmers Union call for farm bill completion, will stand behind chairmen and ranking members

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union have both issued statements calling for rapid completion of the farm bill. Read More...

Ag leaders break after one hour

The chairmen and the ranking members have ended a one hour meeting on the farm bill, but may meet again later today. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said that they needed scores and some proposals and that they hope to meet again today, but that no time has been set. Read More...

Stabenow defends Senate farm bill performance

Following a statement Tuesday by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that the Senate Democrats are to blame for the slowness in finishing the farm bill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., noted in a statement through her spokesman that the Senate has finished a bipartisan farm bill twice. Read More...

Froman urges WTO agreement in Bali, India refuses to budge

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Forman on Tuesday urged trade ministers from World Trade Organization countries gathered in Bali, an Indonesian island, to reach an agreement to move the Doha round of trade talks forward just as India, according to news report, has refused to budge on a food security proposal to which the United States has objected. Read More...

Lucas: Farm bill more likely in January

On the eve of an important meeting of the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., told an Oklahoma radio station that it's more likely the farm bill will be finished in January. Read More...

Ethanol critics, defenders plan dueling news conferences

In the lead-up to the Environmental Protection Agency hearing Thursday on its proposal to lower the volumetric requirements for renewable fuels in 2014 under the Renewable Fuel Standard, two groups of ethanol critics and one group defending the standard have scheduled dueling news conferences today. Read More...

Zulauf: Farm prosperity will attract next generation

Carl Zulauf, an agricultural economist at The Ohio State University, said that attracting a younger generation of farmers will not be as difficult as some have suggested if agriculture remains prosperous, the Associated Press has reported. Read More...

Farm bill principals to meet Wednesday

The four principal negotiators on the farm bill will meet privately Wednesday, congressional aides confirmed today. Read More...

Vilsack: Administration favors conservation compliance, sod-saver provisions

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that the Obama administration favors both a sod-saver provision and tying crop insurance premium subsidies to conservation compliance. Read More...

EPA sets RFS hearing

The Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled a public hearing Thursday on its proposal to lower the volumetric requirements for renewable fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Read More...

World Resources Institute: To feed 9 billion, reduce waste and meat demand

Reducing food waste around the world is one of the keys to feeding a population of 9 billion people by 2050, but so is reducing “excessive demand for animal products” in developed countries, the World Resources Institute says in the interim findings of a report. Read More...

Vilsack: USDA working on implementing permanent law, comments on farm bill provisions

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that USDA personnel are already working on the implementation of the 1938 and 1949 permanent farm laws, although he hopes that Congress finishes a new farm bill and he does not have to implement them. Read More...

NRCS announces CSP signup

The Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service announced Monday that it has opened the Conservation Stewardship Program for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014, but that applications must be submitted by January 17. Read More...

CFTC to hold public meeting

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will hold a public meeting next Tuesday to consider several issues, CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler announced today. Read More...

Boehner blames Senate for lack of farm bill

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, today blamed the Senate for Congress’s failure to finish a farm bill.
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Christmas tree production complicated, growers say

Growing Christmas trees is more complicated than it appears and growing trees as large as the ones required for the White House is a niche market, according to the growers who provided the trees to the White House this year, Obama Foodorama reported. Read More...

Farm bill may be in better shape than it appears

There is agreement on more important elements in the farm bill than has been noticed as the House comes back into session today, Jerry Hagstrom writes in his National Journal column today. Read More...

Vilsack says dairy and cotton case warrant new farm bill

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said last week USDA would legally have no choice but to implement the 1949 dairy law quickly if Congress does not act on the farm bill, and that he fears retaliation from Brazil if Congress does pass a new bill to resolve issues in the World Trade Organization case, according to a transcript of an interview with AgriTalk. Read More...

Obamas, Biden visit immigration reform fasters

In a sign of the importance of the immigration reform issue, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Friday visited the immigration reform advocates who are fasting on the National Mall, and Vice President Joe Biden visited them earlier, Obama Foodorama reported. Read More...