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Obama visits farmers in Senegal

President Barack Obama visited with farmers in Dakar, Senegal, today and announced new commitments for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future agricultural development program. Read More...

Obama talks of using nutrition as development tool in Africa

President Barack Obama declared today in Dakar, Senegal, that his Feed the Future agricultural development program and the G-8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition that he launched have had major successes, but there were questions about whether Obama has had an impact on the continent where his father was born. Read More...

USAID releases Feed the Future progress report, scorecard

In a move that could have an influence on the debate over food aid in the farm bill, President Barack Obama announced today in Senegal the release of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s progress report and scorecard on Feed the Future, the administration’s signature agricultural development program. Read More...

Lofgren: To affect Washington, call, email, don’t tweet

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said today that Americans who want to have an impact on legislation should “flood” the offices of members of Congress with phone calls and emails rather than relying on social media. Read More...

Chambliss explains his vote against immigration bill

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said Thursday that he voted against the immigration bill because he had been unable to offer amendments that would have made changes to the farm worker section of the bill. Read More...

Georgia farmer tells impact of immigration laws on his farm

Conservative House members should vote for comprehensive immigration reform, a Georgia blueberry and vegetable farmer told The Hagstrom Report this week after meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House. Read More...

Diaz-Balart, Lofgren praise Senate farm worker measure

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., today both praised the farm worker section of the Senate-passed immigration bill, but declined to say whether it would be included as written in an immigration bill they and other House members are trying to write. Read More...

As House heads home, Heritage calls for splitting farm bill, NFU says don’t

Amidst reports that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., favors splitting the farm bill into two parts, the Heritage Foundation today issued a new report calling for the food stamp and farm programs to be separate bills, and listing six “reforms” that the conservative group says must be made in the farm program. Read More...

Obama nominations: Harden as Agriculture deputy secretary, Robert Bonnie as undersecretary

The White House announced today that President Barack Obama intends to nominate Krysta Harden, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s chief of staff, as Agriculture deputy secretary. Harden would succeed Kathleen Merrigan, who resigned in May. Read More...

Cowan departure creates Senate Ag vacancy

The departure of Sen. Mo Cowan, D-Mass., from the Senate this week will create a Democratic vacancy on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Read More...

Boehner: No decisions on farm bill as Republicans disagree

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters today that no decisions have been made on how to proceed on the farm bill that failed to pass the House last week.
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House approves Ag approps rule

The House on Wednesday approved a rule for debate on the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill. Read More...

CFTC files action against MF Global, Corzine and O’Brien

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today filed an enforcement action against MF Global Inc., the futures commission merchant that unlawfully used customers funds including those of farmers before it went bankrupt in 2011, and also against its CEO, former New Jersey Democratic U.S. Sen. and Gov. Jon Corzine, and against the company’s former assistant treasurer, Edith O'Brien. Read More...

Environmental Defense Fund hires Carr

The Environmental Defense Fund has hired Don Carr as senior communications manager for land, water and wildlife. Read More...

Smithfield Foods CEO to testify before Senate Ag

Smithfield Foods CEO Larry Pope will testify before the Senate Agriculture Committee on July 10 at a hearing on the pending sale of his company, the world’s largest pork producer and processor, to Shuanghui International, a Chinese food company, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced today. Read More...

Senate passes immigration reform, 68-32

The Senate today passed an immigration reform bill that includes special provisions to allow current undocumented agricultural workers to gain citizenship after working for another five years in agriculture, and which would create a new guest worker program. Read More...

Obama administration to release final rule on school snack foods

The Agriculture Department’s Food and Nutrition Service today will release the final rule on what foods can be sold in schools under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. Read More...

RMA launches new Area Risk Protection Insurance plan

Farmers who prefer to take out crop insurance based on the yield and revenue in their area rather than on the individual farm will have the option of a new simplified policy beginning with winter wheat this fall, Agriculture Department Risk Management Agency Administrator Brandon Willis said today. Read More...

Vilsack says USDA will act on climate change with its powers, releases state-by-state data

Following the guidelines of President Barack Obama’s speech on climate change Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that the USDA will “aggressively proceed” to reduce carbon emissions by using the authorities it already has. Read More...

Conservatives comment on farm bill future, immigration reform and gay marriage

Four House conservatives who voted against the farm bill said today that if the House Republican leadership wants the farm bill to pass it should negotiate more with them than with the Democrats, that they will also take a tough line on immigration reform, and that they disliked today’s Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. Read More...

House Rules issues open rule on ag approps, no debate scheduled

The House Rules Committee late Tuesday issued an open rule on the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill, H.R. 2410, meaning that an unlimited number of amendments can be proposed on the bill. Read More...

Sebelius: Obamacare good for rural America; USDA extension will help promote participation

BETHESDA, Md. — Farmers have a lot to gain under the Affordable Care Act that goes into effect on October 1 and the Agriculture Department’s extension service has agreed to help the Health and Human Services Department promote participation in the new health care program, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the National Rural Assembly here on Tuesday. Read More...

Farr: Farmers ‘shocked’ at Republican farm bill failure, but focused on immigration reform

House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Sam Farr, D-Calif., said Tuesday that the farmers in his district were shocked that the Republican-led House did not pass the farm bill but are more focused on the immigration reform bill. Read More...

Aderholt: Ag approps bill ‘on standby’; White House issues veto threat

House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., said today that he has not been told by House leadership when the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill will come up, but it could still be this week. Read More...

Vilsack: Farm and rural groups need to express outrage, forge political alliances

BETHESDA, Md. — Farm and rural groups need to move from disappointment to outrage about the House’s failure to pass a farm bill, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said here today in a speech to the National Rural Assembly, a gathering of diverse rural community activists from around the country.
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Vilsack: Extension wouldn’t solve Brazil case, Reid right to oppose it

BETHESDA, Md. — Citing first of all the need to resolve the Brazil cotton case, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was right when he said Monday that Congress should not extend the 2008 farm bill again, but Vilsack also added that farm and rural groups need to put more pressure on House members to get a new farm bill passed. Read More...

House Rules to meet on 2014 Ag apropos

The House Rules Committee will meet today to consider a rule on the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill, a committee aide told The Hagstrom Report early today. Read More...

Theodore Roosevelt Partnership hires Jackson

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has hired Tony Jackson, former director of external affairs for the Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency, as director of communications. Read More...

Reid: No farm bill extension, House should pass bill

Speaking in unusually frank terms, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said late Monday that the Senate would not pass an extension of the 2008 farm bill as it did last year, that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack agreed with him, and that the House should take up the Senate bill. Read More...

Senate Finance hires Alben

The Senate Finance Committee has hired Elissa Alben as international trade counsel for issues including the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and the World Trade Organization, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., announced Monday. Read More...

Court orders FDA to complete food safety regulations

A federal court has denied Food and Drug Administration’s timeline for completing new food safety regulations and ordered the agency to finalize them by June 30, 2015, responding to a suit by the Center for Food Safety. Read More...

Supreme Court rejects challenge to E15

The Supreme Court today rejected challenges to Environmental Protection Agency decisions allowing an increase in ethanol content in gasoline, a decision that was hailed by renewable fuels industry leaders. Read More...

Peterson talks path forward on farm bill and his 2014 race

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said in an interview with KFGO Radio in Fargo, N.D., Friday that bringing the House Agriculture Committee-passed farm bill, apparently without amendment, to the House floor for a vote may be the best way to get to conference with the Senate. Read More...

French ice cream seller promotes local ice cream in U.S.

PARIS — Fabrice Risi, who sells ice cream on the Alexander III bridge in Paris, makes it a point to tell American tourists that they should buy “artisanal” ice cream when they get back home. Read More...

Lobbyist: Ag message not getting through

The defeat of the farm bill shows that agriculture needs to improve its message to the American public and Congress, according to a prominent agricultural lobbyist, Jerry Hagstrom writes in his National Journal Daily column today. Read More...

Wisconsin group played role in Southerland food stamp amendment

A little known Wisconsin-based organization called the Secretary’s Innovation Group, which describes itself as a network for “activist human service secretaries,” played a part in the campaign for the food stamp amendment to the farm bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., Politico reported on Sunday. Read More...

EU farmers await agreement on Common Agricultural Policy

PARIS — While American farmers watch Congress struggle to write a new farm bill, French and other European farmers are hoping that the European Union institutions will reach agreement this week on a revision of the EU Common Agricultural Policy. Read More...

Vilsack angry about farm bill failure

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he is angry about the failure of the House farm bill and also that the impact on the countryside got so little attention, DTN reported Friday. Read More...

CAST publishes paper on precautionary principle

The Council on Agricultural Science and Technology has published a paper on the precautionary principle, the idea popular in Europe that policymakers should use extreme caution in adopting new technologies. Read More...

Senators say bring up their farm bill, but Peterson says no

While most House members and farm lobbyists were lying low, licking their wounds and trying to figure out a path forward on the farm bill that failed to pass the House on Thursday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and some other senators suggested that the House bring up the Senate bill.
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Senate coalition asks for scrutiny of Smithfield sale to the Chinese

A bipartisan coalition of 15 senators led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., asked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday to include the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration in the review of the proposed purchase of Smithfield foods so that the oversight process includes experts on the American food supply and food safety.
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World Food Prize laureates win praise, disdain

The World Food Prize announcement Wednesday that the 2013 World Food Prize will go to three pioneers in the field of biotechnology has garnered praise from Secretary of State John Kerry and the Biotechnology Industry Association but condemnation from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Read More...

Froman sworn in as USTR

Michael Froman was sworn in as United States Trade Representative this morning by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Read More...

Party leaders blame each other for farm bill defeat

Republican and Democratic leaders blame each other over defeat of farm bill, Billy House writes in this National Journal Daily political analysis.
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Path to bringing back House farm bill may be difficult

Farm and nutrition leaders may still see an extension as preferable to a new farm bill, Jerry Hagstrom writes in an article just published in National Journal Daily.
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First lady to host second ‘Kids’ State Dinner’

First Lady Michelle Obama will host a second “Kids State Dinner” this summer for winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe contest to promote healthy eating as part of the “Let’s Move” initiative. Read More...

House rejects farm bill, 195-234

The House has rejected H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, with a vote of 195-234. Read More...

House rejects sugar amendment; approves payment limits

The House has rejected the sugar program amendment but approved the amendment to reduce farm program payment limits. Read More...

House approves dairy amendment; six amendments remain

The House has approved the dairy program amendment sponsored by Rep. Goodlatte, R-Va., and others with a 291-135 vote, with one member voting present.
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House starts dairy amendment debate, rejects crop insurance measure

The House has finished voting on this morning’s group of amendments, and has begun debate on the dairy program amendment by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
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Lucas, Peterson, Duncan urge rejection of Kind crop insurance amendment

As a series of votes continue on the House floor, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and, separately, Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., have sent letters to their colleagues urging a no vote on an amendment on crop insurance to be considered later this morning.
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House begins votes on amendments

The House has finished debate on the sugar program amendment sponsored by Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-Pa., and after being rejected by voice vote, that amendment has been postponed for a roll call vote later.
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Boehner urges members to support dairy amendment

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, has sent a letter to members this morning urging them to support the dairy amendment sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
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House farm bill final vote planned for today

The House has begun debate on the sugar amendment to the farm bill and is expected to stop that 20-minute debate shortly to vote on the amendments that were debated on Thursday, knowledgeable Hill aides have told The Hagstrom Report. Read More...

House to consider farm bill amendments, possibly final passage today

The House of Representatives will meet at 9 a.m. today for debate and votes on five farm bill amendments and for votes on a series of amendments that were debated Wednesday, according to a notice posted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Read More...

House adjourns; farm bill debate to resume at 9 a.m.

The House ended farm bill debate shortly before midnight and will go back into session at 9 a.m. Read More...

House debate continues after voting on key amendments

The House debate on the farm bill has continued late into the evening after a series of votes in which House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., appear to have held the middle ground on major issues. Read More...

House Judiciary passes guest worker program

The House Judiciary Committee today passed the Agricultural Guest Worker Act, which is expected to be a part of immigration reform in the House. The vote was 20 to 16.
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Senate approves Froman as U.S. Trade Representative

The Senate today confirmed Michael Froman, a senior White House economic adviser, as the U.S. trade representative. Read More...

House rejects amendment to change food aid program

The House has rejected the amendment to change the food aid program that buys commodities and ships them overseas to the Obama administration’s proposal to buy much of the food in countries close to where it is needed, and to give the U.S. Agency for International Development increased flexibility in managing food aid and agricultural development programs. Read More...

House rejects amendment to restore $20.5 billion for SNAP

The House has rejected the amendment sponsored by Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass, to restore cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.
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House approves rules, begins debate on amendments

The House has approved the rules of debate on the amendments to the House farm bill, and has begun debating those amendments.
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House begins farm bill rule debate, amendments listed

The House of Representatives has begun debate on the rule governing amendments on the farm bill, and debates and votes on the amendments are expected this afternoon. Read More...

House Judiciary reschedules immigration markup, Valadao and Farr opposed

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a markup of H.R. 1773, the “Agricultural Guestworker Act,” at 1 p.m. today in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.
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Senate Ag Approps approves bill; full committee markup Thursday

The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill Tuesday, and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., the subcommittee chairman, said that the full Senate Appropriations Committee would mark up the bill on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Read More...

House Appropriations bill debate reveals Republican, Democrat differences'

The House Appropriations Committee’s approval of the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill last week included key amendments on white potatoes and horse slaughter, but also revealed deep philosophical and financial differences between its Republican and Democratic members. Read More...

Glickman: House farm bill still a hopeful sign for Congress

As the farm bill headed to the House floor, former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, also a former House member from Kansas, said last week that he still considers the ability of the House Agriculture Committee to come up with a bipartisan bill to be one of the most hopeful signs in the current Congress — and that he considers the connection between farm programs and nutrition programs a “star” in the legislative firmament. Read More...

AMA calls obesity a disease, opposes marketing/sale of energy drinks to kids

The American Medical Association, the nation's largest organization of physicians, announced Wednesday that it had adopted policy to recognize obesity as a disease requiring a range of medical interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention. Read More...

Radio show: How farm bill could be healthier

Jerry Hagstrom was a guest on KALW 91.7 FM, a San Francisco public radio station, on Tuesday to discuss the farm bill’s implications for the nation’s diet and food supply.
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Rules Committee issues farm bill rule for 108 amendments

The House Rules Committee early today issued a rule on the farm bill making 103 amendments in order, but allowing only 10 minutes of debate on most of them. Read More...

Floor debate begins without clear majority for final passage

The House began debate of the farm bill on Wednesday with no certainty that the bill will be finished this week as planned or that there will be a majority for final passage, Jerry Hagstrom writes in the National Journal Daily today. Read More...

House Rules begins farm bill amendment debate

The House Rules Committee has begun what promises to be a lengthy consideration of the 229 amendments that have been filed on the farm bill. Forty-two members have asked to present amendments to the committee, according to a news release from the committee. Read More...

House begins farm bill debate; amendments Wednesday

The House has begun the general farm bill debate. The debate will stop at 5:45 p.m. for a final series of votes, a knowledgeable House source told The Hagstrom Report. Read More...

NFU favors retention of target price program, opposes Gibbs amendment

The National Farmers Union today praised the Price Loss Coverage program in the House farm bill and said it is opposed to an amendment sponsored by Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, that would reduce the target or reference prices in that program. Read More...

House to take up farm bill today

The House of Representatives is scheduled to begin consideration of the farm bill today, according to a schedule released late Monday by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., but it is unclear what time the debate will begin. Read More...

Lucas, Peterson expect to finish farm bill Thursday

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said Monday they expect the House to pass the farm bill by Thursday at 3 p.m., the time that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has scheduled for the last votes of the week, Jerry Hagstrom writes in an article published in National Journal Daily today. Read More...

USDA buys sugar to manage sugar program

In the development that could have implications for the House farm bill debate, the Agriculture Department announced Monday its intention to purchase sugar from domestic sugar cane or beet producers to avoid producer forfeitures. Read More...

White House signals food aid proposal may be issue in farm bill

The White House on Monday signaled that the Obama administration’s proposal to change the U.S. food aid program, often known as P.L.480, may become an issue in final negotiations with Congress over whether President Barack Obama would sign a farm bill. Read More...

The latest House farm bill graphic

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., on Monday issued a graphic on changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or food stamps, as part of a campaign to convince House members to vote for the farm bill. Read More...

White House threatens veto over SNAP cuts as House Rules considers farm bill

The Office of Management and Budget said late today that President Barack Obama’s advisers would recommend that he veto the House farm bill if it were to become law, but that possibility is remote since a House-passed bill would have to be conference with the Senate-passed bill. Read More...

All 226 House farm bill amendments posted on Rules website

House members have filed 226 amendments on the farm bill, and descriptions of all have been posted on the Rules Committee website. Read More...

Rules to issue farm bill amendments rule Tuesday, general debate rule today

The House Rules Committee has announced that it will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday to issue a rule on how amendments to the farm bill will be handled on the House floor. Read More...

Farm bill amendments posted on Rules website

The House Rules Committee has posted 43 amendments on its website as of 1 p.m. Read More...

Farm bill debate continues over commodities and olives

Farm groups and think tanks are continuing to make their cases on the farm bill. Read More...

House session to end Thursday at 3 p.m., no votes Friday

If the House is to start and finish the farm bill this week, the debate and votes will have to move quickly and smoothly. Read More...

Cantor says farm bill will come to House floor

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said this afternoon that he expects the House to vote on a five-year farm bill next week, The Hill reported. Read More...

USDA says Oregon GMO wheat incident isolated

The Agriculture Department said today that its investigation into the discovery of genetically modified wheat growing in Oregon continues to show that it was an isolated event and poses no health or food safety concern.
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Lucas: Farm bill could take just two days in House

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., told the Oklahoma Farm Report Thursday he expects the farm bill to be debated on the floor of the House next Wednesday or Thursday, and that the bill should take only two days of consideration, Jerry Hagstrom writes in an article in National Journal Daily today. Read More...

Growers push amendment while conservatives, SNAP advocates protest farm bill

With amendments to the farm bill due at the House Rules Committee by 2 p.m. Monday and the bill expected on the House floor midweek, groups have started lobbying on amendments and making their final arguments on the bill.With amendments to the farm bill due at the House Rules Committee by 2 p.m. Monday and the bill expected on the House floor midweek, groups have started lobbying on amendments and making their final arguments on the bill. Read More...

Competing farm bill graphics

  • The House Agriculture Committee and the American Enterprise Institute have posted graphics with two different perspectives about the H.R. 1947, the House farm bill.
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Senate Ag Approps sets markup

The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill on Tuesday. Read More...

White potatoes, horsemeat inspection subject of House Ag approps amendments

White potatoes could be purchased by mothers in the government’s nutrition program for women, infants and children and the Agriculture Department could not inspect horse meat intended for human consumption under amendments adopted today by the House Appropriations Committee in the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill that it subsequently adopted. Read More...

Mulhern to succeed Kozak at NMPF

The National Milk Producers Federation announced Wednesday that Chief Operating Officer Jim Mulhern will take over as president and CEO on January 1. Read More...

House Ag amendments due Monday at 2 p.m.

The House Rules Committee has told members of the House that amendments on the farm bill must be filed by Monday at 2 p.m. Read More...

Boehner to support farm bill

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said today he will support the farm bill, Politico reported. Read More...

Lucas, Peterson expect farm bill on House floor

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., told the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives today that he expects the farm bill to come up on the House floor next week, and then headed to a Republican Conference meeting to explain the importance of the bill to all Republican members of the House. Read More...

Japanese farm leader expresses concerns about TPP

The Japanese government’s decision to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership could result in negative consequences for Japanese and American producers and consumers, the leader of JA-Zenchu, Japan’s Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, told a gathering of U.S. officials and agricultural lobbyists Tuesday evening at a reception. Read More...

Obama holds immigration event without mentioning farm workers

President Barack Obama held an immigration event today that called on the Senate to pass the immigration reform bill, but he did not mention farm workers. Read More...

Co-op leaders lobby for immigration reform, farm bill

Farm co-op leaders from around the country are fanning out across Capitol Hill today to tell legislators that the future of the farm economy and thousands of high-paying jobs for Americans depend on immigration reform that provides a legal agricultural workforce. Read More...

Vilsack comments on immigration reform, Senate farm bill, GMOs, COOL

In a wide-ranging speech to the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged passage of the Senate immigration reform bill, praised the Senate for passing the farm bill on Monday, and responded to questions about country-of-origin labeling and genetic modification. Read More...

Farm group coalition urges House members to pass farm bill

A total of 194 farm groups sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives today urging them to pass the farm bill. Read More...

Vilsack comments on Smithfield sale

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that USDA’s role in the possible sale of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, would be in food safety. Read More...

Baucus sets vote on Froman USTR nomination for Tuesday

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., has scheduled a vote for Tuesday on Michael Froman’s nomination to be U.S. trade representative. Read More...

Reid hard line may be leadership model for farm bill

The decision of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to file for cloture on the farm bill may be a model of the hard-line leadership that is needed to get a farm bill through Congress this year, Jerry Hagstrom writes in his column published in National Journal Daily today. Read More...

Stabenow: How much taxpayer investment in Smithfield could be sold to Chinese?

In an interview broadcast on C-SPAN on Sunday, Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., noted that she has “a whole range of questions” about the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods, the U.S.-based largest pork producer in the world, to a Chinese company, Shuanghui International. Read More...

Senators urge Nickelodeon to ban ads for unhealthy foods

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., wrote Nickelodeon officials today that the television channel should ban advertisements for “unhealthy foods targeting children.” Read More...

Redskins’ Reed Doughty, Beekman Boys celebrate opening of USDA Farmers Market

Rain Friday forced the Agriculture Department to bring the opening of the USDA Summer Farmers Market into the patio of the Jamie Whitten headquarters building, but as Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Anne Alonzo said, “A little rain does not dampen the enthusiasm of today’s celebration.” Read More...

Senate to interrupt immigration debate to vote on farm bill

The Senate will vote on final passage of the farm bill (S. 954) today about 5:30 p.m. Read More...

Shah to food aid advocates: Lobby for Obama proposals

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah told a gathering of food aid and development advocates this morning that they should lobby Congress this week for changes the Obama administration has proposed to the U.S. food aid programs. Read More...

Stabenow: Farm bill still needed, and other comments

The American people still need the farm bill to provide a safety net to the farmers who provide the nation's food and to provide nutrition for low income people, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said today in advance of Monday’s expected vote on final passage of the bill.
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Washington state wheat farmers seek Monsanto class-action

Several wheat farms in Washington state are seeking a class-action lawsuit against the Monsanto Co., accusing the biotech developer of negligence for the unauthorized release of transgenic wheat in Oregon, the Capital Press, a West Coast agricultural weekly with editions in Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho, reported Thursday. Read More...

Healthy eating movement arrives at national parks

The Obama administration’s campaign for healthy eating arrived in the national parks on Wednesday, as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, and Sam Kass, the White House assistant chef and executive director of the “Let’s Move” initiative, presided over a ceremony to sign the park service’s new Healthy Food Standards and Sustainable Food Guidelines. Read More...

Baucus pleased Obama administration will pursue TPA

At his Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday, Michael Froman, President Barack Obama’s nominee to become the U.S. trade representative, pledged to ask Congress to renew trade promotion authority under which the executive branch can negotiate trade agreements with the knowledge that Congress will hold only an up or down vote on the measure, rather than try to amend it. Read More...

Scuse leads trade mission to Turkey

Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse is leading a mission to promote U.S. agricultural exports to Turkey, beginning Monday. Read More...

More park visitors eating healthy, concessioner says

More and more visitors to national parks are choosing healthy eating options, and the prices of those foods are becoming more competitive with traditional foods, Gerry Gabrys, chief executive officer of Guest Services, Inc., a major National Park Service concessioner told The Hagstrom Report in an interview on Wednesday. Read More...

Canada lists U.S. commodities it may target with tariffs over labeling dispute

The Canadian government today released a list of U.S. commodities on which it may try to impose retaliatory tariffs on the grounds that the United States has not complied with the World Trade Organization ruling on U.S. country-of-origin labeling on beef, prompting reactions from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. beef groups. Read More...

C-SPAN posts Stabenow interview to be aired Sunday

C-SPAN has posted a online video of today’s interview with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in which she discusses the upcoming vote on final passage of the farm bill on Monday. Read More...

Stabenow: Senate Ag will evaluate Smithfield sale proposal

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said today that she has many concerns about the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods, the U.S.-based pork producer, to a Chinese firm, and said her committee will become involved in the government's evaluation of whether the sale should move forward. Read More...

Government proposes labels on mechanically tenderized beef

The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is proposing that meat packages containing mechanically tenderized meat be labeled and that consumers be warned to cook it adequately, USA Today and other news outlets reported today. Read More...

OECD-FAO ag production report projects slower growth

Global agricultural production is expected to grow 1.5 percent a year on average over the coming decade, compared with annual growth of 2.1 percent between 2003 and 2012, according to a new report published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Read More...

Vilsack: USDA taking steps to address climate change

The Agriculture Department is proceeding with a wide range of initiatives to fight climate change and maintain the nation’s food supply, but it will not propose legislation to address the issue, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday. Read More...

Final Senate farm bill vote Monday at 5:30 p.m.

The Senate will vote on final passage of the farm bill on Monday at 5:30 p.m., said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Read More...

Senate invokes cloture on farm bill

The Senate today invoked cloture on the farm bill, setting the bill up for a vote on final passage on Monday. The vote was 75 to 22. Read More...

Farm groups urge farm bill cloture vote in Senate

One hundred twenty farm and conservation groups have sent a letter to all senators urging them to vote for cloture on the farm bill, which is scheduled to come up for consideration at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Read More...

Vilsack: Korea finds no genetically modified wheat

The government of South Korea has said it has not found any genetically modified wheat in shipments to that country, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today as he declined to comment on a statement by Monsanto that the genetically modified wheat found growing in a field in Oregon may have been sabotage. Read More...

Froman hearing at 11 a.m. Thursday

The Senate Finance Committee has announced that the time of the hearing on the nomination of Michael Froman to be U.S. trade representative has been changed to 11 a.m. on Thursday. Read More...

House Judiciary amends farm bill dairy provision

In a move with implications in the debate over the dairy provisions of the farm bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee, the House Judiciary Committee today added an amendment to ensure regulations imposed under the bill are subject to promulgation under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Congressional Review Act. Read More...

Stabenow, Vilsack comment on Chinese company’s plan to buy Smithfield

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said today that she has food safety concerns about a Chinese company’s plans to buy U.S. meat producer Smithfield Foods, while Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he is generally concerned about food safety. Read More...

Vilsack not running for Iowa governor or senator

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack confirmed today that he does not intend to run for governor of Iowa or for the U.S. Senate. Read More...

House ag approps approves bill

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved a fiscal year 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill today. The measure passed on a voice vote, although it appeared that all Democratic members of the committee voted against it. Read More...

USDA, EPA to collaborate on food waste challenge

About 30 to 40 percent of the food produced in the United States goes to waste, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said today, as they launched an initiative to encourage everyone in the food chain from farmers to processors to retailers to consumers to “reduce, recover and recycle food waste.” Read More...

USDA: GMO wheat test will come from independent company

The Agriculture Department is working with independent testing companies to come up with a test for the presence of genetically modified wheat, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told The Hagstrom Report today. Read More...

CRS sends farm bill reports to Congress

The Congressional Research Service has prepared reports for Congress comparing the proposed House and Senate farm bills with current law and the budget issues surrounding the debate. Read More...

House Judiciary to mark up farm bill

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a markup of provisions in the farm bill under its jurisdiction on Wednesday. The markup is scheduled at 2 p.m. in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House office building. Read More...

EWG says members of Congress got farm subsidies

The Environmental Working Group said Monday that its farm subsidy database reveals that 15 members of Congress received a total of $238,00 in farm subsidies last year. Read More...

Stabenow promises not to extend Monsanto law

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., promised today that the farm bill will not include a provision that would allow the continued sale of genetically modified seed if a court has ruled that it has not been properly tested for its impact on other farmers’ crops or the environment. Read More...

House Ag approps schedules markup

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has scheduled a markup on the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill on Wednesday. Read More...

AGree leaders endorse Senate immigration bill

The four co-chairs of AGree, a foundation-led effort on long-term agricultural policy, have sent members of the Senate a letter endorsing the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Reid files cloture on farm bill as Senate debate bogs down

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., filed cloture on the farm bill this evening and scheduled a vote on the cloture motion at 10 a.m. Thursday, when the Senate comes back into session after attending the funeral for Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., in New York City. Read More...

Stabenow: Farm bill cloture vote Thursday, final vote likely on Monday

The Senate is likely to vote on final passage of the farm bill either next Monday or on Thursday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told reporters as she emerged from the Democratic Caucus lunch.
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Senate to resume work on farm bill Tuesday

The Senate will go back to work on the farm bill Tuesday morning, following a one-hour morning business session beginning at 10 a.m.
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Senate approves farm bill amendments on alfalfa, food aid

The Senate resumed debate on the farm bill late this afternoon, and approved amendments to develop a crop insurance program for alfalfa and to increase the amount that may be used purchase local food for international food aid. Read More...

NGFA hires Fisher for economics/government relations post

The National Grain and Feed Association has hired Max Fisher as its director of economics and government relations, a new staff position. Read More...

Senate farm bill debate resumes today

The Senate is scheduled to resume debate on the farm bill at 4 p.m. today, with votes scheduled at 5:30 p.m.



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Miller moves to Growth Energy as v.p. and chief economist

Growth Energy, which represents the builders and manager of ethanol plants, has hired Jim Miller, a former Agriculture Department undersecretary and Capitol Hill aide, as vice president and chief economist. Read More...

Western Growers hires Merrill as analyst in D.C. office

Western Growers has hired Maximilian Merrill as federal government affairs analyst in its Washington office. Read More...

Hearing Thursday on USTR nominee Froman

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing Thursday on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Michael Froman to be U.S. trade representative. Read More...

Williams joins National Turkey Federation as v.p.

The National Turkey Federation has named Keith Williams vice president of communications and marketing. Read More...