The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

Navigation

Public chooses ‘Popcorn’ for presidential pardon

President Barack Obama today pardoned a corn-eating turkey named Popcorn and its alternate, a soybean meal-preferring turkey named Caramel in a Thanksgiving ceremony that stretches back to the presidency of Harry Truman in 1947. Read More...

Catfish inspection opponents continue campaign

Members of Congress who oppose the catfish inspection program established at the Agriculture Department under the 2008 farm bill continue to present their views to farm bill conferees. Read More...

ERS: Farm income up, cash income down

Net farm income is forecast to be $131 billion in 2013, up 15.1 percent from 2012’s estimate of $113.8 billion, the highest since 1973. But net cash income is forecast at $129.7 billion, down 3.4 percent from 2012, the Agriculture Department's Economic Research Service reported Tuesday. Read More...

Congressional coalitions comment on FSMA rule

As the Food and Drug Administration closed the comment period on the Food Safety Modernization Act last Friday, a number of farm and agriculture groups submitted comments. Read More...

National Grain and Feed urges FDA clarification of exemption

The National Grain and Feed Association has urged the Food and Drug Administration to clarify and improve a proposed exemption for grain elevators and other facilities that store, handle and ship raw grains and oilseeds from the agency's new preventive control and current good manufacturing practice regulations that will apply to human food. Read More...

Grassley releases details on subsidies through partnerships, joint ventures

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, on Tuesday released data provided by the Agriculture Department on the amount of subsidies paid to general partnerships and joint ventures in each state. Read More...

DeLauro hires Horton as food aide

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., has hired Kelly Horton as a legislative assistant in charge of food issues. Read More...

Corn, soy, canola growers propose two-year extension

The National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association and the U.S. Canola Association wrote congressional farm leaders on Tuesday that if they do not reach agreement on a commodity title proposal that avoids linking payments to current-year acres, they would oppose the farm bill and support an extension of the 2008 farm bill even if it means a reduction in direct payments. Read More...

New York City coalition releases hunger report

Despite record stock market highs, one in six New York City residents still faces food insecurity and hunger, and food pantries and soup kitchens faced a 10 percent increase in demand, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger said in its annual report released today. Read More...

Diane Rehm Show discusses hunger in America

Jerry Hagstrom was among the guests discussing hunger in America today on The Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio. Read More...

Presentation turkeys divided over corn and soybean meal for feed

The two Minnesota-grown turkeys that the National Turkey Federation will present to President Barack Obama on Wednesday have differing views on feed, the White House announced today. Read More...

White House pushes for Senate version of SNAP cuts

In a pre-Thanksgiving campaign to influence the nutrition title of the farm bill, key White House officials said today that the House-passed $39 billion cut to food stamps over 10 years would deny food to needy people, but that the Obama administration would support the $4 billion cut in the Senate-passed bill. Read More...

Bread for the World issues 2014 report

Bread for the World called for ending hunger in the United States by 2030 in its 2014 annual hunger report issued Monday. Read More...

Jerry Hagstrom to be guest on Diane Rehm

Jerry Hagstrom will be among the guests today on a segment of the Diane Rehm radio show on "Hunger in America." Read More...

Hoeven: Elements for farm bill agreement in place

MINOT, N.D. — The elements for a farm bill compromise between the House and the Senate are there if the four principal negotiators want to reach agreement, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said here on Saturday. Read More...

Lucas: Consensus even tougher than he expected

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said Friday that reaching agreement on the farm bill is harder than even he thought it would be, but that he and the other principal negotiators are continuing to consult with each other and others and that an extension is unlikely. Read More...

NFU would support planted acres compromise

MINOT, N.D. — The National Farmers Union would support a compromise on the issue of making farm payments on current planted acres or farmers’ historic base, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said in an interview here where he was attending the North Dakota Farmers Union convention. Read More...

Peterson: Big Four to talk tonight, possible conference December 4

The four principal negotiators on the farm bill — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Senate Agriculture ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss. — are scheduled to hold a conference call this evening, Peterson said in a radio interview on Friday. Read More...

Gordley: Soybean growers support extension over House proposal

The American Soybean Association will support a two-year extension of the current farm bill if the House insists that a new farm bill commodity title be based on target prices tied to current year plantings, John Gordley, who represents the American Soybean Association in Washington, told the Red River Farm Network in an interview broadcast Thursday. Read More...

Peterson: Big Four to talk Monday

The chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate agriculture committees will hold a conference call on the farm bill at noon Monday, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said in an interview with KFGO, a North Dakota radio station today. Read More...

Johanns, Grassley favor two-year extension over high target prices

Sens. Mike Johanns, R-Neb. and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told AgriTalk on Thursday that they favor a two-year extension of the 2008 farm bill rather than accepting the House version of a new commodity title with high target prices. Read More...

New meat labels due Saturday

Consumers should start seeing new country-of-origin labels for muscle-cut red meat in grocery stores Saturday, the Agriculture Department said today. Read More...

Vilsack: Farm bill could help rural veterans find future

Farming is helping veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan find peace of mind and a new career path and the farm bill could help them, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and activists in a nascent veteran farmers movement. Read More...

Klobuchar says farm bill deal could be done after Thanksgiving

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told the Red River Farm Network Thursday that there would still be time for negotiators to work out a farm bill the week after Thanksgiving. Read More...

Farm bill leader talks end without agreement

The conference between the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees on a new farm bill have ended for this week without an agreement. Read More...

All turkeys Obama pardoned dead; 2013 turkeys won’t stay at Mount Vernon

All the turkeys that President Barack Obama has pardoned the day before Thanksgiving and sent to Mount Vernon to live out their days have died, and the turkey he will pardon this year and its alternate will be sent to another historic Virginia estate, Morven Park, in Leesburg, Obama Foodorama reported today. Read More...

Vilsack releases report on USDA’s need for farm bill

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released a White House report on USDA programs that calls for quick passage of a new farm bill. Read More...

Ag committee leaders break for votes

After meeting for approximately an hour today on the farm bill, the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate agriculture committees have taken a break for votes. Read More...

Farm bill Big Four: Possible deal tomorrow

The chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees emerged from a 90-minute meeting tonight at 7:30 and said they had made progress on all sections of the farm bill, would meet again tomorrow, and may announce a comprehensive framework for the bill. Read More...

CBPP: Changing WIC to allow potato purchases would set precedent against science

A campaign by the potato industry and some senators that would change the rules of the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children known as WIC would mark the first time that Congress has intervened in the 40-year-old program to include or exclude a particular food item and set a precedent. Read More...

Conaway at odds with Lucas on House farm bill prospects

Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, a House Agriculture subcommittee chairman, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., disagreed today on prospects for the House voting on the farm bill by December 13, the date the House will leave for the year. Read More...

CBPP: SNAP costs falling

The cost of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or food stamps, is leveling off and likely to fall in the next year, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities said in a report issued today. Read More...

Zacharias, Collins publish crop insurance issues analysis

Lawmakers should put 10 risk management issues at the top of their list when deciding how to finalize the farm bill, Tom Zacharias, the president of National Crop Insurance Services, an industry research group, and Keith Collins, a NCIS consultant and former Agriculture Department economist, have written in an article in Choices, the magazine of the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association. Read More...

House Democratic coalition, IDFA urge House dairy title

A group of 28 House Democrats has written farm bill conferees urging adoption of the House dairy title in farm bill conference report, and the International Dairy Foods Association has produced a flier on the issue that it is distributing on Capitol Hill. Read More...

Soy, corn, canola growers offer compromise while Grassley, Johanns comment

The American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Canola Association today proposed a compromise on the issue of making farm payments on planted versus base acres. Read More...

Pork producers, others raise issues about AGOA and GPS

Two ad hoc coalitions of agriculture groups involving the National Pork Producers Council have sent letters to Congress opposing a long-term or permanent extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and urging Congress to make changes during any renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which expired at the end of July. Read More...

Lucas, Stabenow hope for farm bill agreement this week

“This is the deadline week” for the farm bill, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., told reporters today while Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said she hopes a “framework” can be released “by the end of the week or very shortly thereafter.” Read More...

DTN, Politico analyze commodity title impacts

DTN, an Omaha-based news service, and Politico have issued analyses of how commodity title proposals might work. Read More...

Senate action on any CFTC nominations will wait

The Senate will not take up any nominations to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission until next year even though the commission may end up with only two commissioners at the end of the year, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said today. Read More...

Boehner announces Christmas tree ceremony

The Capitol Christmas tree will be lit on Tuesday, December 3 at 5 p.m. EST, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced today.
Read More...

Decline in corn prices, RFS requirements affect commodity title debate

Lower prices for corn and other commodities and the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to lower the volumetric requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard appeared to be affecting the debate over the farm bill today. Read More...

USDA Farmers Market last day of season is Friday

The USDA Farmers Market will close out the season with a Harvest Festival on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., USDA announced today.
Read More...

Wal-Mart breaks silence on food stamps

Wal-Mart, which gets more business from food stamps than any other company in the United States, broke its silence on the debate over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Tuesday by issuing a statement urging Congress to minimize the impact on “those who need the program the most.” Read More...

Lucas: Farm bill draft must be done this week

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., leader of the farm bill conference, said today that farm bill leaders need to have a draft of the bill by the end of this week if Congress is to pass it and President Barack Obama is to sign it before the end of the year. Read More...

National Journal: Republicans face difficulty in recruiting credible Senate candidates

The problems with Obamacare have improved the Republicans’ chances of doing well in the 2014 Senate races, but the Republicans face difficulties in recruiting candidates in several states in which agriculture and the rural vote are important, National Journal reported in two articles today. Read More...

Farm bill conferees face issue of reducing food stamp eligibility

As they try to finish the farm bill, conferees face the issue of whether they will throw low income people out of the program rather than just reducing benefit levels, Jerry Hagstrom writes in his column in National Journal Daily today. Read More...

EWG billionaire study draws fire

An Environmental Working Group study released November 7 that billionaires have gotten farm subsidies has drawn fire in the agricultural media and from farm groups. Read More...

Vilsack: King amendment on interstate food sales ‘problematic’

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today called the amendment sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, “problematic” because “it will invite legal challenges” and “create problems in the marketplace.” Read More...

CFTC: Court orders MF Global to pay all restitution and penalty

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced today that it had obtained a federal court consent order against MF Global Inc. requiring it to pay $1.212 billion in restitution to ensure customers recover their losses sustained when the company failed in October 2011. Read More...

ICTSD releases paper on agricultural export restrictions

The impact of agricultural export restrictions on food price volatility and the role of the World Trade Organization in disciplining the restrictions are the subject of increasing public policy discussions, Giovanni Anania, an Italian professor writes, in a paper released today by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. Read More...

USDA creates Thanksgiving food safety hotline and app

With Thanksgiving approaching, the Agriculture Department announced today that it has created a food safety mobile application and that its food safety hotline will be open on Thanksgiving Day to answer questions. Read More...

Farm bill lobbying intensifies on commodity title, payment limits, COOL

As Congress reconvenes today and the farm bill conference continues in closed-door sessions, lobbying is intensifying on some of the contentious differences between the House and the Senate-passed bills. Read More...

Stakeholder comment on Hagen continues

Most stakeholders continue to praise outgoing Agriculture Undersecretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen, who announced Friday her plans to depart USDA, Food Safety News reported today as its editor called for a 10-year term for the position. Read More...

EPA’s new RFS proposal renews battle over ethanol

The renewable fuels industry and its friends in Congress expressed deep disappointment in the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal today to lower the volumetric requirements for biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014 and 2015, while ethanol critics and their congressional allies praised the proposal, but said the decision proves the RFS program isn’t working, with some calling for Congress to reform or repeal it. Read More...

FDA extends FSMA comment period

The Food and Drug Administration announced today that it is extending the deadline for comment on the proposed rules for produce safety and preventive controls for human food under the Food Safety Modernization Act another week, citing technical difficulties with the website where comments can be submitted. Read More...

Hagen to depart FSIS next month

Agriculture Undersecretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen announced today that she will leave her position in mid December. Read More...

EPA to release RFS targets

The Environmental Protection Agency will release the Renewable Fuel Standard targets at 2 p.m. EST today, an EPA official has told The Hagstrom Report. Read More...

American Feed Industry Association hires Turlington

The American Feed Industry Association has hired W. Henry Turlington as director of quality and manufacturing regulatory affairs, a new position.
Read More...

Senators urge retention of Renewable Fuel Standard

A coalition of 32 senators led by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, today urged the Obama administration to carefully consider biodiesel targets as the Environmental Protection Agency issues the Renewable Fuel Standard targets for 2014. Read More...

Vilsack speaks out on immigration reform, catfish inspections, country-of-origin labeling

American agriculture is losing millions of dollars per year because it does not have the immigrant workers need to plant and harvest crops, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today. Read More...

Hunger-relief charities ask no SNAP cuts, increase in TEFAP

More than 1,300 state and local hunger-relief charities around the country today sent a letter to Congress urging members to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or food stamps, from cuts, and to increase The Emergency Food Assistance Program, which buys food for distribution to food banks and institutions, by at least the $300 million in the House-passed bill.
Read More...

Daniels: At Purdue it’s STEAM, not STEM

Many educators talk about the importance of increasing investments in the “STEM” fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — but at Purdue University in Indiana, “we like to think of it as STEAM,” said university President Mitch Daniels, with the “A” representing agriculture. Read More...

Farm bill talks progress, Boehner says no tie to budget;

Farm bill conference negotiations appear to be moving along, but House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, threw a wild card into the process today when he told reporters that he does not want any budget savings in the farm bill used in the attempt to reach a larger House-Senate agreement on the budget. Read More...

Froman, Vilsack to promote trade talks in California as USDA reports record ag exports

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will promote President Barack Obama’s trade agenda in California on Sunday and Monday, Froman’s office announced late Wednesday. Read More...

Loebsack writes, declines to offer motion to proceed

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, today wrote a farm bill motion to proceed to highlight several issues but then decided not to offer it on the House floor, a spokesman told The Hagstrom Report late today. Read More...

House members oppose trade promotion authority

Twenty-two conservative House members have declared their opposition to granting President Barack Obama the trade promotion authority that would grant the administration power to negotiate trade agreements with the understanding that they would get an up or down vote without amendment in Congress, the Financial Times Online reported today. Read More...

Vilsack to APLU: Help pass farm bill, educate about rural America

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asked the nation’s land grant university leaders Tuesday to help him convince Congress to pass the farm bill this year and to educate the people in their states about the importance of rural America and its needs. Read More...

NCSL endorses Senate SNAP provision, opposes King amendment

In a letter sent to farm bill conferees Tuesday, the National Conference of State Legislatures endorsed the Senate provision of the farm bill that would allow Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits only if states send them a payment of $10 or more, but oppose the elimination of categorical eligibility for SNAP beneficiaries on the grounds that it will increase state administrative costs and program complexity. Read More...

Farm Bureau economist: Tougher times may lie ahead

The good times in agriculture in recent years may be coming to an end, American Farm Bureau Federation economist Bob Young said in a speech in Montana, according to a report in the Billings Gazette. Read More...

Vilsack predicts farm bill passage, discusses Christie, Clinton in Iowa

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack predicted today that Congress will pass a farm bill and also discussed Iowa presidential politics in 2016. Read More...

Kass: First lady remains committed to ‘Let’s Move’

First Lady Michelle Obama will continue to highlight her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity and is looking into encouraging children to cook, Sam Kass, the assistant White House chef and executive director of “Let’s Move” said today. Read More...

National Milk Producers Federation chairman: House dairy provision puts taxpayers on the hook

The dairy amendment sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., that the House adopted would keep high levels of milk production and put the taxpayers on the hook for making payments to farmers, National Milk Producers Federation Chairman Randy Mooney said today in a speech at a National Milk meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. Read More...

Contreras named Harden assistant

Nita Contreras has been named a confidential assistant to Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden.
Read More...

Sequester takes toll on university research budgets

The sequester has led to reduced research activity and personnel cuts at the nation's universities, including the land grant colleges that conduct much of the agricultural research, according to survey released at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities meeting this week in Washington. Read More...

Former NRCS chiefs endorse conservation compliance for crop insurance

Seven former chiefs of the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Soil Conservation Service have endorsed requiring farmers who get subsidized federal crop insurance to meet federal conservation standards. They also opposed reducing crop insurance premium subsidies for high-income farmers Read More...

Scuse, Siddiqui travel to Beijing

Agriculture Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse and U.S. Chief Agriculture Negotiator Islam Siddiqui will travel to Beijing this week to co-chair meetings of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade Sanitary and Phytosanitary Working Group. Read More...

Vilsack, ethanol, farm groups criticize AP story on environmental impact of ethanol

An Associated Press story on the environmental impact of ethanol released today garnered an unusual amount of criticism from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and renewable fuels and farm groups. Read More...

Coalition on aging issues farm bill statement

A coalition of 34 groups organized by the National Council on Aging and Feeding America has sent farm bill conferees a letter urging no cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or food stamps, and its education program and also urging changes to commodity distribution programs. Read More...

Mobile apps could improve rural health care

Mobile applications could improve access to medical specialists in rural America but there are complications regarding insurance and payments, National Journal reported. Read More...

Vilsack: USDA will stick to ethanol distribution, advanced biofuels development

With the Environmental Protection Agency likely to announce this week a proposed reduction in the federal requirement for blending ethanol into fuel in 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that USDA will focus on its responsibility to increase availability of ethanol, particularly higher level blends. Read More...

Obama nominates new CFTC chief, while ag groups seek ag-oriented commissioner

President Barack Obama nominated a Treasury Department official as the new chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission today while a coalition of key agriculture groups asked the president to nominate someone with an agricultural background to succeed Commissioner Bart Chilton, who recently announced he will step down soon. Read More...

Immigration groups target nine Republicans

Immigration advocates, religious groups and labor unions announced Thursday that they will target nine Republican House members (pictured above), many with substantial farm worker populations, with a campaign to try to force the House Republican leadership to bring up immigration reform legislation this year. Read More...

Farm bill conferees talk food-stamp cuts

Farm-bill conferees are discussing setting the level of food-stamp reductions at about $10 billion over the next decade, a compromise between the Senate's proposed $4 billion cut and the House's $39 billion in savings, National Journal reported today. Read More...

USDA announces promotions, new hires

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has named Suzanne Palmieri, who was chief of staff to former Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, as associate administrator and coordinator for global food security in the Foreign Agricultural Service. Read More...

USDA announces record-setting corn crop

The Agriculture Department said today that the U.S. corn crop will be a record-setter — 30 percent bigger than last year’s drought-shortened harvest — that results in the largest ending stocks since 2006, but lower than market expectations, Reuters reported today. Read More...

Obama cites farm bill as No. 1 economic priority

In a speech in New Orleans today, President Barack Obama listed passing a farm bill as the No. 1 way that Democrats and Republicans can increase jobs in the economy. Read More...

Stabenow: Farm bill proposals need CBO scores

The proposals for compromise between the House and the Senate on the farm bill need scores from the Congressional Budget Office, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told The Hagstrom Report today. Read More...

White House cites USDA, FDA in shutdown report

The government shutdown stopped the Agriculture Department from proceeding with the release of world supply and demand agricultural statistics and stopped the Food and Drug Administration from inspecting food, the White House noted in a report on the impact of the shutdown released today. Read More...

FDA moves to ban trans fats

The Food and Drug Administration today declared that trans fats are not safe in any quantities, and began a 60-day comment period on a proposal to phase out their use completely in U.S. foods. Read More...

EWG releases report on billionaires

The Environmental Working Group today released a report showing that people on the Forbes 400 list of billionaires or businesses in which they invested benefited from farm subsidies between 1995 and 2012. Read More...

Durbin releases Senate calendar through Labor Day

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill, today released a Senate calendar for 2014 through the Labor Day recess. Read More...

ERS releases ‘Rural America at a Glance 2013’

The Agriculture Department's Economic Research Service today released its annual report, “Rural America at a Glance, 2013.” Read More...

Cargill to label lean finely textured beef

Cargill will begin labeling ground beef that contains lean finely textured beef, the product that has become known as pink slime, Reuters reported Tuesday. Read More...

Farm bill would reauthorize forestry stewardship contracts

To the many deadlines facing farm bill conferees, add U.S. Forest Service stewardship contracting authority, which will sunset on January 15 if no action is taken.
Read More...

Stutzman leads effort on protections for organic farmers

A bipartisan coalition of eight House members organized by Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., has written farm bill conferees urging adoption of a provision in the Senate-passed bill related to protections for organic producers in proceedings with the Agriculture Department and opposing a House provision. Read More...

Four principals meet on farm bill

The four principal negotiators on the farm bill conference — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Senate Agriculture ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss. — met today to discuss the bill, a spokeswoman for Lucas told The Hagstrom Report this afternoon. Read More...

Senators urge farm bill conferees to include payment limits

Eleven senators led by Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., have written farm bill conferees to urge them to maintain the farm program payment limitations and the definition of “actively engaged” in agriculture in the Senate and House bills. Read More...

BIO claims GMO vote victory in Washington state; advocates say too early to concede

The Biotechnology Industry Organization early today claimed victory in the initiative vote in Washington on requiring label of foods that contain ingredients derived from genetically modified commodities, even though the official results are not in. Read More...

SNAP featured in general newspapers

The future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or food stamps, continues to be a subject of coverage in general interest newspapers.
Read More...

CFTC’s Chilton to depart as rules near completion

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner Bart Chilton announced Tuesday that he will soon depart the agency.
Read More...

Renewable Fuel Standard lobbying intensifies

As the Environmental Protection Agency gets closer to finalizing the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard, lobbying on the issue is intensifying.
Read More...

Frozen Food Institute hires Jack and Davis

The American Frozen Food institute has hired Maia Jack as director of regulatory and technical affairs. Read More...

Initial GMO election results to be announced tonight

Officials in King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, plan to release initial results on the initiative that would require labeling of food products made from genetically modified organisms at 8:15 p.m. PST, The Seattle Times said today, but it is unclear how strongly those results will indicate the final outcome of the all-mail election. Read More...

Tester, Barrasso urge FCC chairman to invest more in rural telecommunications

A bipartisan coalition of 26 senators led by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sen. John Barasso, R-Wyo., have written incoming Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler asking him to change the Universal Service Fund to encourage rural telecommunications companies to upgrade phone and internet service in rural America. Read More...

Peterson heads to Washington, Lucas committed to town meetings

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., is scheduled to arrive in Washington this evening, a spokeswoman told The Hagstrom Report. Meanwhile, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., is committed to town hall meetings this week that end Thursday. Read More...

Park joins Senate Finance Committee staff

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., announced Monday that Jason Park has joined the committee's Democratic staff as international trade counsel focusing on trade adjustment assistance, customs and other trade issues. Read More...

Jarrett, Muñoz blog from White House on expiration of higher food stamp benefits

Two White House staffers close to President Barack Obama blogged on Monday that the cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that went into effect on Friday “are devastating” to many families, “and couldn’t come at a worse time as they begin to regain their footing following the worst recession since the Great Depression.” Read More...

Center praises settlement of frog lawsuit

The Center for Biological Diversity has praised a federal district court's approval of a settlement Monday requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prepare within two years “biological opinions” under the Endangered Species Act to analyze pesticide use in and near the California red-legged frog’s aquatic and upland habitats. Read More...

Texas newspaper: Lucas opposes dairy supply management

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., now opposes the provision in the proposed Dairy Security Act that the dairy farmers call market stabilization and the dairy processors, who oppose it, call supply management, a Texas newspaper reported. Read More...

Organizations, Senate group support Senate energy title

More than 100 organizations have asked farm bill conferees to adopt the energy title of the Senate-passed farm bill. Read More...

Humane Society starts ad campaign on King amendment

The Humane Society has started a $100,000 online advertising campaign against the amendment in the farm bill that would make it illegal for a state to ban the sale of a food produced in another state because the receiving state objects to the production methods, The Hill reported today. Read More...

Vilsack talks farm bill on C-SPAN

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged passage of the farm bill in an interview on C-SPAN on Friday. Read More...

Stabenow, Food & Water Watch disagree over BSE rule

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., on Friday said that the Agriculture Department’s decision to bring U.S. import regulations on mad cow disease will boost U.S. beef exports, but Food & Water Watch noted that the rule will allow the United States to import beef from Europe and could be related to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks. Read More...

National Journal: Time for compromise on the farm bill

It’s time for members of the farm bill conference committee to take charge and reach compromises on the farm bill, Jerry Hagstrom writes in his National Journal column published today. Read More...

Grassley predicts farm bill before Christmas while Harkin talks food stamps

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who is not a member of the farm bill conference committee, has predicted that Congress will pass the farm bill just before going out of session for the Christmas holidays, the Mason City, Iowa, Globe Gazette reported Saturday. Read More...

Wal-Mart downplays food stamp cut, but analysts concerned

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest grocer, downplayed the impact of food stamp cuts on its business Friday, but analysts expressed concern, the Los Angeles Times reported. Read More...

CropLife America: Pesticide regulations duplicative, calls for more agency coordination

CropLife America today called on U.S. government agencies to more closely coordinate their approvals of pesticide products, and released a report that says duplicative regulations could cost taxpayers an additional $474 million over the next 10 years. Read More...

Mexico passes soda, junk food taxes

Mexico, which has the highest obesity rate in the Americas, on Friday saw its Congress pass taxes on soda and junk food with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto ready to sign the legislation, the Dallas Morning News reported Friday. Read More...

EWG releases map of big crop insurance subsidy recipients

The Environmental Working Group today released a map showing the locations of 26 farmers who got more than $1 million in crop insurance premium subsidies in 2011. Read More...

Vietnamese urge repeal of USDA catfish inspection

The Vietnamese government has sent Secretary of State John Kerry and 17 members of Congress a letter urging them to use the farm bill to repeal the provision in the 2008 bill that would move catfish inspection from the Food and Drug Administration to the Agriculture Department.
Read More...

Obamas welcome trick-or-treaters, president proclaims National Diabetes Month

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed more than 5,000 child trick-or-treaters to the White House Thursday evening, the same day that the president proclaimed November as National Diabetes Month. Read More...

USDA names Schwarzenegger honorary forester

The U.S. Forest Service has named former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, an honorary forester. Read More...

Casey introduces bill to restore food stamp benefits

As the Recovery Act increase in food stamp benefits expired today, economists began coming to terms with the cut and potential bigger cuts in the farm bill, Sen. Bob Casey, R-Pa., introduced a bill that would restore those benefits retroactively, and a key anti-hunger group urged no further cuts. Read More...

Farm groups oppose G-33 WTO food security proposal

A coalition of more than 30 farm and agribusiness groups has sent a letter to the Obama administration urging opposition to a proposal by the Group of 33 developing countries (G-33) that would allow developing countries to buy food at prices established by price supports and exempt those purchases from their commitments to report farm subsidies to the WTO. Read More...

Peterson discusses conference details in radio interview

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said in a radio interview today that he hopes the four agriculture committee leaders will negotiate next week, that the Senate won’t accept more than $9 billion in food stamp cuts. and that the farm bill has to have conservation compliance linked to crop insurance. Read More...