News Archive: Months of Agri-Pulse Reporting Available
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Washington, Dec. 3. In a free enterprise system, those who work hard, make wise buying and selling decisions, and invest in their future are usually the ones who grow and stay in business. But at what point does a business grow too big and make it almost impossible for others to compete?
Washington, Dec. 4 - The House voted Thursday to extend the current estate tax indefinitely, which would otherwise have expired at the end of the year. It makes this year's rates permanent - 45 percent tax rate for estates over $3.5 million for individuals and $7 million for couples.
Washington, Dec. 2. A new look at USDA's preliminary analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) indicates that there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how a “cap and trade” system would impact the cost to produce food, feed, fuel and fiber.
Washington, Dec. 2 - Fighting the massive threat posed by global climate change will require equally massive investment to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, Resources for the Future's Dr. Ray Kopp told a Senate Energy Committee hearing Wednesday, “we must gain the greatest reductions from the least expensive sources.”
Washington, Dec. 2 - In a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the Obama administration seeks “strong regulation and transparency for all OTC derivative transactions, regardless of the reference asset, and regardless of whether the derivative is customized or standardized.”
Washington, Dec. 1 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division will hold a series of joint public workshops starting in March 2010 to explore competition issues affecting the agricultural sector and the appropriate role for antitrust and regulatory enforcement.
Washington, Dec. 1 - EPA's anxiously awaited decision on raising the limit on ethanol blended with gasoline from 10% to 15% expected Dec. 1st now won't arrive until next June. EPA explained the delay in a letter welcomed by USDA and Growth Energy while the Renewable Fuels Association warned that the delay will choke off biofuels investment.
St. Louis, Nov. 30 - Demonstrating its commitment to developing new industrial and consumer products that contain U.S. soy, the United Soybean Board has released its list of 26 soy-based products that the soybean checkoff helped bring to market in 2009.
Washington, Nov. 29 - President Obama announces his Afghanistan plans Tuesday evening. Meanwhile Republicans like Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) say that Obama should beef up the war effort not only by sending at least the 40,000 requested but also by postponing other legislative business.
Washington, Nov. 27 - Immediately following President Obama's announcement of domestic targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions Nov. 25, China did the same Nov. 26. This swift succession may indicate that last week's U.S./China talks reached an agreement on joint action.
Washington, Nov. 25 - President Obama's decisions to travel to Copenhagen to take part in the Dec. 7-18 international climate change negotiations and to set targets for U.S. emissions reductions have brought widespread praise from congressional Democrats and from environmental groups - and criticism from climate change skeptics.
Washington, Nov. 25 - President Obama will attend the international climate change negotiations which start Dec. 7th in Copenhagen. As well, Obama will take with him a commitment to pursue “a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17% below 2005 levels in 2020.”
Washington, Nov. 23 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that 41 watersheds in 12 states have been selected to participate in a new $320 million initiative to improve water quality and the overall health of the Mississippi River Basin.
Washington, Nov. 23 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is urging farmers and business owners to apply for grants to add value to the commodities they produce. USDA will award planning grants of up to $100,000 and working capital grants of up to $300,000 to successful applicants.
Washington, Nov. 20 - IIn a major step toward potentially higher grain yields, greater drought and disease resistance, and more efficient nitrogen use, a research consortium has completed high-quality sequencing of the corn (maize) genome.
Washington, Nov. 19 - Catching up with the House, this week Tom Harkin's Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee passed its own comprehensive Food Safety legislation - but the hard part may just be beginning.
Washington, Nov. 19 - USDA confirms that awards will be announced in December for the $4 billion first round of stimulus-bill funding for improving rural broadband service - and that you have until Nov. 30 to send in your comments on how to improve the program.
Washington, Nov. 18 - One Health Summit in Washington DC this week stressed the importance of controlling human diseases at their source - which increasingly has become animals. It's an urgent population- and climate-driven threat calling for an interdisciplinary response.
Washington, Nov. 5 - With all seven Republican members continuing their three-day boycott of markup of the Kerry-Boxer climate change bill, on Thursday Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) used a procedural loophole to win a Democrats-only 11-1 vote.
Washington, Oct. 29 - American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman warns that if the Senate's Kerry-Boxer climate bill is passed, “Increased input costs will put our farmers and ranchers at a competitive disadvantage with producers in other countries that do not have similar greenhouse gas restrictions.”
Washington, Nov. 3 - Senate Ag Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln outlined her priorities for child nutrition legislation: (1) ensuring that all children eligible for federal nutrition programs are actually receiving benefits; (2) improving the nutritional quality of meals; and (3) modernizing and improving the integrity of the programs.
Washington, Oct. 30 - After three years of revocation procedures, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
announced implementation of the agency's May 2009 final rule revoking tolerances, or residue limits, for the pesticide carbofuran. EPA stated that it “continues to find that dietary exposures to carbofuran from all sources combined are not safe.”
This week's guest on Open Mic is Sterling Liddell, Senior Vice President for Rabo AgriFinance and Rabobank International in its Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group. Discussion on a new farm bill has begun across the country and in Washington with calls to get an early start on new policy. Some analysts believe the nation is on the verge of another farm crisis. In this interview, Sterling Liddell offers evidence of financial stress he sees growing on crop farms and highlights factors indicating a significant paradigm shift he believes farmers will have to traverse to survive the economic downturn. Liddell believes the Conservation Reserve Program needs to be revised to help manage crop acres and reduce land costs on marginal acres.