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State of the Agricultural Union; Farm Debt Closing in on Debt Levels of the 1980’s

What is the state of the “agricultural union?” Agriculture Secretary Perdue gave his opinions at USDA’s Outlook Forum, Gary Crawford and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue.  USDA Chief Economist sees “troubling trends” in current farm financial situation, Gary Crawford and Rob Johansson.

Examples Of Economics In A New Farm Bill

How might economic factors such as current commodity prices and a new federal budget agreement impact the shape of a new Farm Bill? Rod Bain. Texas A & M agricultural economist Joe Outlaw, University of Missouri ag economist Patrick Westhoff, Lisa Ray for Agrinet News.

Seasonal Crop Insurance Deadlines Are Fast Approaching

If you are considering purchasing crop insurance, the spring deadlines are coming up, so make sure you talk to your crop insurance agent now. Most sale closing dates are 2/28 and 3/15 for crop insurance.  Stephanie Ho and Rob Johansson, Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation.

Federal Spending Bill Has Major Change for Cotton & Dairy Producers

Cotton farmers wanted it. The new spending bill has it. Gary Crawford, former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson.
Some dairy producers and lawmakers have been asking for changes in the dairy Margin Protection Program and the new federal spending bill has some changes. Gary Crawford and Rob Johansson.
New Federal Spending Bill Makes Changes to Cotton and Dairy Safety Net Programs.

Land Grant Universities Role in Ag Biodefense

Protecting American Agriculture in this interconnected world from biothreats ranging from invasive disease and pests to biological terror agents is one role of the nation’s land grant universities.  Rod Bain, Kansas State University President Richard Myers, Michigan State University professor Ray Hammerschmidt, North Carolina State Veterinarian Doug Meckes.

Fix Emissions Reporting Law For Farmers, Says NPPC

Feb. 7, 2018, WASHINGTON, D.C. The National Pork Producers Council today asked Congress for a legislative fix to a federal emergency response law that now requires farmers to report emissions from the natural breakdown of manure to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Testifying on behalf of NPPC, Dr. Howard Hill told members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that livestock producers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency never believed routine agricultural emissions from manure constituted the type of emergency or crisis the law was intended to address.

Last April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

CERCLA is mainly used to clean hazardous waste, and it and EPCRA include provisions that require entities to report on the release of various substances over certain thresholds.

The appeals court ruling will force “tens of thousands of livestock farmers to figure out how to estimate and report their emissions,” testified Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, and past president of NPPC. (More than 100,000 livestock farmers likely will need to file emissions reports by a May 1 deadline.)

He pointed out that while the pork industry is prepared to comply with CERCLA and EPCRA, EPA, the U.S. Coast Guard – which takes the emissions reports – and state and local emergency response authorities have said they don’t want or need the information, which could interfere with their legitimate emergency functions.

Hill also told the committee that pork producers are committed to responsibly managing their animals and the manure they produce to protect water and air quality and to maximizing manure’s benefit and value as a source of nutrients for the crops they grow. He said the pork industry, which has worked cooperatively with environmental regulators at the state and federal levels, supports federal environmental policies that: give producers performance expectations that have a high probability of resulting in meaningful environmental improvements; are practical and affordable; and provide producers a realistic amount of time to adapt measures and associated systems to their operations so they can continue to be profitable and successful.