Recently, USDA reported that response to quarterly census by farmers was dropping, by as much as 5% over the last decade. North Carolina’s Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler says this is not a trend that he’s happy with:
“You know farmers need access to good commodity and economic data because that is what they are going to use to make decisions on what to grow. You want these numbers to be the very best numbers they can be and the best way to get good data is to talk to the farmer.”
Troxler says that the downturn in participation can be attributed to several factors:
“There are some suspected reasons why participation has dropped. There has been a lot of consolidation in our farms and sometimes its hard for our numerators to find the right person to actually talk to. Also, you always have to factor in how happy that farmer is on a particular day. It could depend on the weather. If he is happy normally he will talk.”
Troxler reminds producers that responding to these census is vital, not only to your operation, but to those of your neighbors.
As Expected, Direct Payments See Drastic Cut in Senate Farm Bill Draft
The Senate Farm Bill draft eliminates direct payments, strengthens crop insurance and cuts the deficit by 23-billion dollars. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow released a summary of the bill Friday ahead of detailed legislative language. The draft that the full Senate Ag Committee will take up Wednesday ends much-criticized direct payments, strengthens and expands access to crop insurance and consolidates key remaining Title I programs.
Lawmakers Ask Vilsack to Clear the Air on LFTB
Several members of Congress have asked Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to correct the public record and educate consumers about the safety of lean finely textured beef - LFTB. According to a letter - the 30 Representatives have been watching as the campaign of misinformation has unfolded. They note particular concern with the jobs that have been lost as a result. They also point to indications that the attacks on LFTB will cause beef prices to rise. They say that’s not just a problem for producers - but for every American who buys beef. The lawmakers are requesting that Vilsack provide them with the steps USDA plans to take to set the record straight.