The US Senate passed their version of the 2012 farm bill last week, and NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler says there’s a couple of things that he’s particularly pleased with:
“We do see an increased funding for specialty crop grants, and also programs to fight basic plant pests.”
And as with most major legislation, there were many amendments according to Troxler:
“There were originally over 200 amendments attached to the farm bill.”
Senator Kay Hagen’s proposed amendment on stopping EPA’s further implementation of the Clean Water Act didn’t make the cut to the final 73.
And Troxler has this reminder for the non-farming segment:
“Even though its called a farm bill, about eighty percent of this bill has nothing to do with agriculture. There is a lot more to it than just a farm.”
About 70% of the farm bill goes to various nutrition programs, including SNAP benefits, and the Women, Infants & Children’s program.
The US House Ag Committee is scheduled to begin working on their farm bill in mid-July.
Most of Arizona’s Immigration Law Struck Down by the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has struck down three key provisions of Arizona's law that cracks down on immigrants, but it refused to toss out a provision requiring police to check the immigration status of someone suspected of being in this country illegally. The high court did strike down provisions that require all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers, make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job and allow police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants. Attorney Charles Roth filed a Friend of the Court brief for the National Immigrant Justice Center calling on the high court to strike down the entire Arizona law. Roth believes the high court's ruling will affect other states.
Oil Prices Continue Downward Spiral
Oil prices declined again yesterday, falling $1.52 at one point to $78.23 a barrel. Prices have been weighed down by the instability in Europe. Oil Analyst Phil Flynn:
“The good news is oil prices are coming down. The bad news is its because the global economy is grinding to a halt.”
Crude eventually closed at $79.21, down 55 cents.
Food Access, Education Key to Solving Key Societal Issues
During a panel discussion on science and technology during the Los Angeles Food Dialogues - hosted last week by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance - farmers, food influencers, researchers and government officials discussed topics ranging from sustainability to global hunger.
Panelists agreed that growing obesity in western culture is especially concerning. While some policy-makers like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have suggested outright bans on certain types of foods or marketing ploys - California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross said at some point you have to draw a line in the sand.
Ross said one of the challenges is a fundamental change in how people are educated - or not - about food and cooking for a healthy lifestyle.