House Republican leaders continue to resist pressure from farmers and ranchers to pass a major farm bill. Bob Fuss reports:
“With farmers and ranchers struggling with the worst drought in decades, the House Speaker says they will find some way to extend farm benefits but still won’t bring a major farm bill up for a vote. The current farm bill expires in September and the current Senate passed it as bipartisan measure, extending farm programs while also reforming them to save money. The House Committee also passed the bipartisan bill but Republican leaders don’t like it so won’t bring it to the floor.”
NC Hog Producer Fined Under Clean Water Act for Illegal Discharge of Waste
A North Carolina hog farm will pay one-point-five million dollars in fines and restitution for discharging hog waste into a stream that leads to the Waccamaw River in the southeastern part of the state. Freedman Farms, based in Youngsville, pleaded guilty in court and will pay the money directly to the courts, and one million of that will be distributed to the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust for damage caused to the watershed. The Clean Water Act prohibits companies from knowingly or negligently releasing a pollutant into a water source. Thomas Walker, a U.S. Attorney with the Department of Justice says his department doesn't believe Freedman Farms represents the industry.
"This certainly was not an indictment against the hog farming industry. This was an intentional act of wrong doing that harmed the environment."
Freedman Farms reportedly has about 48-hundred hogs it raises to sell at market. The company's president, William Freedman, was also sentenced to six months in prison to be followed by six months of home confinement.
Director of the trust Camilla Herlevich says the money comes at a time when state funding for the Land Trust is dwindling because of budget cuts. The money will go towards land acquisition and conservation along streams in the Waccamaw watershed.
USDA Apologizes for Unauthorized Meatless Monday Post
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is a tad upset with a statement on USDA’s website calling for Meatless Mondays as a way to help the environment. Mike Deering – NCBA Spokesman – says the comments were quote extremely disparaging…
“It was amazing to see that in their newsletter, especially since they have messages on ‘Meatless Monday’s’ against it, they have messaging on the nutrition and safety of beef. They also have messaging on the environmental sustainability of beef.”
USDA later made a public announcement apologizing and saying the statement was posted without proper clearance. Ag Secretary Vilsack called NCBA President J.D. Alexander to express his apologies and try to right the wrong.
Another State Enters Savannah River Channel Fray
The Georgia Ports Authority wants to enter a federal lawsuit challenging the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel. The authority also wants to block the Savannah River Maritime Commission, a South Carolina state agency, from being involved in the case. The suit filed by environmental groups says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs a South Carolina pollution permit before the project can start. The suit alleges toxic cadmium from river silt will be dumped on the South Carolina side of the river.
Outer Banks Eatery to be Featured on Popular Food Network Show
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ Guy Fieri visited North Carolina’s Currituck Outer Banks on Saturday to film an episode of the popular Food Network show.
The Weeping Radish Farm Brewery and Restaurant in Grandy, NC will be featured on “Triple D.”
Weeping Radish Owner Uli Bennewitz prepared brats, a traditional German specialty made with naturally raised pork, Reuben sandwiches, liverwurst, and potato soup. Production required three days of filming at the restaurant. The show is expected to air this fall.