The common thread to any farm bill story in the past week has been the sentiment that because of the unfolding Syrian situation – farmers and ranchers should expect to get a farm bill extension at best. However – President of the National Farmers Union – Roger Johnson – disagrees with the notion that we don’t have enough time for a full farm bill…
“Practically speaking, Congress has until the end of the calendar year to pass the farm bill. The extension that we are living on right now was passed on the first of the year. So three months had gone by, the bill had expired and it wasn’t until New Year’s Day that one was passed. That is because there is no impact for the farmers for having it delayed another three months.”
Johnson adds that you can bet this will be a topic of discussion when as many as 300 National Farmers Union members convene in Washington, D.C. for their fly-in next week.
Parts of the Country Unseasonably Warm
Temperatures have reached 100-degrees through some of the northern parts of the country – and USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey says the heat will get worse before it gets better – with temperatures expected to reach 100-degrees or higher as for north as Eastern Montana…
“That will be the core area of the heat during the next 5-7 days across the northern and central plains. Temperatures will be running 10-20 degrees above seasonal averages.”
The lower Great Lakes region and interior Northeast could get below 40-degrees by the end of the week.
USDA Has No Plans to Withdraw Poultry Rule
The Government Accountability Office has issued a report that criticizes the way USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has handled pilot projects that led to a proposed rule to make changes to poultry inspections. Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen says that will not prompt USDA to withdraw the rule. Hagen notes GAO did not suggest withdrawing the rule. She also points out that the rule is based on more than the pilot projects analyzed by the GAO and adds that this is about public health.
ERS Releases Report on Household Food Security
According to analysis by USDA’s Economic Research Service – an estimated 14.5-percent of American households were food insecure at least some time during 2012. This means they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. This is not a statistically significant change from 14.9-percent in 2011. The prevalence of very low food security was unchanged at 5.7-percent. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the report on Household Food Security in the U.S. in 2012 underscores the importance of programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that have helped keep food insecurity from rising – even during the economic recession. As the recovery continues and families turn to USDA nutrition programs for help to put good food on the table – Vilsack says this isn’t the time for cuts to the SNAP program that would disqualify millions of Americans and threaten a rise in food insecurity.
Study Highlights Positive Impacts of Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program improves agricultural viability, encourages on-farm conservation and helps farmers gain access to land. That’s according to a new study from American Farmland Trust and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service program protects farm and ranch land from development by providing matching funds to eligible entities to purchase agricultural conservation easements. According to the study – 84-percent of landowners who sold easements reinvested proceeds to improve their farms. Three-quarters of landowners reported the application of at least one conservation practice to reduce erosion, prevent water pollution, enhance wildlife habitat, prevent overgrazing or minimize water use.