The North Carolina Senate approved final changes Tuesday to a bill that scales back a host of unnecessary regulations and provides important legal protections to farmers and other agriculture-based businesses, who comprise the state’s largest industry.
Senate Bill 638, the North Carolina Farm Act of 2013, safeguards farmers and agritourism business owners who have passed federal and state-approved certification programs from frivolous lawsuits and costly litigation.
The bill, sponsored by Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee co-chairmen Sens. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) and Andrew Brock (R-Davie), also eases regulations on farmers who use water for their operations by providing that required state reports be administered biennially instead of annually.
Snowden Espionage Case Reaches Agricultural Trade
European leaders are furious over allegations the U.S. spied on EU diplomatic offices and computer networks. One former U.S. Trade official says that doesn’t help transatlantic trade talks important for U.S. agriculture. Former Clinton USDA Trade Adviser – and a trade negotiator before that – Paul Drazek – says the allegations of U.S. spying – the latest fallout from the Snowden-NSA leaks – could affect the level of trust at transatlantic talks…
“If the folks you are negotiating with know what your positions are going to be and what flexibilities you have ahead of time they have a big advantage.”
EU Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding – quoted by the Washington Post – says the EU cannot negotiate over a big transatlantic market if there is the slightest doubt its partners are carrying out spying on the offices of its negotiators.
Coalition Urges House to Get Back to the Farm Bill
A broad coalition of more than 530 agriculture, conservation, rural development, finance, forestry, energy and crop insurance companies and organizations are urging Congress to pass a comprehensive, five-year farm bill before the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill expires on September 30th. In fact – they are asking House Speaker John Boehner to bring the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 back to the House floor for a vote as soon as possible.