House Ag Committee Approves Farm Bill Legislation

The House Agriculture Committee approved the 2012 farm bill early Thursday morning in a 35-11 vote.

The strong vote — which took place just before 1 a.m. — on the $957 billion farm subsidy and nutrition measure was a major victory for Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and ranking member Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who had risked angering factions in their own parties to forge a compromise bill.

Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern called the proposed $16.5-billion cut over 10-years in SNAP funding the meanest cut of all…

“It is false to say these cuts will not affect benefits or that they merely are closing loop holes. These cuts will result in less food for hungry Americans.”

Lucas said this week he will immediately press for a full House floor vote and that he had hoped a strong bipartisan vote would convince reluctant GOP leaders to bring the farm bill to the floor.

US Oil Production Could be Staving Off Recession

The economic benefits of far-reaching new finds of domestic oil and natural gas are fast approaching $1 billion a day and may be keeping the U.S. out of another recession, according to a new study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The biggest part of the benefit is lower utility costs because natural gas is so much cheaper in the U.S. than the world average. That has saved U.S. companies and consumers an average of $566 million a day for the last year, chief of commodities research Francisco Blanch said.

Catfish Raised on U.S. Farmers Ranked at Top of World's Safest Seafoods

According to recent reports from the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund – U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish ranks among the world's safest seafoods. Jeff McCord with The Catfish Institute says farm-raised catfish has very low levels of mercury.

McCord explains many restaurants have been importing fish from other countries containing harmful chemicals…
“Unlike supermarkets, which federal law requires to identify the country of origin of all seafood they sell.”
McCord says restaurants have no legal requirement to let consumers know where their seafood is coming from. North Carolina produces more than five million pounds of catfish annually.

Emerald Ash Borer Takes Seven More Virginia Counties

State forestry officials say an invasive wood-boring beetle has spread to more than a dozen counties in Virginia, threatening millions of ash trees.

The emerald ash borer is a native of Asia first detected in the U.S. 10 years ago. The pest had previously been confirmed in three northern Virginia counties, but has now spread to 10.

Chris Asaro, a forest health specialist with the Virginia Department of Forestry says the beetle is capable of killing all 187 million native ash trees in Virginia. Ash is valued statewide at $170 million. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.