NC Ag Commissioner Looking Forward to Farm Bill Debate
It’s been considered a long shot for a while now that the 2012 Farm Bill will actually get passed in 2012, but today, the Senate is scheduled to take up the measure, and NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler says it couldn’t have happened sooner:
“Been wanting to get a farm bill for quite some time now, hopefully this will be the beginning of a process where the farm bill will move. And what we know is that there will be similarities, and differences between the house and Senate versions and the question is going to be how long does it take to work the differences out.”
There’s a couple of things that Commissioner Troxler would like to see included in the bill:
“Specialty Crop Block Grant program and funding for the USDA Market Access Program.”
In addition, the commissioner would like to see
“We’re seeing more and more of these invasive species come into the Untied States from abroad, I mean it’s a simple thing, we live in a world market now, and there’s a lot more travel. So, we’re having these plant species come in and we need to fight these because it does represent a serious economic threat all across the country.”
Senate to Begin Farm Bill Debate Today
As we mentioned earlier, the Senate is expected to begin debate on the five-year farm and food aid bill that would save $9.3 billion by ending direct payments to farmers and replacing them with subsidized insurance programs for when the weather turns bad or prices go south.
The details are still to be worked out, but there's rare agreement that fixed annual subsidies of $5 billion a year for farmers are no longer feasible in this age of tight budgets and when farmers in general are enjoying record prosperity.
About 80 percent of the bill's half-trillion-dollar cost over the next five years represents nutrition programs, primarily food stamps now going to some 46 million people.
House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas is hopeful Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow will be able to get some version of the proposal through the entire Senate – which will make a way possible for the House and Senate Ag leaders to conference later this summer to finalize the ultimate farm bill. Lucas’ goal is to have something ready by the Independence Day Recess.
Wheat Harvest Getting Slow Start
Wheat harvest is getting a slow start in the Carolinas this year due to rain. NC State Extension grain specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger:
“We do have a great crop of corn so far, and certainly a good wheat crop coming out, so trying our nerves because we’ve got to keep at it because we’ve good potential here.”
Corn in areas is turning yellow due to excess moisture, and Heiniger says some bottom lands have had to be replanted due to standing water. To hear more from Dr. Heiniger, visit our website, SFNToday dot com.
Organic is Organic on Either Side of the Pond
USDA has announced that organic products certified in the United States or European Union may now be sold as organic in either market, as trade opened up last Friday under a new U.S.-EU equivalency partnership.
Previously, producers and companies wanting to trade products on both sides of the Atlantic had to obtain separate certifications to two standards, which resulted in a double set of fees, inspections, and paperwork. The United States signed a similar partnership with Canada in 2009, and additional equivalency arrangement conversations have begun with South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
NASS Prepares for Survey Time with its Annual June Surveys
During the first two weeks of June – the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will survey nearly 140-thousand U.S. producers for their annual June surveys on crops and livestock. NASS National Operations Center Director Bob Bass says the surveys are conducted because it’s important to measure the actual acreage to be planted in the spring crops