SC Ag Commissioner Adding Irrigation to Home Farm

South Carolina’s Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers is a participant in the irrigation boom that’s currently underway in the Carolinas. Weathers is pleased to see irrigation go onto so many South Carolina farms:

“I was told some incredible number of irrigations systems going in, something well north of 300 going in around the state. What it means is that with the nice profits that farmers have made in the past few years, they’re just investing it back into their operations.”

Senators Introduce Bill to Prevent DOL from Implementing Ag Restrictions

South Dakota Senator John Thune has introduced a bill seeking to prevent the U.S. Labor Department from imposing rules that would limit the jobs children can do on farms.

Thune says the bill is called the Preserving America’s Family Farm Act…

“Which is legislating at preventing the Department of Labor from moving forward and implementing their very controversial, and unsolicited, 85-page proposed regulation that would severely restrict young people from working on family farms.”

Thune and fellow Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas introduced the bill. He says 36 other senators have signed on as co-sponsors.

Rural Development Funds Available

USDA is seeking applications for grants to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development. USDA Rural Development plans to award up to 8.6-million dollars through the Rural Community Development Initiative program.

Applications are sought for projects that help development organizations improve their board operations, management and knowledge of financial and information technology systems; and provide homeownership education or training for entrepreneurs, among others. The deadline for submitting applications is May 9, 2012. Applications must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development state office where the applicant's headquarters are located.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Landowners vs EPA

Earlier this week the Supreme Court released a unanimous decision in the case of Sackett versus EPA siding with the landowners against the agency. In 2007 – the Environmental Protection Agency stopped the Sacketts from building a home on a half-acre lot in Idaho – claiming that there were wetlands on the property and that they must return the land to the previous state and then apply for a permit. The Sacketts tried to appeal to EPA – but were turned down to have a hearing on the matter – so they took the issue to court challenging the EPA's Administrative Compliance Order.

National Cattlemen's Beef Association Deputy Environmental Counsel Ashley Lyon McDonald says this decision by the Supreme Court is a very important ruling for landowners across the country…

“So, now landowners are able to challnage a jurisdictional finding of a wetland, or just a Water of the United States under the Clean Water Act.”
For the Sacketts – the decision by the Supreme Court means they have the right to challenge the Administrative Compliance Order. So they head back to district court to challenge it on merit.

Supermarkets Discontinue Selling Ground Beef with "Pink Slime" Filler

At least three national supermarket chains, including Safeway, Supervalu, and Food Lion, say they will stop selling beef filler known as Pink Slime. Federal Regulators say the filler, also known as "lean, finely textured beef" meets safety standards, but critics are dubious. Food Lion customer Gail Lindquist says she's wants to know more before she buys beef again:

“I don’t like it, and it would make me not want to buy beef. And I’m a beef lover. I love steak, I cook all the time, I just made homemade meatloaf and shared it with my neighbors, and I won’t buy it until I find out more information.”

Today’s Farm Fact:

Farm policy funding has fallen sharply in the last decade. It was slashed in the 2008 farm bill by $7.4 billion, and again in 2010 by $6 billion.



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