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News Update

July 12, 2012

House Ag Committee Advances Farm Bill

Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota issued the following statements after the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012 by a vote of 35-11.

"Today marked an important step forward in the development of the next farm bill. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues and the bipartisan nature in which this legislation was written and approved. This is a balanced, reform-minded, fiscally responsible bill that underscores our commitment to production agriculture and rural America, achieves real savings, and improves program efficiency," said Chairman Lucas.

"I'm pleased today's markup is behind us and we can continue to move the process forward. The current farm bill expires on September 30 and there are only 13 legislative days before the August recess. Simply put, the House leadership needs to bring the farm bill to the floor for a vote. We should not jeopardize the health of our rural economies, which, by and large, have remained strong the last few years. Our nation's farmers and ranchers need the certainty of a new five-year farm bill and they need it before the current farm bill ends," said Peterson.

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack
on the House Agriculture Committee's Approval
of the Food Farm and Jobs Bill

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement regarding the House Agriculture Committee's approval of the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill:

"Americans deserve a farm and jobs bill that reforms the safety net for producers in times of need, promotes the bio-based economy, conserves our natural resources, strengthens rural communities, promotes job growth in rural America, and supports food assistance to low-income families.

Unfortunately, the bill produced by the House Agriculture Committee contains deep cuts in SNAP, including a provision that will deny much-needed food assistance to 3 million Americans, mostly low-income working families with children, as well as seniors. The proposed cuts will deny 280,000 children in low-income families access to school meals and reduce farm income across rural America. These cuts wouldn't just leave Americans hungry — they would stunt economic growth. The bill also makes misguided reductions to critical energy and conservation program efforts.

As the legislative process moves forward, the Administration will continue to seek policy solutions and savings across the Farm Bill that are consistent with the President's budget."

NFU Congratulates House Ag Committee
on Passage of the Farm Bill

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement after the successful passage of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) through the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture by a bipartisan 35-11 vote:

"NFU thanks the leadership of the House Agriculture Committee for its hard work in passing the FARRM Act out of committee. NFU is pleased that the committee included some protection for long-term price collapse, which is a critical part of any safety net.

"NFU is also pleased that the committee rejected amendments to alter the no-cost sugar program and remove the critical Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP) from the new dairy program. The sugar industry is important to our nation's economic health, generating $20 billion annually and creating 142,000 jobs. And although NFU is skeptical of the untested dairy insurance program included in the Act, one thing that would certainly make the program wholly ineffective is allowing dairies to increase production unchecked. Eliminating the supply management provision would be disastrous and would lead to a repeat of the low prices the industry has seen in recent years."

For more information and the full release, click here.

NCBA Redbooks Available for Purchase

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) published the 2013 version of its Integrated Resource Management (IRM) Redbooks. The books serve as a tool for U.S. cattlemen and women to record calving information and daily production activities.

For more than 25 years, according to John Paterson, NCBA executive director of producer education, these record books have provided an effective way for cattle ranchers to record their production records in order to enhance profitability of their operations.

"The 2013 Redbook provides more than 100 pages to record calving activity; herd health; pasture use; cattle inventory; body condition; cattle treatment; and more. The books also contain an annual calendar; address section; Beef Quality Assurance national guidelines; and proper injection technique information," said Paterson. "This is a tool every cattleman needs."

The IRM Redbooks can be customized with company information and/or logo on orders of 100 books or more at a reduced rate. Please contact Grace Webb at 1-800-525-3085 or for more information. Individual 2013 Redbooks will be available for purchase on Oct. 1, 2012, for $6.25 each, plus shipping, through NCBA's website at

AFBF Asks House to Turn Back Health Care Law

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is concerned about the impact that mandates and new taxes contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would have on America's farm and ranch families. The organization today asked members of the House to vote for H.R. 6079, also known as the Repeal of Obamacare Act.

"Farmers and ranchers, along with all Americans, are part of a broken health insurance marketplace with limited options and high costs," AFBF's letter to the House stated. "Of particular concern are provisions that increase expenses through mandated insurance coverage for individuals and employees and provisions that impose new taxes like the health insurance tax."

According to AFBF, additional concerns include increases in the cost of health insurance because of mandated benefits, higher Medicare payroll taxes and restrictions on Health Savings Accounts. The letter stated that if left unaddressed, the resulting increase in costs will divert resources away from business growth and expansion to the detriment of our nation's farms and ranches and the production of food, fiber and fuel.

"Farm Bureau believes that health insurance reform is essential, but it must also be workable, sustainable and be balanced against the overall cost of doing business," AFBF's letter said. "Farmers and ranchers need market-based reform that lowers costs and increases choices for private health insurance."

For more information and the full release, click here.

NMPF Statement on House Agriculture Committee
Approval of Farm Bill

"The passage of the 2012 Farm Bill by the House Agriculture Committee is a deeply satisfying accomplishment for the many farmers who support the measure, including America's dairy farmers.

"In particular, the House bill includes dairy reforms modeled after NMPF's (National Milk Producers Foundation) Foundation for the Future program. These elements represent badly needed improvements in our safety net for milk producers. We're very appreciative that members of the Agriculture Committee have preserved the carefully crafted economic and political compromises that went into the creation of the dairy program in the Farm Bill. The fundamental package of dairy policy reforms supported by NMPF remained unchanged throughout the Agriculture Committee's debate this week."

Poor Growing Conditions Affect Grain Supply and Demand

Dry weather continued to influence the crop outlook in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released today, July 12, by the USDA, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

The WASDE report showed smaller projected yields from June estimates across the board for U.S. soybean and corn crops, despite increased planting acreage from last year. It also showed a decrease in projected ending stocks and feed use. According to AFBF Economist Todd Davis, these trends will likely continue through the year.

"The reductions in the July report reflect the World Agricultural Outlook Board belief that the drought has greatly reduced the production potential for corn and soybeans," said Davis.

Corn yield was estimated at 146 bushels (bu.) per acre, reduced by 20 bu. per acre from the June projections. The 2012-2013 corn production estimate was subsequently affected, dropping to 12.97 billion bu., a 1.82 billion bu. decrease.

The projected decreases in corn production will also have consequences on feed use. Ethanol use is also projected down 100 million bu. from June and export demand in corn has been reduced 300 million bu.

Nebraska Grazing Conference Aug. 14-15 in Kearney

Two dozen presenters from five states will share their expertise on topics related to grazing animals and stewardship of grazing lands at the 12th annual Nebraska Grazing Conference at the Kearney Holiday Inn Aug. 14-15.

The goal of the conference is to help producers make better decisions in managing their grasslands, said Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension forage specialist.

With the dry weather this year, a big challenge for producers is proper drought management. Drought decreases plant growth, Anderson said, so this means less food in the pastures, which stresses the animals. Faced with an inadequate food supply, animals may start eating poisonous plants such as hemlock or Riddell's groundsel that they usually avoid, he said.

Furthermore, limited food sources for animals may lead to them overgrazing pastures and weakening grazing lands potential in subsequent years, Anderson said. "The effects of the drought can be very lasting if we don't deal with the condition while it is here," he said.


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