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News Update

July 31, 2012

AFBF Will Oppose Farm Bill Extension

The American Farm Bureau Federation said that a House proposal to extend the current farm bill for one year fails to move the nation any closer to securing a comprehensive, long-term farm bill and the organization would stand in opposition.

"A one-year extension offers our farm and ranch families nothing in the way of long-term policy certainty," said AFBF President Bob Stallman. "Farmers and ranchers always face decisions that carry very serious financial ramifications, such as planting a crop, buying land or building a herd, and we need clear and confident signals from our lawmakers."

Late last Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that the House "may consider a farm bill extension" this week. The legislation would provide for a one-year extension of current law governing farm programs, including commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation programs and federal nutrition programs, as well as reauthorize supplemental agricultural disaster assistance for the 2012 fiscal year, retroactively, and for the 2013 fiscal year.

For more information, a podcast and the full release, click here.

Farm Bill Extension is Political Game

National Farmer's Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives proposing legislation to extend the 2008 farm bill for one year:

"We would support an extension only if the next step is to conference a comprehensive five-year farm bill before the Sept. 30 expiration date. An extension that ignores the goal of a five-year bill merely kicks the can down the road as we are faced with uncertainty about next year's budget. A one-year extension would also necessitate starting the farm bill drafting process over in the new Congress in January. House leadership needs to stop playing political games and show it values rural America, and pass a farm bill now.

"The conservation title is one of the few titles that, since last December, most stakeholders have agreed on. It provides the needed programs for good conservation practices. However, the House one-year extension cuts the one title that had the most agreement among all parties. It also cuts mandatory funding from vital beginning farmer and rancher, renewable energy and direct-to-consumer marketing programs.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Coalition Urges Waiver of RFS Because of Drought

As drought conditions become the worst in 50 years and corn yields are expected to drop significantly, a coalition of meat and poultry organizations asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive the federal mandate for the production of corn ethanol.

In a petition delivered to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the coalition asked for a waiver "in whole or in substantial part" of the amount of renewable fuel that must be produced under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for the remainder of this year and for the portion of 2013 that is one year from the time the waiver becomes effective.

The RFS requires 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be produced in 2012 and 13.8 billion gallons in 2013, amounts that will use about 4.7 billion and 4.9 billion bushels, respectively, of the nation's corn. Some agricultural forecasters now are estimating that just 11.8 billion bushels of corn will be harvested this year — about 13 billion were harvested in 2011 — meaning corn-ethanol production will use about four of every 10 bushels.

The RFS has "directly affected the supply and cost of feed in major agricultural sectors of this country, causing the type of economic harm that justifies issuance of an RFS waiver," said the coalition in its petition.

For the full release, click here.

Postponement of the 109th Bull Performance Test in Louisiana

Due to program realignments, the 109th Bull Performance Test scheduled for the fall-winter of 2012-13 has been postponed. The Louisiana State University (LSU) AgCenter will be doing an evaluation of the Bull Testing Program and with this assessment will determine the future status of this program.

Nebraska Angus Toured Canceled

Due to extreme drought, the 2012 Nebraska Angus Southwest Tour is canceled. The event was scheduled for Sept. 15-16, 2012.

The 2013 tour will be in northeast Nebraska. No date has been set yet.

2012 W.D. Farr Scholarships Presented to Students
in Animal Science, the Environment

Two graduate students, one studying animal science and the other agricultural water management, are the recipients of the 2012 W.D. Farr Scholarships from the National Cattlemen's Foundation. The $12,000 awards recognize superior achievements in academics and leadership and will allow the students to further their study in fields that benefit the cattle and beef industry. The presentation was made at the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference.

The recipients are: Curtis Pittman, of Glenford, Ohio, and Jenna Rodriguez of Linden, Calif.

For more information and the full release, click here.

American Farmland Trust Opposes One-Year
Farm Bill Extension

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Rules and Administration has scheduled a meeting tomorrow to consider a rule for the floor consideration of a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill. American Farmland Trust President Jon Scholl spoke out in opposition the extension and urged that a five-year farm bill be passed this year.

"Our goal remains clear: pass a fair and comprehensive five-year farm bill this year. We will vigorously oppose an extension of the current act that does not appropriately set the stage for final action on a new, comprehensive, multi-year farm bill to be enacted yet this year. We also oppose the disproportionate cuts to conservation programs as a means of funding disaster assistance," said Scholl.

Scholl commended the work of Senators Stabenow and Roberts and Congressmen Lucas and Petersen, along with the members of their respective agriculture committees, for the work they have done to advance practical and achievable reforms in farm and conservation policy.

For the full release, click here.

Cattle Ranchers Honored for Outstanding
Environmental Stewardship

Cattlemen and women from across the country were recognized for their commitment to environmental stewardship during an award ceremony for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP).

Now in its 22nd year, ESAP was created to recognize beef producers who make environmental stewardship a priority on their farms and ranches while they also improve production and profitability. The Environmental Stewardship Award annually recognizes the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of U.S. cattle producers from across the nation. Regional and national award winners have been commended for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitats while operating profitable cattle operations. The common trait among all winners is the desire to leave the land in better shape for future generations while also inspiring the next generation of land stewards.

"The environment and conserving natural resources are of high importance to cattlemen and women, because these resources directly affect their bottom-line," said John Wallace, representative of Dow AgroSciences, which sponsors the program. "Also, education is one of the most important components of this program. By conducting education summits and workshops, it allows producers to tell their stories and learn new opportunities to be green."

During the Cattle Industry Summer Conference, seven regional Environmental Stewardship Awards were presented. Sparrowk Livestock, Clements, Calif.; Circle Square Ranch, Ocala, Fla.; Funk Farms Trust, Shirley, Ill.; Bold Ranch, Winifred, Mont.; Slovek Ranch, Philip, S.D.; 77 Ranch, Blooming Grove, Texas; and Glenowen Farm, Round Hill, Va. A national award winner will be recognized during the 2013 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show that will be held Feb. 6-9, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.

Dow AgroSciences, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sponsor the award program.


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