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News Update

November 9, 2012

USDA Delivers Funding for Hurricane Sandy Recovery
Projects in 11 States

As part of federal efforts to provide necessary support to those affected by Hurricane Sandy, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has provided $5.3 million in Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program funds to 11 states affected by the storm. EWP — an emergency recovery program — responds to emergencies created by natural disasters by helping people relieve imminent hazards to life and property.

"USDA is deploying resources to help those impacted by this challenging event," said Vilsack. "This funding will help communities undertake emergency measures to address public safety concerns and begin restoration efforts. This assistance also keeps farmers, ranchers and landowners on their land, helping to keep American agriculture strong and profitable."

Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia each received $480,000 for recovery projects to address public safety and restoration efforts on private, public and tribal lands. With these new EWP funds on hand, NRCS state offices will be able to move swiftly as sponsors come forward for projects to reduce threats to life or property.

All projects undertaken, with the exception of the purchase of floodplain easements, must have a project sponsor. When funding is allocated to a project, NRCS contracts the heavy construction work to local contractors, spurring creation of jobs. Typical projects funded under EWP include removing debris from waterways, protecting eroded stream banks, reseeding damaged areas, and in some cases, purchasing floodplain easements on eligible land.

NRCS funds up to 75% of project costs, with local sponsors paying the remaining 25% in either cash or in-kind services. Funding is subject to Congressional approval.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Cost of Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Up Slightly This Year

The retail cost of menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased less than 1% this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

AFBF's 27th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year's feast for 10 is $49.48, a 28¢ price increase from last year's average of $49.20.

"At just under $5 per person, the cost of this year's meal remains a bargain," said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas. "Our diverse farm and ranch families are honored to produce the food from our nation's land for family Thanksgiving celebrations. During this holiday season, I am encouraging farmers and ranchers to reach out to consumers in person or through social media, to answer questions about the food that they grow or the livestock and poultry they raise."

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

The big ticket item — a 16-pound turkey — came in at $22.23 this year. That was roughly $1.39 per pound, an increase of about 4¢ per pound, or a total of 66¢ per whole turkey, compared to 2011. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price increase compared to last year.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Informa Fall Outlook Conference to Highlight US, EU, Global Outlooks, Post-election Agriculture, Food and Trade Policies

Europe is the biggest importer of U.S. goods and the European economic woes continue to plague U.S. growth prospects. Complicated politics, geopolitical requirements, harmonization issues and the need for austerity are all features that will shape Europe's economic future. These EU issues combined with the domestic and global macro-economic landscape will have significant implications for business, commodities and the agriculture and food sectors. These issues and a post-election rundown will highlight Informa Economics' 27th Annual Fall Outlook Conference to be Nov. 15-16 at the Hilton Hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

Informa Economics Chairman of the Board and CEO Bruce Scherr and Decision Economics' President and Chief Global Economist Allen Sinai will lead off the outlook conference discussing the Eurozone and the U.S. and global macroeconomic outlooks, primarily focusing on the implications for agriculture and food, and commodities as an asset class. They will be followed by Center for Strategic and International Studies Senior Fellow and Program Director Richard Jackson who will discuss the global productivity challenges as the world's population grows from 7 billion to 9-10 billion over the next three to four decades, focusing on regional trends with implications for emerged and emerging markets.

Also, with President Barack Obama re-elected to a second term, the Senate retaining its Democratic control and with the Republicans holding onto their majority in the House of Representatives, the question is whether the United States will continue with more political gridlock or will there be more efforts for bipartisan agreement when facing the fiscal cliff and rising budget deficits. Informa Economics Policy Analyst and Senior Vice President Jim Wiesemeyer will provide insightful commentary on how President Obama will interface with the 113th Congress.

For more information and the full release, click here.

National Grange Set to Kick Off 146th Annual Convention
Nov. 13-17 in Boise

National Grange Set to Kick Off 146th Annual Convention Nov. 13-17 in Boise
The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, America's oldest nonprofit agriculture and rural America advocacy organization, with more than 160,000 members from across America, will host its 146th annual National Grange Convention Nov. 13-17 in Boise, Idaho.

Delegates from 34 state Granges attend the annual convention in order to draft and vote on policies for the organization. Resolutions that come before the delegate body are drafted and passed in the more than 2,100 local and state Granges across the United States. Also, Grange members attend the convention to receive the Seventh Degree, the Order's highest level, participate in workshops and discussions on topics related to agriculture and rural America; receive awards for community service, deaf awareness and other programs the Grange supports; and enjoy fellowship with other Grange members.

The convention officially begins at 2:15 p.m. (Mountain Time) Nov. 13 and will run through 10 p.m. Nov. 17; however, delegates will work in committees beginning Nov. 11.

Farm Foundation Launches Blog to Broaden Agriculture and Food System Conversations

Farm Foundation NFP launched a new blog, AgChallenge2050 ( for agriculture and food system stakeholders to share their perspectives about food and agriculture issues.

"As an organization dedicated to bringing people together to seek common ground, and as a non-advocacy provider of objective information and analysis, we want to encourage a rich and exciting discussion about the future of agriculture. It is in that spirit that we are launching AgChallenge2050 as part of our Dialogue Project," says Neil Conklin, president of Farm Foundation NFP.

"We want to bring a diverse group of thought leaders together to identify common ground on which to build the future. We look forward to hearing everyone's voice in the conversation," he adds.

The blog is an initiative of Farm Foundation's A Dialogue on Food and Agriculture in the 21st Century, which creates opportunities for a full range of stakeholders to have constructive discussions about the diverse challenges of increasing food production to meet global demands while maintaining and protecting natural resources. The Dialogue Project offers an agenda-free space where people can engage in civil conversations about the food and agricultural system. It is not a public relations or advertising campaign, nor will it advocate specific policy agendas.

Contributors to AgChallenge2050 will offer perspectives in four key areas of the Dialogue Project: farm and food policy; adaptability and resilience, the role of science and technology in agriculture, and human capital needs in agriculture and the food system. To date, more than a dozen individuals have stepped forward as blog contributors.


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