Agribusiness
Pass the Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 11:25

by Bruce Braley

Two weeks ago, I visited with two farmers from Palo, Iowa, Gary and Vicki Owens, to see their farm and the drought conditions affecting their crops and crops across Iowa. I saw the dry ground and struggling corn and soybeans that the family is hoping will be able to survive the relentless heat and dry weather. Gary and Vicki told me how concerned they are that the lack of rain in July will doom their harvest this fall.  Despite the difficult summer, the Owens remain hopeful that wetter and cooler weather will grace their fields soon.

The drought is bad enough.  But adding to the uncertainty is a hardening political stalemate in Congress over the 2012 Farm Bill.  The current Farm Bill is set to expire on September 30th – along with modern crop insurance programs, disaster relief, conservation programs, nutrition programs and more -- unless a new bill is signed into law.  Some disaster assistance programs have already expired, adding insult to injury for many agricultural producers just in time for the drought.

And the hits keep coming.  The House Agriculture Committee passed the Farm Bill more than three weeks ago in a bipartisan vote – a critical test of support for the bill – but leaders have continued to block the full House from voting on the bill.  Then, this week, House leaders pulled a one-year Farm Bill extension, preventing a vote on that.  In a final coup de grace, despite members voting against adjournment, leaders sent Congress home for a month-long recess on Thursday, leaving the Farm Bill unresolved and the clock running out before its September 30th expiration date.

Here’s what I can’t figure out.  What exactly is Congress taking a vacation from?  Any Iowan who’s worked a day in their life knows that to get time off, you actually have to put time in.  Congress certainly hasn’t done much of anything this year.  Farmers don’t get a vacation from the drought, and Congress shouldn’t get one either.

Political gridlock over the Farm Bill strikes me as incredibly childish.  There are real folks back home hurting, but Congress can’t get beyond petty feuds and personal differences.

Congress needs to grow up, act like adults, and get the job done on the Farm Bill.

There are members of both political parties out there who agree that producers need the financial stability and protections provided in the Farm Bill.  Farm families and agricultural producers in Iowa certainly agree.

Maybe I’m an optimist, but I think that if allowed to cast a vote on the Farm Bill, a majority of the House would support it.  It’s the political games of leaders looking to score the most insignificant of political points against their opponents that is standing in the way.

So, I’ve launched an effort that could short-circuit the political games.  If a simple majority of representatives sign on to a petition I’m circulating, the Farm Bill must immediately come up for a vote before the House.  And I’ve been encouraged by the early positive response – I’m working with two Republicans (Rick Berg of North Dakota and Chris Gibson of New York) and a Democrat (Peter Welch of Vermont) to recruit signers.

It’s a drastic step and maybe a long shot , but we need to do everything we possibly can to help Iowa farmers through the worsening drought.  And the best way to help right now is to give farmers the certainty that the Farm Bill will bring.

The Farm Bill deserves a vote, not the obstruction that’s become all too typical of Washington. Folks like Gary and Vicki Owens are depending on it.

 
IOWA FARM BUREAU PARK WILL BE “FARM STRONG” AT 2012 IOWA STATE FAIR PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal, Iowa Farm Bureau   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:57

Farm Bureau members, visitors can test their farm strength, win great prizes

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Aug. 6, 2012 – Iowa State Fair visitors can flex their “Farm Strong” strength and ag knowledge at Farm Bureau Park each day of the fair. Whether it’s finding out if pigs can get sunburn or discovering how many farms are in the state, fairgoers can talk to Iowa farmers about agriculture and play a free high-striker game to earn prizes.

The strength of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) comes from its members who will enjoy a number of “Farm Strong” perks at the fair. They can redeem a member coupon for a free prize and register to win a free John Deere Gator utility vehicle provided by the Van Wall Group and Barker Implement, which are premier John Deere dealers.

All park visitors can enter a drawing to win $1,000 in groceries and learn more about Farm Bureau benefit partners and special member discounts on services and products including Morton Buildings, Case IH tractors and utility vehicles, Van Wall Energy and Ford and Lincoln vehicles. In addition, people who join their county Farm Bureau at the fair may register to win a John Deere lawn tractor.

Young fairgoers will also find free entertainment at Farm Bureau Park as the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Advisory Committee members offer a variety of free kids’ activities and prizes from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11.

The park will also emphasize the importance of conservation with a unique mobile unit called the Conservation Station, provided by the Iowa Learning Farms and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The station features a rainfall simulator and offers activity modules for all ages.

The IFBF is again promoting the importance of healthy lifestyles by featuring a number of free blood pressure, glaucoma, cancer and other health screenings on select fair days. Other special activities at Farm Bureau Park on select fair days include:

  • Saturday, Aug. 11
    • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Conservation Station learning activities sponsored by the Iowa Learning Farms and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
    • 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Free blood pressure screenings provided by Des Moines University.
    • 4 p.m., Governor’s Charity Steer Show at the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion. The show promotes beef and raises money to aid families staying at Ronald McDonald Houses.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 14 – Farm Bureau Day at the Fair
    • 9 a.m. – noon, 49th annual Farm Bureau Cookout Contest on the Grand Concourse. Free samples available. Judging begins at 10 a.m.
    • 9 a.m., Century and Heritage Farm Awards presented at the Budweiser Stage, south of the Varied Industries building.

Farm Bureau Park is located next to the Varied Industries Building, right off the Grand Concourse. For a complete listing of Farm Bureau activities at the fair, visit www.iowafarmbureau.com.

 
Braley Statement on Agriculture Disaster Program Extension PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 06 August 2012 08:38

Legislation includes Protections for Crops and Livestock 

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement today after voting for a Republican-proposed extension of agriculture disaster programs to help farm and livestock producers suffering from the summer drought. The Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act extends several disaster relief programs from the 2008 Farm Bill that expired in the fall of 2011 and have not been renewed. The bill is similar to legislation first proposed by the five members of the Iowa delegation last week.

“The drought assistance bill passed today is a step forward for Iowa farmers struggling through this summer’s drought, but it’s no Farm Bill.

“It’s a shame that politicians in Congress are behaving like little children.  Instead of taking another recess to go out and play politics, Congress needs to grow up, act like adults, and get the job done.  Iowa farmers aren’t getting a recess from the drought and Congress shouldn’t get one either until the Farm Bill is passed.  Rather than take a month long break, Congress should get to work.”

The Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act will extend the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Livestock Disaster Forage Program (LFP), Tree Assistance Program (TAP), and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) temporarily through 2012.

 

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Braley Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Launch Farm Bill Discharge Petition Effort PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 06 August 2012 08:35

Group of four urges colleagues to commit to signing discharge petition

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) today led a bipartisan coalition of Rick Berg (R-ND), Chris Gibson (R-NY), and Peter Welch (D-VT) to launch an all-out effort to recruit members to sign a discharge petition that could force a House vote on the 2012 Farm Bill in September.

Rep. Braley said, “Producers battered by this summer’s drought are counting on the Farm Bill to help them through this tough time.  It’s time to get this important bill moving forward.  Rural America is depending on the Farm Bill for our future and can’t wait forever to know the path forward.”

In a letter sent to House colleagues, the bipartisan group urged a commitment to signing the discharge petition as quickly as possible:

“Please join us in committing to sign a discharge petition to bring H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act to the House Floor for a vote,” the letter reads.  “As you know, the Farm Bill has yet to be brought up and it is unclear whether it will come up prior to the Farm Bill’s September 30th expiration date.”

A bill must receive an up or down vote in the House if at least 218 members sign a document known as a “discharge petition.”  On July 24th, Braley took the first steps to initiate a discharge petition on the Farm Bill by introducing a resolution outlining a process to circumvent House leaders’ hold on the bill.

Because House rules require a waiting period between the time a bill is referred to a committee and when members can sign a discharge petition on it, Braley’s Farm Bill petition won’t be officially opened for signatures until after members depart for an August recess.

The Farm Bill is critically important for America’s farmers and the economy and would provide certainty and a safety net for farmers struggling through this summer’s drought.  The hot weather and lack of rain have left farmers vulnerable to weak crops and struggling livestock.  Over half of the counties in the United States have been declared disaster areas due to the drought.

Text of the letter follows; a scanned copy can be downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/GXD

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Commit to the Farm Bill; Commit to Discharge Petition

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in committing to sign a discharge petition to bring H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act to the House Floor for a vote. As you know, the Farm Bill has yet to be brought up and it is unclear whether it will come up prior to the Farm Bill’s September 30th expiration date.

The House Agriculture Committee approved the FARRM Act by a vote of 35-11 with bipartisan support, but it has yet to be reported. We have heard from various agricultural groups and their message is loud and clear – they want and need a five-year Farm Bill.

According to House Rules, for unreported legislation a discharge petition cannot be filed until 30 legislative days after it has been referred to the committee of jurisdiction. In the case of the House Farm Bill, it was referred on July 9th, so the discharge petition will be able to be filed on or around September 13th, since pro forma days during the August work period will count towards the 30 day requirement.

This petition will move to discharge the Committee on Rules from the consideration of H. Res. 739 entitled, a resolution providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 6083).

Because the discharge petition cannot be filed until after the August work period, we are taking the step of simply seeking commitments from those who are willing to sign it once it becomes available at the Clerk’s desk.

The need to extend assistance for farmers gets more urgent every day, given the worsening drought that is blanketing more than half the country. Just like millions of small businesses across the country, farmers need certainty and confidence in the federal programs that affect their lives. Failure to provide certainty will have a devastating impact on the agriculture industry.

Please show your support to our nation’s farmers by committing to sign on to this discharge petition. Feel free to contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it in Rep. Braley’s office if you have any questions or your boss would like to commit to signing this discharge petition. Thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely,                    

Bruce Braley               

Member of Congress                      

 

Rick Berg                          

Member of Congress

Chris Gibson                        

Member of Congress                      

 

Peter Welch

Member of Congress

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Media Advisory: Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan to Announce Results of 2012 USDA Farmers Market Directory PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 06 August 2012 07:59

National Farmers Market Week Begins August 5

 

WASHINGTON-August 2, 2012-Tomorrow, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will announce the latest findings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2012 National Farmers Market Directory. Each year the annual report shows the total number reported of farmers markets operating throughout the United States. Last year, USDA reported that 7,175 markets were operating across the country. Also, Merrigan will announce this year’s top ten states reporting farmers market growth. This announcement launches National Farmers Market Week which is August 5-11.

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