Agribusiness
U.S. Soybean Farmer-Leaders Help to Lead Global Oilseed Industry PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Thursday, 03 July 2014 08:03
 
U.S. Soybean Farmer-Leaders Help to Lead Global Oilseed Industry

United Soybean Board (USB) and American Soybean Association (ASA) farmer-leaders will soon join representatives of oilseed industries from around the world to discuss issues that impact everyone during the 16th International Oilseed Processors Dialogue (IOPD). Such issues include transparent approval processes, sustainability and global demand.

In addition, U.S. farmer-leaders will also discuss issues specific to the soy industry with their soybean-growing counterparts from South America when the annual International Soy Growers Alliance (ISGA) meets.

Join USB and ASA soybean farmers upon their return from the meetings to discuss how these challenges and opportunities will impact U.S. soybean farmers.

Farmer-leaders who will be on the call and available for interviews include:
  • Jim Call, USB chairman and soybean farmer from Madison, Minnesota
  • Bob Haselwood, USB vice chairman and soybean farmer from Berryton, Kansas
  • Laura Foell, USB Meal Action Team Lead and soybean farmer from Schaller, Iowa
  • Ray Gaesser, ASA president and soybean farmer from Corning, Iowa
  • Wade Cowan, ASA first vice president and soybean farmer from Brownfield, Texas
TIME:
Monday, July 7, 8 a.m. Central

 
USDA Continues Farm Bill Implementation with Provisions to Help Farmers Manage Risk PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 30 June 2014 15:55
Department Announces New Beginning Farmer Benefits, Other Changes to Crop Insurance that Provide Flexibility to Farmers

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced continued progress in implementing provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that provide new risk management options for farmers and ranchers. These improvements to crop insurance programs will provide better protection from weather disaster, market volatility and other risk factors to ensure farmers aren't wiped out by events beyond their control.

Vilsack also announced new support for beginning farmers that will make crop insurance more affordable and provide greater support when new farmers experience substantial losses. These announcements build on other recent USDA efforts to support beginning farmers.

"Crop insurance is critical to the ongoing success of today's farmers and ranchers and our agriculture economy. These improvements provide additional flexibility to ensure families do not lose everything due to events beyond their control," said Vilsack. "We're also acting to provide more support to beginning farmers and ranchers so that they can manage their risk effectively. We need to not only encourage new farmers to get into agriculture, we must ensure they're not wiped out in their riskiest initial seasons so they can remain in agriculture for years to come."

The U. S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) filed an interim rule with the Federal Register today, allowing USDA to move forward with changes to crop insurance provisions. The provisions provide better options for beginning farmers, allow producers to have enterprise units for irrigated and non-irrigated crops, give farmers and ranchers the ability to purchase different levels of coverage for a variety of irrigation practices, provide guidance on conservation compliance, implement protections for native sod and provide adjustments to historical yields following significant disasters.

The Farm Bill authorizes specific coverage benefits for beginning farmers and ranchers starting with the 2015 crop year. The changes announced today exempt new farmers from paying the $300 administrative fee for catastrophic policies. New farmers' premium support rates will also increase ten percentage points during their first five years of farming. Beginning farmers will also receive a greater yield adjustment when yields are below 60 percent of the applicable transitional yield. These incentives will be available for most insurance plans in the 2015 crop year and all plans by 2016.

Starting in the fall of 2014, producers who till native sod and plant an annual crop on that land will see reductions in their crop insurance benefits during the first four years. Native sod is acreage that has never been tilled, or land which a producer cannot substantiate has ever been tilled for the production of a crop. The provision applies to acreage in all counties in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota that is greater than five acres per policy and is producing annual crops.

Additional flexibility for irrigated and non-irrigated enterprise units and coverage levels will be available in the spring of 2015. Additional information on implementation of these changes is available at the RMA website, www.rma.usda.gov.

The interim rule is available to the public at the Federal Register at www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx.

More information is available on the RMA website at www.rma.usda.gov. Written comments on the rule can be submitted to www.regulations.gov by Sept. 2, 2014. All comments will be considered when the rule is made final.

Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Since the signing of the Farm Bill, RMA has been working to implement the provisions as quickly as possible. The Federal Crop Insurance Board approved RMA's Whole-Farm Revenue Insurance policy in May. RMA will finalize the policy materials and expects to release the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection product to the public in late fall.

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USDA and USTR Name New Members to Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Friday, 27 June 2014 10:28

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2014 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced the appointment of 19 additional members to six agricultural trade advisory committees.

"The agricultural trade advisory committees provide great insight into trade issues for the United States. Hearing from such a wide variety of agricultural experts helps us formulate our trade strategy and keep American exports growing to record numbers," Vilsack said. "Agricultural trade plays a vital role in the health of our economy, and the new members of the committees will bring welcome new perspectives."

Congress established the advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure U.S. agricultural trade policy objectives reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) jointly manage the committees.

"A primary objective of President Obama's trade agenda is to unlock economic opportunity for American farmers and ranchers," said Froman. "As we fight to open markets across the world to more U.S. exports, direct insight from the American agricultural community is essential. I welcome these well-qualified individuals, and look forward to hearing their advice. I also look forward to continued engagement with the public with regard to U.S. agricultural trade policy and how it can continue to benefit American families."

Since 2009, nearly one-third of U.S. economic growth has been due to exports. In 2013, American exports were a record $2.28 trillion. Agricultural exports alone reached a record $140.9 billion and supported nearly one million jobs in the last fiscal year. The past five years represent the strongest period for U.S. exports in the history of the United States.

The committees provide advice and information to the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on negotiating objectives and positions, and other matters related to the development and administration of U.S. agricultural trade policy.

The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is comprised of senior representatives from across the agricultural community and provides advice on general trade policy matters. The Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees offer technical advice and information on specific product sectors.

The new appointments became effective June 15, 2014. Nominations for committee members are accepted at any time and appointments are made periodically, usually for a period of four years. More information is available at www.fas.usda.gov/topics/trade-policy/trade-advisory-committees. Questions may be directed to USDA Trade Advisory Committee staff at 202-720-6219 or via email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
Vilsack Announces Farm Bill Funding for Bioenergy Research, Converting to Biomass Fuel Systems PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 16 June 2014 08:55

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced up to $14.5 million in funding for two USDA bioenergy programs made available through the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA's Rural Development (RD) announced it is accepting applications from companies seeking to offset the costs associated with converting fossil fuel systems to renewable biomass fuel systems, while USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of $2.5 million in grants to enhance national energy security through the development of bio-based transportation fuels, biopower, and new bio-based products.

USDA today also announced a valuable aid to those in, or interested in, starting a bio-energy business, the Bioeconomy Tool Shed. The Tool Shed is a portal offering users access to a complement of web-based tools and information, statistical data and other resources related to the sustainable production and conversion of biomass into products and fuel, a process often referred to as the bioeconomy.

"These USDA investments are part of the Obama Administration's 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy, and they benefit our economy as well as the environment," Vilsack said. "USDA's support for bio-based technologies is good for the climate, and enhances rural economic development while it decreases our dependence on foreign sources of oil." He concluded, "These and other USDA efforts will create new products out of homegrown agriculture from this and future generations of American farmers and foresters."

USDA plans to make up to $12 million in payments for eligible biorefineries through RD's Repowering Assistance Program, which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Biorefineries in existence on or before June 18, 2008 are eligible for payments to replace fossil fuels used to produce heat or power with renewable biomass. Since President Obama took office, USDA has provided $6.9 million to help biorefineries transition from fossil fuels to renewable biomass systems. Applications, deadlines and details will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, June 16, 2014.

USDA is also seeking applications for NIFA's Sun Grants program that encourages bioenergy and biomass research collaboration between government agencies, land-grant colleges and universities, and the private sector. Congress authorized the Sun Grant program in the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized the program in 2014. The program provides grants to five grant centers and one subcenter, which then will make competitive grants to projects that contribute to research, education and outreach for the regional production and sustainability of possible biobased feedstocks. The project period will not exceed five years.

The newest addition to the USDA Energy Web, the Tool Shed can help those interested in bio-energy business ventures by providing access to the data and information necessary to evaluate potential opportunities across the entire supply chain: from feedstock production, to bioenergy production, bioenergy use, and linkages between feedstock production, bioenergy production and use. The tool is designed to assist in evaluating the feasibility and opportunities for locating a new biorefinery. It provides the stakeholder access to information on demographics, land use, biomass, feedstock, economics, and financial management.

Today's announcements were made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users)


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USDA Announces New Farm Bill Funds Available for Research to Fight Citrus Greening PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Friday, 13 June 2014 15:02
$31.5 Million Being Allocated to Test Various Ways to Combat Disease Threatening U.S. Citrus Industry

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2014 – United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $25 million in funding for research and Cooperative Extension Service projects to combat huanglongbing (HLB), commonly known as citrus greening disease. The funding comes from the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA allocated another $6.5 million, for a total of $31.5 million, to several other projects through its Huanglongbing Multi-Agency Coordination Group (HLB MAC).

"USDA is committed to the fight against citrus greening, including making major research investments to counter this destructive disease," said Vilsack. "The citrus industry and the thousands of jobs it supports are depending on groundbreaking research to neutralize this threat."

Today's announcement provides funding to the Citrus Disease Research and Education Program (CDRE) and is a supplement of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). The 2014 Farm Bill provides $25 million per year for a total of $125 million of the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative funding toward citrus health research over the next five years.

Because there are wide differences in the occurrence and progression of HLB among the states, there are regional as well as national priorities for CDRE. These priorities fall within four categories: 1) priorities that deal with the pathogen; 2) those that deal with the insect vector; 3) those that deal with citrus orchard production systems; and 4) those that deal with non-agricultural citrus tree owners. Priority will be given to projects that are multistate, multi-institutional, or trans-disciplinary and include clearly defined mechanisms to communicate results to producers. Successful applicants will be expected to engage stakeholders to insure solutions are commercially feasible. Projects should also include an economic analysis of the costs associated with proposed solutions. A letter of intent to apply is due to NIFA by June 27, 2014. Full applications, to be invited based on relevancy review, are due September 29, 2014.

Also today, USDA's Huanglongbing Multi-Agency Coordination Group (HLB MAC) announced funding allocations for three new projects to combat HLB. The first project will commit approximately $2 million to field test antimicrobials that have shown promise in combating HLB in laboratory and greenhouse studies. The second HLB MAC project, also funded for up to $2 million, will support the deployment of large-scale thermotherapy since studies have shown heating a tree to 120 degrees for approximately 48 hours can kill the HLB bacterium in the upper part of the tree, allowing the tree to regain productivity. This funding will address the challenge of identifying a quick and practical way for growers to use the technology on a large scale. For the third project, the MAC Group is providing about $2.5 million to establish several model groves in cooperation with Florida Citrus Health Management Areas. A model grove would use best management practices—including systematic surveys, timely chemical treatments, new planting strategies, and the removal of dead and abandoned groves – so growers can produce healthy citrus crops even in the presence of HLB.

Secretary Vilsack created the HLB MAC Group last December to foster greater coordination among federal and state agencies in responding to citrus greening. The Group includes representatives from USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), as well as State departments of agriculture and the citrus industry. The HLB MAC Group serves to coordinate and prioritize Federal research with industry's efforts to complement and fill research gaps, reduce unnecessary duplication, speed progress, and more quickly provide practical tools for citrus growers to use. Additional information on the activities of the HLB MAC Group, including regular updates on activities, can be found here.

The Farm Bill, which provided funding for today's investment in HLB research, builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which administers the Citrus Disease Research and Education Program, focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay)


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