Agribusiness
EWG Releases Crop Insurance Subsidy Analysis PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 13:25

Statement in response by Chuck Hassebrook, Center for Rural Affairs


Lyons, NE - An analysis of over a million government records pertaining to federal crop insurance has found that in 2011 more than 10,000 individual farming operations have received federal crop insurance premium subsidies ranging from $100,000 to more than $1 million apiece. The analysis found that some 26 farming operations received subsidies of $1 million or more last year.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the records have never before been made public and were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

“Subsidized crop insurance premiums have become the primary farm program,” said Chuck Hassebrook of the Center for Rural Affairs. “And if one corporation farmed the entire Midwest, the government would pay over 60 percent of its crop insurance premiums on every acre.”

“It’s past time to put a cap on crop insurance premium subsidies and stop subsidizing mega farms to bid land away from smaller and beginning farmers, ” Hassebrook added.

A copy of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) release, along with links to the analysis and supporting data, can be viewed and downloaded at http://static.ewg.org/pdf/2012cropinsurance.pdf .

According to the EWG analysis, U.S. taxpayers pick up an average of about 62 percent of the crop insurance premiums for farm businesses. Their share of these premiums has soared from $1.5 billion in 2002 to $7.4 billion in 2011. The subsidies go to large operators with no conservation strings attached to protect water and soil, no means testing, and no payment limit on how much a farm business can collect (excerpted from EWG release).

Among the facts disclosed in the EWG analysis:

  • A single farm business in Florida received $1.9 million in subsidies for premiums to insure crops of tomatoes and peppers in five counties.
  • A Minnesota farm business insuring corn and soybeans in eight counties received $1.7 million in federal crop insurance subsidies.
  • In Texas, the 10 percent of farm businesses that received the greatest amount of insurance subsidies harvested 63 percent of all the crop insurance subsidies that went into the state last year.
  • The 10 percent of North Dakota farm businesses that received the greatest amount of insurance subsidies took in 45 percent of the subsidies going to all farms in the state.

 
Secretary Vilsack Releases Report Highlighting Obama Administration Accomplishments Supporting Rural Communities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 13:15
Events Being Held Nationwide Today To Showcase Successful Healthcare, Education and Public Safety Investments; New Projects Announced in 21 States

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released a report highlighting the ways in which infrastructure investments in rural communities help create jobs and boost economic development, and he announced additional investments that will create jobs and promote economic growth across the nation.

"Quality hospitals, schools and libraries are the building blocks for a vibrant rural America," said Vilsack. "Today's announcement illustrates how the Obama Administration is leveraging Rural Development's investments to ensure that rural communities can compete in the global economy."

Since the start of fiscal year 2009, Rural Development's Community Facilities Program has helped more than 37 million rural Americans address essential challenges in health care, education, public service and public safety by financing projects through loans, grants, or loan guarantees.

For example, thousands of families in Missouri depend on the care provided by Macon County Samaritan Memorial Hospital. Unfortunately, the existing hospital had no private patient rooms, and its surgical rooms did not meet current standards. USDA Rural Development provided a direct and guaranteed loan to finance the construction of a new health care facility and renovate existing hospital space. The hospital employs 215 full-time employees and provides critical health care services to a primary service area of almost 16,000 residents in northeast Missouri.

To find out how the Community Facilities Program is making a difference in your state, click here.

Vilsack also announced that 38 Community Facilities investments in 21 states are being awarded today to continue the Administration's commitment to help create jobs and improve the economy. For a complete list of awards announced today, please click here.

For example, in Arizona, the Cibecue Community Education Board, Inc. is being awarded a $50,000 grant to purchase a used 20-foot cargo van that will be converted into a bookmobile for the school and community. The van will be equipped with shelving, books, computer, printer, generator and supplies. The community library closed in 2010. The bookmobile will enable the school to provide the K-8th grade, high school students, and adult community access to a library and restore the literacy program that once benefited the community. Cibecue is located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program supports essential infrastructure and services for public use in rural areas of 20,000 in population or less. Financing for Community Facilities projects covers a broad range of interests, including healthcare, education, public safety and public services. There are three major Community Facilities Programs: Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loan Programs, Community Facilities Grants, and the Rural Community Development Initiative.

Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs and for people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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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's MyPlate Celebrates Its First Anniversary PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Monday, 04 June 2012 15:05
MyPlate Serves as Reminder to Help Consumers Make Healthy Food Choices

BOSTON, May 30, 2012 -- Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today joined local officials, educators, and students to highlight the first anniversary of the MyPlate food icon and announced a month of nutrition events and promotions to mark the occasion. In June 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled MyPlate, the federal government's primary food group symbol, to serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthy food choices consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and to seek more information to help them do that by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

"A year ago First Lady Michelle Obama and I joined together to launch MyPlate and to encourage people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles," said Merrigan. "Today we celebrate the great strides we are making from our local schools to the dinner table as Americans embrace MyPlate and find practical ways to apply it to their daily lives."

USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) estimates that about 90 percent of nutrition professionals are familiar with MyPlate and are using the resources and messages that support MyPlate in client counseling. Since it was released, there have been over 7 million downloads of MyPlate graphics and other materials. CNPP and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) have distributed educational tools to those who have requested materials including schools, churches and youth groups, gym and fitness centers, clubs, and others. Currently, over 6,000 Community Partners have joined along with 90 National Strategic Partners all committed to promoting the recommendations found in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). In the first quarter of this year, there were 34 million page views at the ChooseMyPlate.gov website and over 700,000 registered users of the MyPlate SuperTracker, the web based tool to gauge one's diet and physical activity.

Development of MyPlate came as a result of a 2010 report of the White House Childhood Obesity Task Force. The report challenged USDA to design a new generation symbol as a cue to inspire consumers to choose healthier foods at mealtimes – something simpler and more direct than the Food Pyramid.

The MyPlate icon shows a plate with the five food groups on a placemat that is suggestive of proportions; i.e., to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Integral to its design is the incorporation of the ChooseMyPlate.gov website address where consumers can apply the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in a personal way. The ChooseMyPlate website provides the public, particularly school children, with the practical 'how-tos' to put the Guidelines recommendations of getting more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods into action in their own lives.

During the month of June, CNPP will be celebrating the first anniversary of MyPlate with special blog postings on its website, daily Tweets on healthy eating, recipes, partner images, a resource for having healthy celebrations, and MyPlate Happy Birthday coloring pages for kids, among other user-friendly resources. In addition, the quarterly MyPlate message for May through June will be "Drink Water Instead of Sugary Drinks" to highlight that thirst quenching water can be "dressed up" with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange as a great way to round out a healthy plate.

USDA has been in the food guidance business for well over 100 years dating back to 1894 with the publication of food buying guides and graphic images representing the Basic Seven in the 1940's, the Basic Four during the 1950s through the 70s, the Food Guide Pyramid in the 1980s and 1990s, and MyPyramid in 2005. However, never, until the launch of MyPlate in June 2011, has USDA taken a more pro-active, comprehensive approach to reaching all consumers – kids, parents, and educators --with practical ways to apply the Dietary Guidelines wherever they learn, play, shop and prepare foods. Public acceptance over the last 12 months of the MyPlate food icon suggests that USDA's new vision for healthy eating will be a popular and useful image for years to come.

CALL TO ACTION:

If you haven't already done so, now is the time to incorporate the MyPlate messages into your life. For more information on MyPlate resources and to join the MyPlate First Year Birthday Celebration, go to www.choosemyplate.gov/celebrate.html.

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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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National Experts Help Iowans Manage Risks at July 23-24 Economic Summit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:44

$20,000 AN ACRE FARMLAND, WILD SWING IN GRAIN MARKETS; WHAT’S NEXT? NATIONAL EXPERTS HELP IOWANS MANAGE RISKS AT JULY 23-24 ECONOMIC SUMMIT

 

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – May 29, 2012 – A $20,000-an-acre sale of farmland in northwest Iowa grabbed the attention of media nationwide, but what will be the real consequences for farmers squeezed by high sale and rental prices once their promising grain crops come out of the field this fall? The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization, is bringing national experts to the Iowa State Center Scheman Building July 23-24 to help farmers manage the incredible economic risks involved in farming today.

“Land prices and cash rents are the biggest points of exposure for almost every Iowa farmer; we’ve seen land prices and commodity prices double or triple in a relatively short period of time this year,” says IFBF Director of Research and Commodity Services David Miller. “We want to help farmers understand the risks of a very strong farmland market and put those risks in proper perspective.”

The IFBF Economic Summit features experts ranging from economist Danny Klinefelter of Texas A&M University and Jeff Plagge, president-elect of the American Bankers Association, to Iowa State University weather expert Elwynn Taylor, a panel of D.C. experts from the Senate and House Ag Committees and Daniel Mitchell of the Washington, D.C. ‘think tank,’ the CATO Institute.  For a complete listing of the panelists and schedule, click here http://www.iowafarmbureau.com/article.aspx?articleID=57826.         The price of the two-day summit is $50 for Iowa Farm Bureau members and $150 for non-members.  Information on the summit, lodging and online registration forms can be found online at www.iowafarmbureau.com. The registration deadline for the IFBF Economic Summit is approaching, so click or call soon to register.

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About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online Newsroom page at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

 
ISU Scott County Extension & Outreach PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 14:43

 
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