Loebsack Urges Congress to Include Disaster Relief Programs in Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:49

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today called on Speaker of the House John Boehner and the leader of the House Agriculture Committee to address the expiration of two critical USDA disaster relief programs when the Farm Bill is brought to the floor.  During the recent Ag Committee mark up of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012 (FARRM Act), there was no discussion of extending the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program for crop losses in 2012; the Livestock Indemnity Program is included for 2012. Both programs are no longer covering losses, which leaves a large gap in critical assistance for farmers with passage of a farm bill this year in question.

“Traveling extensively throughout large portions of Iowa, I have met with numerous farmers and have heard firsthand of the worsening [drought] conditions,” urged Loebsack.  “Given the worsening conditions and already substantial livestock losses that have occurred in the Midwest and throughout the South, I again respectfully urge you to consider a disaster programs when the FARRM Act is brought to the floor of the House.”

Loebsack has also asked the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to determine whether or not he has the authority to extend the SURE program or the Livestock Indemnity Program for 2012 if Congress is unable to complete a reauthorization of the farm bill. He also asked the USDA to consider emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program land in Iowa.

A copy of both letters can be found below.

USDA Disaster Aid Programs:

USDA Disaster Aid Programs to Secretary Vilsack


Grassley works to lower trade barriers for U.S. pork, beef and poultry exports to Russia PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:35
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today won Finance Committee approval of his legislation to require the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to continue negotiating with Russian officials for a bilateral Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) equivalence agreement even though Russia already has gained accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Grassley said the Obama administration should have been pushing for greater reductions to non-tariff trade barriers on agricultural products, including reaching a separate, bilateral agreement on SPS standards, when negotiating the Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) accession package.

“The administration missed an important opportunity during accession discussions to demand a separate SPS equivalence agreement,” he said.  “I appreciate that Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch supported my effort to include my sanitary and phytosanitary provisions in the bill that the committee approved today.  The lesson of the U.S. experience with China on these issues is that you cannot assume anything, and an aggressive approach is needed for science-based standards.”

In a June letter to President Obama, Grassley and 33 other senators said, “If we are not able to adequately address the SPS issues, it will undermine the commitments obtained [from Russia] on tariffs and quotas.”

Last year, U.S. beef, pork and poultry exports collectively ranked second only to aircraft engines in total U.S. export value to Russia.

In addition to requiring a continued effort by USTR to secure a bilateral agreement on SPS standards, the Finance Committee-approved PNTR bill also would require USTR to annually report to Congress on Russia’s implementation of the SPS requirements that are set forth in the WTO accession agreement with regard to U.S. agricultural products.

During the Finance Committee meeting today, Grassley said, “American pork producers in particular have had to deal with a number of unjustifiable standards imposed by Russia in recent years.”  The Iowa senator said he will be looking for a detailed report from negotiators from the U.S. Trade Representative about Russia’s standards for trichinae, tetracycline and salmonella, among other issues, when Russia’s implementation of the WTO SPS agreement is assessed.


SATURDAY: Loebsack to Tour Drought Stricken Areas PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:09

Will visit Southern Iowa Counties

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that he will be touring counties in Southern Iowa on SATURDAY, July 21st that were recently approved for emergency farm loans because of the recent lack of rain and severe heat in the area and in Missouri.  Loebsack will tour farms, talk with officials from FSA offices and meet with local Farm Bureau and community members in Southern Iowa counties, including Appanoose, Davis, Lee and Wayne.  Reports have said this is the worst drought in Iowa since 1988. Loebsack will also be discussing his call for disaster-loss programs for crops and livestock to be extended in the farm bill to cover this crop year.

“With no end in sight to the hot weather and lack of rain, crops and livestock across Iowa will continue to be adversely affected,” said Loebsack.  “I am ready to work alongside these farmers assisting in any way necessary.”

The full schedule and additional details will be forthcoming.


Morthland Encourages Drought Assistance to Farmers in Letter to Quinn PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Rep. Rich Morthland   
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 08:33

Moline, IL… State Rep. Rich Morthland (R-Cordova) joined a group of Illinois House republicans today in sending a letter to Governor Quinn thanking him for the recent response to the severe drought conditions across the state, along with a request that the Governor’s administration put in place a system that will provide lawmakers with regular updates and developments that might help those in need.

“As a farmer, I am well aware of the devastating economic impact caused by these extreme weather conditions. The drought is not only going to hurt farmers, ethanol producers and our livestock producers; it will also lead to higher food prices for families,” Morthland said. “I look forward to helping distribute any updates or new financial assistance opportunities to my constituents who may qualify for the programs.”

U.S. and South American Farmers Unite to Support Biotech PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 09:15
United Soybean Board Directors and South American Farmers Meet with European Union Officials
ST. LOUIS (July 17, 2012) – Farmers who produce 90 percent of the world’s soybean exports have joined forces to support biotechnology in the European Union.

Soybean farmers from the United States and their counterparts from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, though competitors in global soy trade, are presenting a united front in meetings with members of the European Union (EU) food and feed chain and representatives of the EU government. The farmers, part of a group formed in 2007 known as the International Soy Growers Alliance, plan to discuss the importance of biotechnology to feed a growing population and how slow government-approval processes and restrictions based on non-scientific reasoning cause trade disruption.

“This has been a very important meeting for us,” says Bob Metz, soybean farmer from West Brown Valley, S.D., and vice chair of USB’s Global Opportunities program. “The European Union is a very important customer for us and obviously a large population. They only produce about two percent of their protein needs in the European Union so they have a great dependence on the rest of the world for soybeans.”

USB and the soy checkoff help collect and disseminate information about the safety of biotech soybeans to keep decision makers informed. The EU has a lengthy approval process on new biotech varieties, which have not only affected soy exports to these 27 countries, but also to other European countries as well as countries that trade with the EU.

“We have delivered a very strong message as we stand together with our South American friends saying that the market is moving forward with biotech events, not only from the United States but from universities in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay as well,” adds Metz. “As these new traits come forward, the European Union really needs to find a way to accept these traits in a more timely fashion.”

The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.

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