Agribusiness
Media Advisory: USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan to Host #ASKUSDA Virtual Office Hours on Local Food PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 20 July 2012 14:07

Focus on 2.0 version of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2012—On Tuesday, July 24, at 1:30 pm EDT, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will host a live Twitter chat focusing on the Department’s support for local and regional food systems and the recent release of the 2.0 version of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. Deputy Secretary Merrigan will answer your questions about the Department’s work related to local food and ways the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass can assist your community.

This Twitter chat is a follow-up to last week’s Google+ Hangout hosted by the White House and USDA on the same topic.

The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass is a digital guide to USDA resources that support of regional food production. Originally released in February 2012, the 2.0 version of the Compass guide contains new case studies of successful regional food projects, while the interactive map feature now includes data on food hubs, farmers markets, meat processing facilities and more, as well as data on USDA-supported projects in all fifty states. The map is also searchable by key word and zip code, enabling users to zero in on the topics or regions that interest them most and see how USDA can help.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 

1:30 p.m. EDT 

WHAT: USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan will answer questions about USDA’s suppor for local and regional food systems and the 2.0 version of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass.

Follow the @USDA Twitter account. Use hashtags #askUSDA and #KYF2 to submit questions in advance and during the live Twitter chat

USDA Virtual Office Hours, a monthly live question and answer series, allows stakeholders to directly engage with USDA leadership and subject matter experts through Twitter. Sessions are focused on a specific mission, issue or program as aligned with the Department’s strategic goals and based on stakeholder interests.

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Schilling Co-Leads Bipartisan Push for Farmers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Friday, 20 July 2012 14:00

Joins Reps. Noem, Welch, and 59 others in pushing for consideration of the Farm Bill

Washington, DC – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) this week joined a bipartisan group of members including Congresswoman Kristi Noem (SD-At Large) and Congressman Peter Welch (VT-At Large) in spearheading a letter to House leadership urging them to bring H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act, to a vote before August.  The Farm Bill passed the House Agriculture Committee last week by a strong bipartisan vote of 35-11.

In the letter, which has so far been signed by 38 Republicans and 24 Democrats, Noem, Welch, Schilling and their colleagues push Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer for floor time to consider the Farm Bill so it can be debated, conferenced, and ultimately passed into law before the current Farm Bill expires on September 30.

“The 17th Congressional District of Illinois is blessed with some of the most fruitful and productive soil in the world,” Schilling said. “In fact, when it comes to the value of sales of corn and soybeans, we rank 14th out of 435 Congressional Districts.  We host the Farm Progress Show every other year, are home to Ag manufacturers John Deere and Caterpillar, and are among the leading districts for livestock in the country.  I truly do believe we are an agricultural powerhouse.

“It was this Congress that passed three Free Trade Agreements, repealed the health care reform law’s onerous 1099 tax reporting requirement, passed the VOW to Hire Heroes veterans’ jobs bill, passed the STOCK ACT, passed a four-year FAA reauthorization, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, passed a multi-year transportation reauthorization, and passed a defense bill that will promote workload and jobs at the Rock Island Arsenal, all on a bipartisan basis.  It’s crucial that we work together to pass a Farm Bill, and continue to allow producers to do what they do best – feed our country.”

In their letter, the Members write, “The message from our constituents and rural America is clear: we need a farm bill now. We ask that you bring a farm bill up before the August District Work Period so that the House will have the opportunity to work its will. We ask that you make this legislation a priority of the House as it is critically important to rural and urban Americans alike.”

The full letter is copied below. Signers include Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Robert Schilling (R-Ill.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Tim Johnson (R-Ill.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa), Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Rick Berg (R-N.D.), Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Gregorio Sablan (D-MP), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), Sam Graves (R-Ga.), Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Jeff Landry (R-La.), Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La), Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), Candice Miller (R-Mich).

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Democratic Leader Pelosi and Democratic Whip Hoyer:

Many current farm bill policies expire on September 30, 2012. The House Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act, or the 2012 Farm Bill, on July 12th with a strong bipartisan vote of 35-11. While by no means perfect, this farm bill is needed for producers and those who rely on sound agriculture policy and nutrition programs during difficult economic times.

The House Agriculture Committee has done its work and we now ask that you make time on the floor of the House to consider this legislation, so that it can be debated, conferenced, and ultimately passed into law, before the current bill expires. We need to continue to tell the American success story of agriculture and work to ensure we have strong policies in place so that producers can continue to provide an abundant, affordable and safe food supply.

We all share the goal of giving small businesses certainty in these challenging economic times. Agriculture supports nearly 16 million jobs nationwide and over 45 million people are helped each year by the nutrition programs in the farm bill. We have a tremendous opportunity to set the course of farm and nutrition policy for another five years while continuing to maintain and support these jobs nationwide.

The message from our constituents and rural America is clear: we need a farm bill now. We ask that you bring a farm bill up before the August District Work Period so that the House will have the opportunity to work its will. We ask that you make this legislation a priority of the House as it is critically important to rural and urban Americans alike.

We appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to working with you to advance the FARRM Act.

Sincerely,

# # #

To send Congressman Schilling an e-mail, click here

 
USDA Drought Response - Digital Resources: 7/19/12 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:56

Visit the USDA Drought webpage for the latest information and resources

 

President Barack Obama is briefed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Administration’s efforts to respond to the historic drought conditions being felt across the country, during a meeting in the Oval Office, July 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Transcripts:
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Press Releases:

USDA Designates an Additional 39 Counties in 8 States as Primary Natural Disaster Areas Due to Worsening Drought

 

USDA Officials Stand with Farmers and Ranchers Affected by Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters

 

USDA Announces Streamlined Disaster Designation Process with Lower Emergency Loan Rates and Greater CRP Flexibility in Disaster Areas

Photos:

Flickr Collections- Drought

 

TV Actuality:

Drought and food prices

User name: usdanews

Password: Newscontent1

USDA Radio:

Vilsack Calls For Help From Congress To Help Drought Area Farmers

7/18/12

The nation's top agricultural official says he needs help from Congress if he's going to be able to do much to help drought stricken producers, especially livestock producers. (Gary Crawford and Secy' Tom Vilsack)

 

Actuality: Vilsack's Overall Description Of The Drought

7/18/12

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in a White House news briefing, giving reporters a general description of the drought.

Crop Insurance Ready For Drought Related Claims

7/18/12

A USDA official says crop insurance companies are prepared for potential claims related to this year's drought conditions. (Rod Bain and Risk Management Agency Administrator Bill Murphy)

USDA Officials Travelling To Fire And Drought Areas

7/18/12

USDA officials continue to visit and evaluate areas plagued by ongoing and potential disasters such as drought and wildfire. (Rod Bain and Risk Management Agency Administrator Bill Murphy)

 

How Will The Heat And Drought Affect Food Prices?

7/17/12

When, if ever, will consumers see higher food prices as a result of this summer's drought? (Gary Crawford and Joe Glauber)

Web Information Resources:

Emergency Preparedness and Response Page

USDA's Drought Page

 

Agricultural Weather Updates

 

ERS Website

For retail food price information and other factors.

 
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:

http://loebsack.house.gov/UploadedFiles/USDA_Disaster_Aid_Programs.pdf

USDA Disaster Aid Programs to Secretary Vilsack

http://loebsack.house.gov/UploadedFiles/USDA_Disaster_Aid_Programs_to_Secretary_Vilsack.pdf

###

 
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.

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