Agribusiness
Braley Leads Iowa Delegation Letter Asking for Immediate Vote on Bipartisan Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 20 July 2012 14:46

Failing to pass a Farm Bill will only make impact of drought worse

 

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today authored a letter so-signed by all five members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation and sent to House leaders asking for an immediate vote on the bipartisan Farm Bill, especially in light of the worsening drought affecting Iowa and the Midwest.

 

Even though the House Agriculture Committee passed a version of the Farm Bill that earned bipartisan support last week, House Speaker John Boehner has not signaled when the bill will come to the full House for consideration.  The Senate passed their version of the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill last month.

 

“Iowa farmers are struggling through the worst drought in decades, and failing to pass a Farm Bill would only compound the problem they face,” Braley said.  “Much of the disaster assistance funding in the 2008 Farm Bill has already expired, leaving many farmers without a safety net this year.  If Congress fails to act by September 30th, the Farm Bill will expire and revert to the outdated 1949 Farm Bill.

 

“Just like millions of small businesses around America, farmers need certainty and confidence in the farm safety net they depend on.  Now more than ever, getting the Farm Bill done is too important for political games.”

 

Last night, Braley hosted a telephone town hall with Iowa farmers to discuss the Farm Bill and the impact of this year’s drought.

 

Braley has hosted a dozen listening sessions on the Food, Farm and Job Bill across eastern Iowa this summer. The listening sessions have taken Braley to Grinnell, Independence, Manchester, Marengo, Marshalltown, Peosta, St. Ansgar, Strawberry Point, Toledo, and Vinton.  Also, Braley joined USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack at listening session events in Maquoketa and Cedar Rapids last month.

 

Text of the Iowa delegation’s letter to House leaders follows:

 

--

 

July 20, 2012

 

The Honorable John Boehner                       

Speaker of the House                         

H-232, the Capitol                       

Washington, DC  20510                         

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Minority Leader

H-204, the Capitol

Washington, DC  20510

 

The Honorable Eric Cantor                        

Majority Leader                        

H-329, the Capitol                       

Washington, DC  20510                         

 

The Honorable Steny Hoyer

Minority Whip

H-148, the Capitol

Washington, DC  20510

 

Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader Cantor, and Minority Whip Hoyer,

 

We are writing today to request quick consideration of a multi-year farm bill on the House floor. As you know, the House Agriculture Committee favorably reported a bipartisan bill last week that is prepared for quick floor action. 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. In the United States some sixteen million jobs depend on the success of American agriculture, and the Farm Bill has a huge impact in our home state of Iowa. Agriculture and related industries account for one in six jobs in Iowa and contributes $72 billion into the state’s economy annually. Failure to quickly pass a farm bill will have a devastating impact on our constituents and the agriculture industry across the country.

 

As the agriculture industry across the country faces the worst drought in decades, we’re particularly concerned that failure to act on a farm bill quickly could only exacerbate the current challenges faced by thousands of farmers. Much of the disaster assistance funding in the 2008 Farm Bill has already expired, leaving many farmers without a safety net this year. Without action prior to September 30, the bill’s remaining programs will expire reverting to laws passed under the outdated 1949 Farm Bill. It is vital that we get a Farm Bill passed out of the House prior to the August recess.

 

Farmers feed our nation, and we need to make sure to provide them the tools they need so that they can continue to deliver safe, affordable food to the table. Every American has a stake in this bill.

 

Please do what you can to bring forward the multi-year Farm Bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee. We stand prepared to work with you in a bipartisan manner to accomplish this goal.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bruce Braley

Tom Latham

Leonard Boswell

Steve King

Dave Loebsack

 

 

# # #

 
IOWA LIVESTOCK FARMERS AMP UP FOCUS ON ANIMAL WELFARE DURING DROUGHT CONDITIONS, HEAT WAVE PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Friday, 20 July 2012 14:44

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – July 20, 2012 – Like many Iowa parents and homeowners, Ben Albright of Lytton set up the sprinkler on the Fourth of July. But it wasn’t for the enjoyment of his young son or for the sake of his scorched grass, it was for the comfort of his cattle. As temperatures climbed into the triple digits (again), Albright spent most of his time making sure his herd had access to shade and water.

“Even on hot holidays, farmers are taking care of their livestock,” said Albright. “It’s a 365-day, 24/7 type of job.”

This summer’s heat has caused near-drought conditions for much of Iowa; taking its toll on the crops and pastures. Livestock producers depend on both: grain for feed and pastures for grazing. Farmers are watching crop prices increase and seeing pastures dry up, so it takes extra effort to make the most of their water sources, pastures and buildings. According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/press/cropAndWeather.asp), only 1 percent of Iowa’s pasture conditions are rated excellent, with 26 percent rated very poor. Farmers are concerned about providing enough forage for their livestock and protecting the soil and environment, as well.

Randy Dreher, a cattle farmer near Audubon, carefully manages his herd’s grazing systems, rotating the cattle among his pastures to allow the cattle to find sufficient forage and keep the areas growing and sustainable.

“I’ve worked closely with my Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) representative, setting up a system that provides many environmental benefits including increased water infiltration, reduced soil moisture evaporation and better manure distribution,” said Dreher.

Daily, Dreher measures how much forage the cattle eat, how much his pastures can supply and preparing himself to offer hay as a supplement.  Because of his close attention to managing his natural resources, he says he’s able to feed more cattle per acre than if he didn’t use such a system.

Over in Prairieburg in Linn County, Jason Russell is tending to his livestock, too, but he’s dealing with a different species and using different farming methods.

Russell raises hogs indoors, which means while the mercury climbs to the triple-digits outside, his animals have shade, water and food in comfortable surroundings. The barn is equipped with a 12-stage heating and cooling control system, sprinklers, fans and side curtains that can be raised and lowered.

“Raising hogs indoors is the right system for my family,” said Russell. “It allows us to successfully manage our resources and keep a close eye on our animals. The building is cool and comfortable in the summer and warm and dry in the winter time. It’s good for us and our animals’ health.”

Healthy animals mean healthy food. And that’s good for everyone when they go to the store to buy their favorite summer meals, including burgers and brats.

 

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Drought-Ravaged Crops, $8 Corn, Food Cost Fallout, Global Ag Market Swings: What's Next? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by K. Firebaugh   
Friday, 20 July 2012 14:43

Today's leading national economists, climatologists and market analysts bring these answers and their expertise to Ames July 23-24 for the Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit.

Among the featured speakers at the two-day event:

  • U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Jason Henderson
  • Daniel Mitchell of the Cato Institute
  • Danny Klinefelter, Texas A&M economist
  • Elwynn Taylor, ISU Professor of Ag Meteorology

More than 400 farmers are also going to be in attendance to gather the latest market and drought-recovery insights from these nationally-recognized economic and ag market business leaders.

The Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit will be held at the Scheman Center at Iowa State University and is free to media.

For a complete look at the agenda, click here: http://www.iowafarmbureau.com/files/articles/2012/7/57826/Agenda.pdf

For more information or to confirm registration or arrange media interviews, please contact Laurie Johns now at 515-225-5414 or by email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
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.

#

 
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

 
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