News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 08:54


INTRO:  A new Farm Bill and the President’s proposed budget were main topics at a recent Senate Agriculture Committee hearing where Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified. The USDA’s Bob Ellison has more. (1:49)




Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary: As you consider the Farm Bill I hope that you’ll recognize the importance of streamlining the number of programs that we have, providing us the flexibility to be able to use these programs creatively and adjust them.




Sen. Debbie Stabenow-Michigan (D): This can mean helping small towns build a safe drinking water system, or affordable broadband internet access, or it can be in the form of streamlined programs that are more accessible for the people who use them.




Sen. Pat Roberts-Kansas (R): Madame Chairman this is the number one issue that we have heard about in every hearing that we’ve had in regard to what farmers need and what they rely on.


Vilsack: The president when he looked at the agricultural budget basically had to decide whether or not to focus on a balanced approach, an approach that basically took resources from farm programs, conservation programs and nutrition assistance programs. He opted not to take money from nutrition assistance programs. In the President’s view these insurance companies are perhaps in a better position to withstand these difficult times than the folks who are currently struggling with tight budgets and can’t afford to put enough food on the table for their families.




Vilsack: We do recognize that part of that safety net is some process by which revenues can be protected during difficult times. The fiscal constraints that we’re working under will require us to modify existing programs to provide that safety net.



State Fair Award to Recognize Iowa's Farm Families PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Lori Chappell   
Monday, 20 February 2012 15:39

DES MOINES, IA (02/16/2012)(readMedia)-- The Iowa State Fair, Tractor Supply Co. and WHO News Radio 1040 are searching for six farm families to recognize with the Way We Live Award at the 2012 Fair, August 9-19. These families must exemplify farm values derived from hard work and a love for the occupation of farming.

To enter, submit an entry form along with a 500-1500 word essay describing how living on a farm and choosing the occupation of farming has shaped the family's life. All entries must include a family picture that illustrates the family's commitment to their farming operation. Entry forms can be downloaded from the Iowa State Fair web site: All entries must be postmarked or e-mailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by May 1.

Nominated families should show dedication to animal agriculture in their daily lives and in the lives of their family members. Winners will receive a prize package including $250 cash, Fair admission tickets, parking, Fair food coupons, and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Fair.

Eligible families must be residents of Iowa whose farming operation is centered on animal agriculture and may nominate themselves or be nominated by others.

Send entries to:

The Way We Live Award

Iowa State Fair

PO Box 57130

Des Moines, Iowa 50317-0003

Or e-mail all materials to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For questions about the award, contact Emily Brewer at 515.262.3111 x244 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

* * *

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery: Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Before the Opening Session of US-China Agricultural Symposium PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Monday, 20 February 2012 15:13
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery: Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Before the Opening Session of US-China Agricultural Symposium

DES MOINES, IOWA, February 16, 2012 –Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today addressed the opening session of the US-China Agriculture Symposium:

"Thank you all for being here. It's an honor to welcome Vice President Xi back to Iowa and the entire Chinese delegation, including my dear and old friend Minister Han.

"I also want to acknowledge Governor Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Reynolds, Secretary Bill Northey and the many other honored guests and dignitaries joining us here today. Thanks as well to Ambassador Ken Quinn who has graciously offered this beautiful facility for this important gathering.

"Vice President Xi, we are honored and proud that our good hospitality encouraged you to return. I appreciated your kind remarks about Iowa the other night at Vice President Biden's home. I believe there is perhaps no better place to showcase the strengths of American agriculture and American values.

"This symposium is a historic event. It is a real opportunity to strengthen an already-vibrant cooperative relationship built on mutual benefits and mutual trust between our two great nations. One of the strongest links in that relationship is centered on agriculture. Which will be further strengthened with the signing of our Strategic Cooperation Agreement.

"We are the world's two largest agricultural producers and strong collaborators in agricultural research and education. Our great trade relationship benefits the citizens of both of our nations.

"Every day our nations and the livelihoods of our citizens grow more connected. I look forward to strengthening that bond in the years ahead.

"What's more, our two great nations – and our great agricultural economies – have a tremendous capacity to build a better world. I appreciate Minister Han's enthusiastic willingness to co-host and sponsor this symposium focused on food security, food safety, and sustainability, he and I, along with Vice President Xi understand the importance of building strong and lasting relationships between American and Chinese businesses. So, there are many reasons why we meet here and now.

"First, we have responsibility and opportunity to work together to address the causes of global hunger that affect more than 925 million people.

"Current population trends mean we must increase agricultural production by 70% by 2050 to feed more than 9 billion people. I look forward to strengthening partnerships with China to support agricultural productivity in nations where far too many millions go hungry. The expertise, technical know-how, research and combined will of our two nations can go a long way to filling empty stomachs and improve incomes and economies around the world.

"It is fitting, then, that we are meeting at the headquarters of the World Food Prize. The prize was the brainchild of Dr. Norman Borlaug, an Iowa native who saved tens of millions of lives by dedicating himself to the problems of food production and eradicating hunger.

"Two great Chinese men have been recognized with this prestigious prize for helping feed millions of Chinese citizens and people around the world.

"The impact of Dr. Borlaug's work – and the work of all those who have received this honor – should serve as our inspiration as we discuss how our nations can more effectively collaborate to increase the availability and use of sustainably produced food.

"Food security is only one of the important issues to be addressed today.

"We will also have opportunities to collaborate and partner on food safety: ensuring the health of our citizens through the implementation of best practices, advanced by laws and regulations based on science.

"We will talk about sustainable agriculture to leave for future generations healthy soils, ample water, and abundant wildlife. As we improve agricultural production to meet the demands of a growing world, we will also pursue stewardship practices that better conserve and preserve our natural resources.

"Finally, this symposium will help Chinese and American businesses to develop relationships that are integral to opening doors for new opportunities. Those relationships will assure that when difficulties arise, as they sometimes do, we will continue to dialogue until solutions are found.

"The rapid development of China-U.S. agricultural cooperation and trade has provided tremendous benefits the people of both countries. We want to continue building those cooperative relationships and public-private partnerships.

"Vice President Xi, Minister Han and I want to facilitate more investments by business interests in China and America. Our interest in each other's countries can only help to build a lasting friendship and relationship.

"It is now my privilege and honor to introduce my good and old friend Minister Han of China. He will make remarks and introduce our next honored guest, Vice President Xi.

"Minister Han and I got to know each other on my visit to China last November. During that visit, and since that time, we have had productive conversations about issues of mutual interest.

"Most fundamentally, we share a vision that America and China will collaborate more and more in the future to benefit our nations and agriculture around the world.

"This symposium is a forum for the U.S. and China to work together as true partners on agriculture for the benefit of our citizens and to address global challenges. As we do, we will help promote the healthy and steady development of a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit"


Farm Bill Hearings Get Underway-Energy and Economic Growth for Rural America PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 20 February 2012 15:09

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Hearing on Energy and Economic Growth for Rural America

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I appreciate the Chairwoman setting this hearing today.  The rural development and energy programs administered by the Department of Agriculture are important to rural America and Iowa.

Rural utility programs help provide vital infrastructure and services for rural Iowans.  In addition, we have some very important rural water programs that give assistance to communities for access to safe and affordable drinking water.  And, there are wastewater programs that help small communities deal with requirements placed upon them by the Clean Water Act.

People all too often forget the people in rural America are largely responsible for producing this nation’s food.  Rural Development programs help preserve the way of life in these small communities so young people who grow up and live in these communities can become the next generation responsible for feeding this nation.

I appreciate the Secretary’s comments regarding the importance of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  The REAP program has helped expand market access for renewable fuels as this country continues to look for ways to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

In addition, the topic of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program has been discussed in today’s hearing.  The Secretary and I discussed the BCAP program a couple weeks ago, and I appreciated him taking the time to discuss some of my concerns.  I trust the Department of Agriculture is continuing to do what it can to resolve the concerns I raised, and I thank the Secretary for his attention to the matter.

In the Secretary’s prepared comments, he noted there is an opportunity for Congress to streamline some of the farm bill programs.  It never ceases to amaze me how many programs USDA has to administer.  While most of them serve a very good purpose, we have a responsibility to cut redundancies and inefficiencies and bring common sense and thoughtfulness to some of the programs. I am confident this committee is up for this task.

One example where we may need to focus more attention is the Broadband Initiatives Program under the Rural Utility Service created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  There is a need for rural America to be wired so broadband can be made available.  We need to focus more on unserved areas and be very careful about allowing taxpayer loans to be disbursed to underserved areas where there is already a network funded with private capital.

I and many others are concerned with the funding of duplicative broadband networks and the costs this incurs. I have learned the Rural Utility Service is looking at revising the Broadband Initiatives Program financial models to reflect the changes in the Federal Communication Commission’s 2011 Universal Service Fund Reform Order.  Perhaps this is an opportunity for the Rural Utility Service to revive its approach regarding loans to areas where private providers are already offering broadband service.  I hope this leads to helpful steps to ensure the Broadband Initiatives Program keeps to the original goal of bringing broadband to unserved rural America.


Governor Quinn Makes Cabinet Appointment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Nafia Khan   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:43

Names Bob Flider to Head Department of Agriculture

SPRINGFIELD – February 15, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today named Bob Flider director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Today’s action is the latest in a series of appointments Governor Quinn has made as he continues to fulfill his commitment to creating jobs, fostering economic development, and increasing efficiency and accountability in all areas of state government.

“It is important that our Agriculture agency is led by someone who understands the key role of agri-business in our economy,” Governor Quinn said. "Throughout his career, Bob Flider was a tireless, effective leader for rural farming communities and global agri-business leaders. He served his district with distinction, and I am pleased he will continue to serve all the people of our state.”

Bob Flider served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2003 through 2011. As a legislator, Flider worked on a number of agriculture issues, serving on the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee, the Energy & Environment Committee and the Ethanol Production Oversight Committee. Flider also served as chairman of the House Electric Generation & Commerce Committee and vice chairman of the House Renewable Energy Committee. He was named an “Agriculture Certified Legislator” by the Illinois Farm Bureau in 2004, and he was named a “Friend of Agriculture” by the Illinois Farm Bureau in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

“Bob has a thorough understanding of the issues facing agriculture and agri-business, and he will be a strong advocate for all the state’s agricultural sectors as Director,” said Chris Olsen, Vice President of Community and Government Affairs at Tate & Lyle.

“After spending the last several years advocating for people in our farming communities and agribusiness, I look forward to continuing that work on a statewide level,” Flider said. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this important position and I look forward to working closely with our state's agriculture and agribusiness leaders to help Governor Quinn double Illinois' exports by 2014.”

Flider brings a variety of management, agriculture and economic development experiences to the Department of Agriculture. Since March of 2011, he has been Director of Broadband Impact -- promoting technology access in rural Illinois communities -- at the not-for-profit Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He also serves on the board of directors for United Way of Illinois and is an associate member of the Macon County Farm Bureau. He is a past board Director of the Decatur-Macon County Economic Development Corporation and member of the Mt. Zion Chamber of Commerce. He served as mayor of Mt. Zion from 1995 until 2003, and started his career as a news reporter with the Mattoon Journal Gazette and Charleston Times-Courier.

Flider received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 1979. He resides in Mt. Zion with his wife, Jean. They have three adult children and one grandchild.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) regulates Illinois agribusiness to protect both producers and consumers of raw and processed agricultural products from mislabeled, contaminated or diseased commodities. Agency programs help to protect our state’s natural resources through regulatory oversight and financial incentives. The department also promotes Illinois agriculture by conducting state fairs, providing grant assistance to 4-H clubs, funding county fairs, marketing Illinois agricultural products and providing assistance to develop new, value-added agricultural ventures.


<< Start < Prev 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 Next > End >>

Page 143 of 184