Agribusiness
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Address Enhancing Global Security at Events in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications Office   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 13:10

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2011 –Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will give remarks on global food security on TUESDAY at Iowa State University in Ames and on THURSDAY at the World Food Prize in Des Moines. Vilsack will discuss how the continued innovation and creativity of American scientists, farmers and policy-makers are essential to confront the combined challenges of feeding a growing global population, mitigating the effects of climate change, and meeting increasing energy demands at home and abroad.

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

5:00 p.m. CDT

WHAT: Secretary Vilsack to give remarks on global food security at the Iowa State University Lecture Program World Affairs Series.

WHERE: Iowa State University

Memorial Union – South Ballroom

2229 Lincoln Way

Ames, IA 50014

 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10:15 a.m. CDT

WHAT: Secretary Vilsack to give remarks on global food security at the World Food Prize panel, “Sharing Agricultural Knowledge to Drive Sustainable Growth.”

WHERE: Marriot Hotel

700 Grand Avenue

Des Moines, IA 50309

#

 
USDA Issues Conservation Reserve Program Rental Payments to Help Safeguard Soil and Water on 417,000 Farms PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications Office   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:36

I thought you might be interested to see these statements of support on USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program, which announced today payments to help safeguard soil and water on 417,000 farms. See today’s press release from USDA’s Farm Service Agency at the end of this alert.

Thank you.

David Nomsen, Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever

“CRP delivers habitat to wildlife. Examples range from doubling and tripling local pheasant populations to adding two million ducks annually to fall migrations and preventing species from being listed as threatened and endangered. America needs a strong CRP, along with an entire suite of other voluntary incentive-based conservation programs, as the starting point to sustain continued agricultural production.”

John Salazar, Colorado Agriculture Commissioner

“The Conservation Reserve Program has a significant environmental impact, not only across the country, but in Colorado as well. This program encourages sound conservation practices that will have lasting benefits for generations to come.  Agricultural producers have long held the responsibility of protecting our natural resources and the CRP is a vital resource in that effort.”

Bill Northey, Iowa Agriculture Secretary

“The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a very important USDA program helping farmers better care for their land and protect water quality. Iowa landowners continue to add acres in the continuous enrollment CRP, which is especially valuable in targeting benefits to the most sensitive acres. Over 50,000 Iowa farms have at least some of their acres enrolled in CRP, with payments to Iowa landowners exceeding $200 million.”

 

Release No. PENDING                   

Contact:

Isabel Benemelis (202) 720-7809

 

USDA Issues Conservation Reserve Program Rental Payments to Help Safeguard Soil and Water on 417,000 Farms

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2011—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will distribute Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rental payments to participants across the country. USDA’s Farm Service Agency administers CRP, while technical support functions are provided by public and private sector partners. CRP is a voluntary program that helps agricultural producers safeguard environmentally sensitive land and provide millions of acres of habitat for game and non-game wildlife species. Participants enroll in CRP contracts for 10 to 15 years. Currently, total CRP enrollment stands at 29.9 million acres.

“CRP protects millions of acres of American topsoil from erosion and is designed to safeguard the America’s natural resources,” said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. “By reducing water runoff and sedimentation, CRP protects groundwater and helps improve the condition of lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. Acreage enrolled in the CRP is planted to resource-conserving vegetative covers, making the program a major contributor to increased wildlife populations in many parts of the country.”

The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) makes annual rental payments based on the agriculture rental value of the land, and it provides cost-share assistance for up to 50 percent of the participant's costs in establishing approved conservation practices.

USDA also issues non-rental CRP payments throughout the year. These payments include a 50 percent expense reimbursement for establishing and managing cover as well as incentive payments for enrolling eligible high priority conservation practices.

Beginning today, producers holding 752,000 contracts on 417,000 farms will receive an average CRP rental payment of $55.06 per acre. Producers will earn an average payment of $4,115 per farm enrolled in the program. Included in the totals are 414,000 contracts (5.1 million acres) for continuous CRP enrollments and 338,000 contracts (24.8 million acres) enrolled under general CRP. In all, the payments total approximately $1.7 billion.

A table, located below and at fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/apportstate091311.pdf, lists acreage enrollments by state, number of contracts, number of farms, acres enrolled as of the end of the 2011 fiscal year and CRP projected rental payments for fiscal year 2012.

 

CRP ENROLLMENT AS OF SEPTEMBER 2011

AND OCTOBER 2011 RENTAL PAYMENTS

STATE

NUMBER OF CONTRACTS

NUMBER OF FARMS

ACRES ENROLLED

RENTAL PAYMENTS

ALABAMA

9,093

6,480

395,901

$18,141,752

ALASKA

42

27

19,013

$668,053

ARKANSAS

5,956

3,299

250,340

$14,936,106

CALIFORNIA

499

387

122,237

$4,659,639

COLORADO

12,719

6,194

2,235,943

$73,650,439

CONNECTICUT

15

13

140

$9,162

DELAWARE

665

349

6,862

$766,093

FLORIDA

1,324

1,070

56,729

$2,275,180

GEORGIA

9,095

6,465

319,923

$15,014,654

HAWAII

9

9

167

$9,632

IDAHO

5,213

2,993

670,935

$29,621,296

ILLINOIS

82,534

45,127

1,037,082

$118,721,765

INDIANA

38,337

21,468

285,976

$31,139,269

IOWA

106,772

53,601

1,666,077

$212,962,880

KANSAS

47,264

26,905

2,736,915

$109,709,259

KENTUCKY

17,636

9,463

358,796

$39,807,984

LOUISIANA

5,047

3,211

327,080

$20,126,120

MAINE

678

470

17,936

$928,192

MARYLAND

6,456

3,533

79,171

$10,912,633

MASSACHUSETTS

4

4

15

$2,566

MICHIGAN

15,236

8,723

229,102

$20,186,751

MINNESOTA

63,119

33,153

1,636,074

$110,093,906

MISSISSIPPI

19,879

12,498

852,099

$40,940,444

MISSOURI

36,532

21,133

1,362,793

$100,874,589

MONTANA

15,267

6,018

2,860,998

$91,784,050

NEBRASKA

28,249

15,840

1,079,983

$65,437,490

NEW HAMPSHIRE

5

5

58

$3,222

NEW JERSEY

290

203

2,586

$180,757

NEW MEXICO

2,006

1,292

455,015

$15,239,837

NEW YORK

2,885

2,038

53,152

$3,711,019

NORTH CAROLINA

8,088

5,279

117,787

$8,076,182

NORTH DAKOTA

34,445

16,864

2,648,185

$95,840,798

OHIO

38,342

21,362

344,240

$41,058,917

OKLAHOMA

7,501

5,081

862,412

$28,890,320

OREGON

4,296

2,271

551,008

$28,631,923

PENNSYLVANIA

12,127

7,620

220,386

$22,658,340

PUERTO RICO

19

19

2,032

$129,681

SOUTH CAROLINA

7,665

4,318

159,085

$6,093,795

SOUTH DAKOTA

31,894

14,884

1,161,293

$65,161,870

TENNESSEE

7,356

4,883

204,698

$13,718,350

TEXAS

22,121

16,240

3,457,323

$124,337,837

UTAH

883

535

163,197

$5,082,238

VERMONT

381

270

2,835

$282,166

VIRGINIA

5,860

4,473

63,255

$3,743,311

WASHINGTON

12,477

5,182

1,459,939

$81,331,355

WEST VIRGINIA

463

377

5,945

$437,397

WISCONSIN

24,647

15,103

398,918

$31,852,908

WYOMING

972

653

226,591

$6,161,981

NOT REPORED 1/

1

1

28

$2,284

TOTALS

752,364

417,386

31,168,255

$1,716,006,394

1/ Data from States with fewer than 4 contracts not reported.

 

For more information on CRP, producers should contact their local FSA office or visit FSA's website at www.fsa.usda.gov.

 
(202) 720-4623 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Visit Iowa, Discuss the American Jobs Act and Efforts Underway to Strengthen the Iowa Economy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications Office   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:23

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2011 – TOMORROW, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will give remarks and hold a press conference on the American Jobs Act and efforts to strengthen the economy in Iowa.  The purpose of the American Jobs Act is to put more people back to work, put more money in the pockets of working Americans, and do so without adding to the deficit. In Iowa, without adding a dime to the deficit, this Act will provide a tax cut for over 60,000 businesses, support the jobs of 4,100 teachers and first responders and immediately provide over 5,000 construction workers a job improving highways and other critical infrastructure. A typical household in Iowa will receive a tax cut of around $1,580.

On Saturday morning, Secretary Vilsack is hosting a White House Business Council Meeting with business, community and agricultural leaders to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

3:00  p.m. CST

 

WHAT: Secretary Vilsack to host a press conference on the American Jobs Act and efforts to strengthen the economy in Iowa.

WHERE: Riverdale City Hall (Across from Alcoa Plant)

110 Manor Drive

Riverdale, Iowa

Saturday, October 8, 2011

11:30 a.m. CST

 

WHAT: Following the morning White House Business Council Meeting, Secretary Vilsack to host a press conference on the American Jobs Act and efforts to strengthen the economy in Iowa.

WHERE: CSPS

1st Floor Gallery

1103 3rd St. SE

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

 
“America's Agricultural Labor Crisis: Enacting a Practical Solution” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 15:50

 

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley

Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security

Hearing on: “America's Agricultural Labor Crisis: Enacting a Practical Solution”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The United States is blessed with a rich agricultural bounty which provides food not only for U.S. consumers, but also for a growing world population. American farmers are the most productive food producers in the world.  In fact, each farmer feeds more than 120 people at home and abroad.

George Washington once said that "Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment to man."  Although I’m biased, I couldn’t agree more.  I have a special interest in today’s hearing because I am a family farmer.  I understand the agricultural needs of my state.  However, I also know that the needs of California and Vermont, for example, are different from Iowa.  Even though our industries are not identical, our interests and goals are the same.  We must be able to meet the needs of agriculture.  We must look for solutions that serve the industry and our country in the long-run.

America’s agricultural industry depends, in part, on the ability of farmers and ranchers to recruit and hire workers.  Unfortunately, more than half of today’s U.S. agricultural workforce is undocumented.  Some employers claim it’s because Americans will not perform the hard work that is required.  Some are using undocumented labor to cut costs.  Regardless of the reason, we find ourselves in a situation where employers are hiring illegal workers, allowing them to undercut their competition and to ignore the legal avenues we have in place to bring in foreign workers

I am well aware of the legislative proposals that would put millions of agricultural workers on a path to citizenship.  I was here in 1986 when we legalized more than one million workers in the Special Agricultural Worker program, known as SAW.  We underestimated how many people would come forward and take advantage of it.  We weren’t prepared to root out the fraud, and there was plenty of it.  More importantly, in 1986 we said it would be a one-time fix.  It’s obvious we were wrong.  We certainly cannot go down that road again.

Instead, we must consider a long-term solution to the industry’s needs.  The answer is to reform our current agricultural guestworker program known as the H-2A visa program.

Senator Chambliss has a bill, S. 1384, or the Harvest Act, that would make significant improvements to the H2A visa program.  I agree with many aspects of Senator Chambliss’ proposal, including making sure we streamline the process for employers and reducing the red tape that comes with using the program.  I am a proponent for expanding the program to include various agricultural industries in the program, such as dairy, animal agriculture and agricultural processing.  Many employers in my home state say they’re unable to use the program because it’s restricted to seasonal or temporary work.  We must make the program work better for those who desperately need the workers.  I hope to hear some constructive suggestions today to that end.

While I am a champion of the ag industry, I do have concerns that many agricultural employers are convinced that they won’t survive if they are required to electronically verify their workers.  E-Verify is a useful tool that’s accessible to anyone with a computer.  It’s reliable.  It’s free.  It’s web-based and easy to use.  More importantly, it’s helpful for employers who want to abide by the law and employ a legal workforce.

Opponents of E-Verify, I’m afraid, are using agriculture to argue against mandatory E-Verify participation.  I have long said that E-Verify must be a staple in every workplace, and that includes the agricultural sector.  I’m not in favor of carving out exemptions for certain industries, and I am willing to do what I can for small businesses and industries that need help to fully comply with potential requirements.

I thank the Chairman for holding this hearing today, and I’m glad we have a well-rounded group of witnesses to discuss the labor needs surrounding agriculture.  I’m also glad to be a part of the discussion on how to improve the current immigration system to ensure that they have access to the workers they truly need.  I hope my colleagues will join me in this effort to help the farmers and ranchers that feed America.

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Quinn Administration Announces Agreement with Taiwan to Sell Illinois Grain PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Monday, 03 October 2011 10:27

Illinois’ Grain Industry Could See Boost of As Much As $575 Million

SPRINGFIELD – September 27, 2011. As Governor Pat Quinn continues his efforts to increase Asian investment in Illinois, officials from the Quinn administration today announced a major agricultural trade agreement with Taiwan. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture hosted members of a Taiwanese trade delegation in Springfield as part of a goodwill mission designed to further a long-standing trade relationship.

“Illinois’ products are the best in the world, and we are committed to selling those products in the global marketplace,” Governor Quinn said. “Agreements that help us increase trade with Asia are essential to ensuring our role as a leader in the global economy and bringing good jobs home to Illinois.”

The 22-member delegation from Taiwan agreed to import additional Illinois grain in 2012 and 2013 and signed letters of intent with the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Soybean Association during a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

“The Illinois agriculture industry is dependent upon export agreements like this,” Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “Forty percent of Illinois grain is shipped out of the country and we thank the Taiwan Feed Industry Association and the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers not only for their business, but also for their long-standing friendship.”

The Taiwan Feed Industry Group signed commitments to purchase 303 million to 413 million bushels of U.S. corn and 0.5 million to 0.75 million metric tons of corn by-products. Illinois will supply approximately 43 million to 59 million bushels of the corn. At current prices, the deal is worth $288 million to $393 million to the state’s corn growers.

“Illinois farmers are pleased and encouraged by the sale of Illinois corn and corn products to the Taiwanese,” said Illinois Corn Marketing Board Chairman Bill Christ. “Even though this has been a tough year, Illinois farmers remain reliable producers, and Taiwan continues to be a valued customer.”

The delegation, which also included representatives from Taiwan’s Vegetable Oil Manufacturers and Oilseed Processing Association, signed similar letters outlining its intent to purchase up to 118 million bushels of U.S. soybeans.  Illinois’ share of the transaction is around 14 million bushels, or $182 million worth, of soybeans.

"We thank Taiwan for their continued support of our industry and Illinois soybean producers,” said Illinois Soybean Association Chairman Matt Hughes. “We look forward to building a stronger relationship with them, especially since more than half of our soybeans are exported to countries like Taiwan each year."

This year Taiwan is the sixth-largest export market for U.S. agricultural products and the fifth-largest market for U.S. corn and soybeans.

While here in the state the delegation will visit a central Illinois farm and tour a rail terminal grain elevator before continuing on its U.S. tour.

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