Conservation Commitment in Senate Farm Bill

Cindy Zimmerman

The Senate Agriculture Committee voted 15-5 today to approve their version of a 2013 farm bill. “The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act includes an even stronger commitment to conservation, one borne out of the efforts by environmental and agricultural groups who sat down together to find a way to protect our soil and water resources necessary to keep agriculture …

Conservation, Farm Bill, Government

USDA’s 110 Value-Added Grants Include Biomass

John Davis

The USDA has named the recipients of 110 Value-Added grants for agricultural producers and rural businesses. This agency news release says the grants include biomass-based products and is hoped to spur the rural economy: “This support will benefit rural businesses and the communities where the recipients are located,” Vilsack said. “These awards also will advance USDA’s goals to develop a …

General, Government, USDA

Opening up Global Ag Data Sharing

Cindy Zimmerman

At the kickoff of the G8 Open Data for Agriculture conference this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new virtual community to give increased public access to food, agriculture, and rural data. “This new online community is a big step toward opening information for agriculture, making it public in useable formats,” said Vilsack. “This will increase the value of …

Data Collection, General, Government, technology, USDA

Preview of Open Data for Agriculture Conference

Chuck Zimmerman

USDA just held a preview press conference for next week’s G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture. On the phone with the press were USDA Chief Scientist Dr. Catherine Woteki and Dr. Simon Liu, Director of the National Agricultural Library. There are plans to do live streaming during the conference and people are encouraged to tweet about the conference …

Audio, Data Collection, Government, USDA

EPA Advisor Aims to Build Trust with Ag

Talia Goes

The new senior Agricultural Counselor to the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator held a conference call Tuesday to discuss her background and her role as an advisor at EPA on ways environmental policy may impact growers and the greater agriculture community. Sarah Bittleman accepted the new position with EPA in February after serving Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as USDA Senior Advisor …

Agribusiness, Audio, Government, USDA

Ignore Agriculture at Your Peril

Cindy Zimmerman

The chairman of the House Agriculture Committee spoke to farmer and rancher representatives in Washington DC at National Ag Day activities on Tuesday, praising those who work in the agriculture industry. “The fact of the matter is we’re a critical part of the national economy and the food safety net for the country and the planet,” Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK) …

Ag Day, Audio, Government

G-8 to Talk Open Data for Agriculture

Cindy Zimmerman

Next month the G-8 International Conference will be holding an important event in Washington on Open Data for Agriculture. The purpose, according to USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Catherine Woteki, is “to make our agriculturally-relevant research and statistical data accessible to users in Africa and around the world.” Woteki explained in a USDA blog …

Government, USDA

The Sequester is Coming

Cindy Zimmerman

Sequester is scheduled to take effect on March 1 and so far Congress has made no effort to prevent the across the board spending cuts from taking place. I talked with GROWMARK government affairs director Chuck Spencer to find out more about this monster called Sequester. Spencer explains that sequestration traces back to the Budget Control Act of 2011 requiring …

Government, Growmark