Illinois Governor Launches Cover Crop Demo Project

Cindy Zimmerman

At the Farm Progress Show last week, Governor Pat Quinn announced the start of a three-year demonstration project by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to encourage the planting of environmentally-beneficial cover crops. The initiative’s goal is to improve water quality in Illinois lakes and streams by reducing soil erosion and nutrient run-off from farm fields. “Illinois is a leading agricultural …

Audio, Conservation, Farm Progress Show, Government

Ag Resource Management Survey for Peanuts

Cindy Zimmerman

The last time peanuts were the subject of a USDA Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) was 2004 but soon those outdated figures for peanut farmers financial and crop production practices will be updated, according to USDA officials who attended the 2013 Southern Peanut Growers Conference this past week in Panama City Beach, Florida. “This is a crucial time for us …

Audio, Government, sustainability, USDA

Voluntary Conservation Efforts Above Regulations

John Davis

Getting caught up in government regulations and red tape is something any farmer wants to avoid, and attendees of the recent Conservation Technology Information Center tour in Livingston County, Ill., heard how they can avoid more of that with voluntary programs, such as the one on display on the tour. Marcia Willhite, the Chief of the Bureau of Water with …

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Audio, Conservation, CTIC, environment, Government, Regulation

EPA Says Best Problem Solving Will Occur Locally

Chuck Zimmerman

During the CTIC Conservation in Action Tour I got this photo of EPA’s Denise Keehner, Director, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds and Acting Chief Jason Weller, USDA-NRCS. They were attending the CTIC Conservation in Action Tour and met after luncheon remarks by Denise. I spoke with Denise after her remarks and on the subject of inter-agency cooperation she says …

Ag Group, Audio, Conservation, CTIC, Government

House Passes ‘Partisan’ Farm Bill

Joanna Schroeder

Agricultural groups are discouraged with the passage today of the U.S. House of Representatives’ H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (FARRM). The bill slid through with a tight margin of 216 to 208 after more than six hours of debate today and did not include food stamp authorization or nutrition programs, which the House …

Agribusiness, Farm Bill, Government

House Rejects Five Year Farm Bill

Cindy Zimmerman

Despite an impassioned plea by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas to “move this bill forward” the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (FARRM) failed on a vote of 194 to 234, with 60 Republicans joining the majority of Democrats to defeat the House version of the farm bill. “If it fails today, I can’t guarantee you’ll …

Audio, Farm Bill, Government

Full Senate Passes Farm Bill

Cindy Zimmerman

By a vote of 66 to 27, the full Senate passed its version of a 2013 Farm Bill Monday evening that includes a strong conservation commitment. “The Senate has again passed a deficit-reducing, bipartisan bill that will help our farms, our families, our economy, our environment,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) upon passage of the bill. “This bill saves more …

Conservation, Farm Bill, Government

Rural Interests Concerned About Losing Local TV

Cindy Zimmerman

“Water, sunlight, and soil are essential ingredients to agricultural businesses and the communities that rely on them. So too is spectrum, and the free, local news and information broadcasted on it.” That’s the first line of a letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week from agricultural interests regarding concerns about television translator service and low power television …

Audio, Government

Cotton in the Farm Bills

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Cotton Council (NCC) is pleased with the farm bills out of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees this week that make some pretty significant changes in the cotton program to hopefully provide final resolution of the longstanding Brazil WTO case. “The focus has been to try and come up with farm policy for cotton in the new farm …

Audio, Farm Bill, Government

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