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

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