Tag Archives: agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today ruled in favor of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in its appeal to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The court rejected HSUS’s attempt to advance an anti-meat activist agenda through an unwarranted suit designed to hurt 60,000 U.S. pork producers and undermine a farm sector critical to rural communities and that employs hundreds of thousands of Americans.

 

The court rejected HSUS’ attempted challenge to the National Pork Board’s 2006 federally approved purchase from NPPC of trademarks associated with the organization’s “Pork: The Other White Meat” campaign and payments associated with the agreement. While HSUS claimed it and others were injured because proceeds from the transaction were misappropriated by the National Pork Board, the pork “checkoff,” the D.C. Circuit found that HSUS and its fellow plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they had suffered harm from the transaction, including the associated payments.

 

“The dismissal of this case is a win for American pork producers who depend on NPPC’s issues advocacy work and the research, education and promotional work performed by the National Pork Board,” said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, NC and NPPC’s president. “The real misappropriation of funds is HSUS’s continued efforts to fundraise under false pretenses while using its proceeds to attack farmers dedicated to feeding billions of people at home and abroad.”

A Wisconsin lawmaker is demanding changes to Department of Agriculture trade aid distributions. Democrat Ron Kind, a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, says the current Market Facilitation Program favors large farmers.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Kind says a study shows the top one percent of large farms received an average of $183,000 in trade aid, while the bottom eighty percent received under $5,000, on average. Additionally, 82 large farms received more than $500,000 and 95 percent of all payments went to the top 50 percent of farms.

The report also found that over $38 million in payments were sent to those living in large U.S. cities. In the letter, Representative Kind asked Secretary Perdue to outline what changes USDA would be making to ensure the second trade aid package is “effectively spending taxpayer dollars” and ensure the payments will be provided “solely to farmers facing the current difficult trade environment to export their products abroad.” USDA expects to send the next of payments soon.

Washington, D.C. – As part of his 2019 Ag Update Tour, Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will host August listening sessions in Alliance, York, and Auburn.

 

The Ag Update Tour provides Third District constituents an opportunity to hear from Smith and his special guests on the future of agriculture policy. In addition to Smith, officials such as Ambassador Gregg Doud, Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Director Steve Wellman of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and Director Jim Macy of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, will join the discussions on selected dates.

 

“Sound agriculture policies are a crucial part of ensuring farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to succeed,” Smith said.  “I am grateful Ambassador Doud, Director Macy, and Director Wellman are taking time out of their busy schedules to join us for these conversations with Nebraska producers, and I am looking forward to constructive meetings. Getting policy right will help our producers overcome the challenges they face and ensure the Third District remains the top-producing agriculture district in the country.”

 

Alliance Ag Update Tour Session

Tuesday, August 27

West Side Event Center

2472 Co Rd 62, Alliance, NE 69301

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (MDT)

 

York Ag Update Tour Session

Wednesday, August 28

Crossroads GPS

2711 Enterprise Ave, York, NE 68467

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)

 

 

Auburn Ag Update Tour Session

Thursday, August 29

Auburn City Hall

1101 J St, Auburn, NE 68305

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)

 

 

For questions about these events, please contact Smith’s Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.

REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson hosted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue during a bipartisan listening session with members of the House Agriculture Committee and other members of Congress this morning at the annual Minnesota Farmfest.Peterson issued the following statement after the listening session:

“With all of the stress in farm country, it was important for Secretary Perdue to be here at Farmfest so Minnesota farmers could share directly with the Administration the issues they are having first-hand. At the forum farmers shared serious concerns about the trade war; the potential benefits of USMCA, which I support; the ongoing need for labor on dairy farms and other agricultural operations; and issues brought on by bad weather in the spring and throughout planting season, among many other topics. We talked about new programs in the Farm Bill and ways those programs will help farmers, with a particular focus on the dairy folks and what the new Dairy Margin Coverage program can do for them.

“We heard loudly and clearly that farmers don’t want to get their revenue from the government, but we also know that we at the federal level have a responsibility to make sure folks aren’t left behind as a result of forces beyond their control. There is still a lot of work to be done, and I’m going to continue do what I can as Chair of the Agriculture Committee as well as work with the Secretary to help.”

GARDEN CITY, Kan. — Kansas State University is partnering with the Kansas Water Office and farmers across a swath of western Kansas to host eight Water Technology Field Days in August and September. The events are designed to show agricultural producers and others how the newest crop irrigation research and technology is being applied in real-life situations on private farms.

The dates, locations and times are:

  • Aug. 8 – Tribune – Homeland Farm – 5 p.m.
  • Aug. 9 – Hesston – Jacob, Weber and R&E Goering farms – 10:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 20 – Scott City – Circle C and Long farms – 10:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 23 – Larned – WaterPACK & ILS Farm – 10:30 a.m.
  • Sept. 4 – Goodland – NW Kansas Tech College Farms – 9:30 a.m. (multiple events)
  • Sept. 5 – Garden City – The GCC-Roth Family, T&O and Harshberger farms – 10:30 a.m.
  • Sept. 5 – Liberal – Hatcher Land & Cattle Farm – 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 10 – Troy – Loess Hills Water Quality Farm – 9 a.m.

The KWO provides financial assistance to K-State’s efforts to give technical support for some of the technology demonstration farms.

“K-State Research and Extension is committed to developing and promoting new irrigation technologies that will be environmentally and economically efficient while conserving and protecting limited water resources,” said Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. “The K-State Research and Extension services conducted at these Water Technology Farms significantly advances the knowledge of the most efficient water management technology and practices.”

Some of the technologies that these Water Technology Farms have are replicated in small plots at the Southwest Research-Extension Center in Garden City.

“We are excited to work with the producers on these farms because we could validate the results in our research plots to the production scale and conditions of actual farms,” said Jonathan Aguilar, K-State associate professor and water resource engineer located in Garden City.

He leads the monitoring activities of six water technology farms within the Ogallala Aquifer region.

“We hope farmers can see better options in managing their water as their peers test new – and even not so new – irrigation technologies,” he said.

More information on other collaborators and details on the field days is available online or by contacting Armando Zarco, KWO water resource planner, at 620-765-7485.

A pair of K-State Research and Extension western stations that are conducting irrigation research are also hosting field days this month:

Tariffs are now costing the U.S. up to $6 billion a month, according to Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. The trade group says American businesses and consumers paid $6 billion in tariffs in June 2019, one of the highest tariffed months in U.S. history.

The June figure is up 2.5 billion, or 74 percent, from the same month last year. The data, compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau, is the first look at the impact of the escalation of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent in May. The data comes days after President Trump announced yet another round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion in goods, which are set to take effect September 1. China responded to by stopping purchases of U.S. ag products.

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman Jonathan Gold says the tariffs are “costing American jobs, raising prices, hurting farmers and derailing U.S. economic growth.” In total, American taxpayers have paid over $27 billion in extra import tariffs since the trade war began.

The runoff season along the Missouri River, abruptly started by the bomb-cyclone in March, has finally peaked in 2019. However, the Army Corps of Engineers says water releases from the river system dams will likely remain high through the fall.

The forecast calls for 2019 total runoff at 52.9 million-acre feet, the second-highest ever recorded, behind the devastating 2011 season. Total upper basin runoff through July 31 was 45.3 million-acre feet, exceeding the total upper basin runoff in 2018 of 42.1 million-acre feet. Runoff remained particularly high in the reaches from Garrison Dam in North Dakota to Sioux City, Iowa, which ranged between three to seven times average in July. The number of flood warnings has declined along the river.

However, those hit hardest in 2011 in Northwest Missouri, and along other stretches of the river, remain in flood stage. Farm fields remain covered with floodwaters in those areas, and the extended high water releases leave little hope for fields to drain anytime soon.

Representative Mike Conaway of Texas announced Wednesday he would not seek reelection. The long-time House Agriculture Committee member and former Chairman calls his time in Congress “an honor and privilege that I cannot adequately describe.” Conaway made the announcement in Midland, Texas, during a news conference.

Conaway told reporters he would be term-limited from continuing his leadership as the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, noting little opportunity for leadership positions elsewhere. Given the situation, he called this “the perfect time” to transition. During his chairmanship, Conaway led the House Ag Committee in crafting the 2018 farm bill. He previously chaired the House Ethics Committee, and currently serves on four committees.

The 71-year-old was first elected to represent the 11th District of Texas when it was redrawn to include Midland in 2005. Conaway is a military veteran and CPA, who noted at the end of his current term, he will have spent 34 percent of his adult life in public service.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — A Kansas wheat farmer testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on “Perspectives on Reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act” on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

Brian Linin, a farmer from Goodland and member of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, provided testimony about the importance of the Federal Grain Inspection Service on behalf of wheat farmers.

“The farmer works to provide the highest quality product that feeds the world. FGIS helps ensure that our customers are receiving the exact specifications that they need,” said Linin. “We’ve provided a lot of information on milling quality, the inspection services and our production processes to our buyers giving them more confidence in our high quality product that other countries can’t always ensure.”

The U.S.’s grain inspection system, authorized through the Grain Standards Act, provides certainty to our foreign customers that all U.S. grains and oilseeds have been inspected and certified by an independent agency. This service is a great, unique value to U.S. commodities and is an important enhancement for our products on the competitive world market.

“As a grower of winter wheat, among other crops, I wanted to be with you here to serve as a voice for fellow wheat farmers across the country about the importance of maintaining a smooth export system,” said Linin. “It’s been a very difficult few years for farmers. Having a functioning and respected grain inspection system has enabled the U.S. to be a reliable exporter and facilitate continued demand for our commodities. When we’ve seen disruptions to our grain inspection system in the past it has resulted in billions of dollars of lost value throughout the production chain.”
The Grain Standards Act serves a critical role in exporting grains and oilseeds, including U.S. wheat, of which about 50% is exported each year. U.S. wheat exports increased despite bearish factors such as a strong U.S. dollar, uncertainty about U.S. trade policies, and difficult inland transportation logistics. A properly functioning grain inspection system is critical.

“The grain inspection system is one that is valued by our overseas customers and adds value to our commodities,” Linin reported. “Foreign customers can be assured that an independent agency has certified shipments to meet the grade requirements specified in a contract. This certainty and reliability has helped wheat and other U.S. commodities to grow our export markets and serves as a significant advantage of purchasing U.S. wheat versus wheat from other origins.”

Other testimonies for the committee were provided by Tom Dahl, president of the American Association of Grain Inspection and Weighing Agencies, Bruce Sutherland, member of the board of directors for the National Grain and Feed Association and Nick Friant, chairman of the Grades & Inspections Committee North American Export Grain Association. For the Brian Linin’s full written testimony, please visit kansaswheat.org.

Farmland values slipped some during the first half of this year in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. However, Farm Credit Services of America says overall that the market for cropland values continues to make adjustments to the current agricultural economy.

The value of the 64 benchmark farms that FCSA keeps track of declined an average of 0.59 percent in the first half of this year. Since the farmland market peaked back in 2013, cropland values have dropped 20 percent in Iowa, 21 percent in Nebraska, and 12 percent in South Dakota in the company’s benchmark farmland study.

Tim Koch, FCSA’s Chief Credit Officer, says, “Despite continued tight commodity price margins in 2018, real estate values remained stable and were supported by favorable interest rates, market facilitation payments, and equilibrium in supply and demand for real estate.” While Iowa farmland had the biggest decline in value during the benchmark study, values are still up 2.7 percent from a year ago. The average quality of land has not changed in the past year, and buyer demand for high-quality ground remains strong.