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Health Insurance and National Farm Policy

In the midst of national healthcare debates, there has been little discussion of how health, healthcare costs and access, and health insurance fit into national agriculture policy efforts to build a more vibrant and resilient farm economy. Yet Inwood (2015) found that 65% of commercial farmers identified the cost of health insurance as the most serious threat to their farm, more significant than the cost of land, inputs, market conditions, or development pressure.

Cotton, dairy provisions slide into budget deal

t may have taken about three years, but a lobbying campaign by the cotton and dairy industries to increase their subsidies may just pay off.  The budget and disaster-aid package worked out by congressional leaders on Wednesday would make seed cotton eligible for Price Loss Coverage, which makes payments to growers when crop prices drop below certain levels, starting with the 2018 crop year.

Racehorses, rum, honeybees: The surprises in the budget bill

Doctors. Honeybees. A small Christian college in Kentucky. Racehorses. The rum industry. The Federal Reserve. Livestock producers. Advocates of nuclear energy. Critics of the federal budget process. They all got a piece of the massive budget bill. Born of bipartisanship and propelled by a “must-pass” urgency, the measure, which includes disaster relief and stopgap spending, has been loaded up with little-noticed deals for lawmakers’ favorite causes.

Winners and Losers in the Trump Budget in One Chart

The Trump administration submitted its fiscal 2019 budget request to Capitol Hill on Monday, outlining the president’s priorities for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.  Roll Call analyzed the documents and put together the following graphic on the departmental winners and losers in the proposed budget The agriculture budget loses more than 15%.  About the same level as defense gains.

What’s Hidden in the Senate Spending Bill?

Tucked into the Senate budget bill are a host of provisions that help a broad array of industries and sectors, including energy, health care and education, through increased spending and tax credits. The Senate deal would raise strict spending caps on domestic and military spending in this fiscal year and the next by about $300 billion.

Cruz scapegoating the renewable fuels standard

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz recently took to the Senate floor to object to a unanimous consent agreement that would have allowed a confirmation vote on President Donald Trump’s choice to be USDA’s undersecretary for farm production and conservation, a critical post as Congress begins deliberations on the farm bill’s reauthorization.

Health insurance is a make-or-break issue for farmers

Almost two thirds of commercial farmers say the cost of health insurance poses the biggest threat to their livelihoods — bigger even than land costs or market pressures, according to a new study. Most farmers viewed insurance as a must-have in a dangerous occupation where a single accident could be catastrophic.

Congress outlines details of dairy, cotton provisions in budget deal

The budget deal unveiled by congressional leaders late Wednesday would authorize more than $1 billion in spending on farm bill programs for dairy farmers and $3 billion for cotton growers over the next decade. The cost of making seed cotton eligible for commodity supports, including Price Loss Coverage, would mostly be offset by eliminating other programs in the farm bill that specifically benefit cotton. The dairy provisions, which would make changes to the Margin Protection Program — such as lowering premiums for small- and medium-sized producers — would not be offset, however.

The FCC considers reducing the minimum speed for broadband

But those speeds are not readily available in rural areas. The FCC is actually considering reducing the standard, which critics say may make the rural digital divide disappear on paper, but not in real life. Rural residents have few choices of internet service providers – or none at all. They pay higher prices for lower quality service, despite earning less than urban dwellers.A related issue is that fewer rural Americans are online: 39 percent of rural Americanslack home broadband access – in contrast to only 4 percent of urban Americans.

Why the Bundy crew keeps winning in court

Last week a Las Vegas jury acquitted two men — Ricky Lovelien of Montana and Steven Stewart of Idaho — for their parts in the 2014 armed standoff between the federal government and supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy. The jury found co-defendants Eric Parker and Scott Drexler not guilty of most charges but deadlocked on some. When it comes to trying the Bundys and their supporters, federal prosecutors now have a terrible record, winning just two convictions after two trials of six defendants in Nevada this year.


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