USDA Racks Up Cost Savings by Dialing Back Indemnity Potential for Prevented Planting Claims. Farmers in Northern Plains states and parts of the Corn Belt will lose the prospect of larger potential payouts under prevented planting claims following a crop-insurance change announced earlier this week by USDA's Risk Management Agency.For years, the Obama administration repeatedly sought a $1.4-billion cost savings over 10 years by asking Congress to reform prevented planting coverage by eliminating the option of buying 10% higher coverage for prevented planting. Without calling on Congress, the Trump administration made multiple changes to prevented planting insurance this week in line with spending cuts proposed in the Obama era.On Monday, in a memo sent out to insurers and USDA Risk Management Agency field offices, USDA eliminated the Prevented Planting +10 Percent Option for the 2018 crop year and future crop years. USDA kept the 5% option for farmers, though analysis shows very few farmers have taken the 5% option. The 10% option paid out more than $4 billion in indemnities from 1994-2013.
U.S. agricultural cooperatives are building new soybean crushing plants at the fastest rate in two decades as farmers in the world’s top producer prepare to sow another record area with soy.U.S. processors are expected to open plants with capacity to process at least 120 million bushels of soybeans in 2019, up around 5 percent from existing capacity of an estimated 1.9 billion bushels.
While Florida oranges have long occupied iconic status in American life, if Congress does not act promptly, Florida’s agricultural industry, including its treasured citrus growers and the communities that depend on it, could mark the end of Florida orange production and the state’s vital agricultural sector. Hurricane Irma caused enormous damage to Florida’s citrus growers. Of the $2.5 billion in damages inflicted by Hurricane Irma on Florida’s agricultural industry, Florida’s orange crop suffered the most — at $760 million, according to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Compounding the struggles of Florida’s citrus growers, the storm struck just a few weeks before harvest, wiping out the crop in hardest hit areas. Irma’s impact not only decimated more than half of this year’s orange crop, it also affects future harvests. The latest crop of oranges from Florida’s growers was the lowest in 75 years.It will take years for Florida agriculture and citrus growers to recover from Hurricane Irma’s catastrophic impact.
In order to move this needle, Pingree in May introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017 (H.R. 2436), which proposes more than doubling the program’s funding to $50 million per year through 2023, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Support for the legislation has been picking up steam, with more than 50 new co-sponsors (47 Democrats, 4 Republicans) signing on between September and November 2017. Organizations like the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and Beyond Pesticides are all lobbying for its passage, and Rodale Institute’s Organic Farmers’ Association included it in the group’s first round of policy positions.But at a time when the administration is largely focused on cuts to agricultural funding, will lawmakers be able to gain enough support to get the increased funding into the 2018 Farm Bill?At this stage in the process, the legislation has strong bipartisan support and Tencer says she’s “cautiously optimistic.” Although it’s not clear where the money will come from, Gandhi says, since the overall tenor of conversations is on paring down costs, “in the big scheme of things, this ask is not that drastic. Its impact on the people who apply for these grants, however, is huge.”
Better make that back to the court we go—and this time with a bigger posse: Last week, 12 states banded together to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block the “egg sales law,” alleging that it cost consumers upwards of $350 million in higher egg prices and is unconstitutional because it violates the interstate commerce clause—meaning that it’s preempted by federal law.This suit cites a study from a University of Missouri economist, which, the L.A. Times reported in a December 4 article, had found that “the national price of a dozen eggs has increased between 1.8% and 5.1% since January 2015 because of the California cage requirements.”Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (who is seeking the Republican nomination in Missouri’s 2018 senate election), called the regulations discriminatory against farmers, announcing in a December 4 press release that they are “a clear attempt by big-government proponents to impose job-killing regulations on Missouri.”In addition to Missouri—which was part of the 2014 complaint—Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin have joined the challenge.
President Donald Trump’s repeated threats to pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement have kept the U.S. ag sector on edge for months, but many have been able to dismiss the comments as just part of a particularly aggressive negotiating tactic.That time has passed, though, and farm sector leaders are expressing concern that Trump may have no intention of allowing the current NAFTA negotiations to succeed.Whether it’s through so-called “poison pill” proposals designed to doom the talks to failure or whether the White House will simply pull the plug, severing decades-old ties with Mexico and Canada, the prospect of an end to NAFTA is prompting an onslaught of lobbying from CEOs, lawmakers and state leaders across the country.The dairy industry has a lot to lose if NAFTA is scuttled. Mexico - with its 135 million consumers - is the largest foreign market for U.S. dairy products, and the trade pact insures that there are no tariffs on U.S. shipments south of the border.
Minnesota became the latest U.S. state on Tuesday to restrict controversial weed killers made by Monsanto Co and BASF SE that were linked to widespread crop damage, while Arkansas took a step back from imposing new limits.The United States has faced an agricultural crisis this year caused by new versions of the herbicides, which are based on a chemical known as dicamba. Farmers and weed experts say the products harm crops that cannot resist dicamba because the herbicides evaporate and drift away from where they are applied, a process known as volatilization.Monsanto and BASF say the products are safe when used properly.Monsanto is banking on its dicamba-based herbicide and soybean seeds engineered to resist it, called Xtend, to dominate soybean production in the United States, the world’s second-largest exporter.However, Minnesota will prohibit summertime sprayings of dicamba-based herbicides after June 20 in a bid to prevent a repeat of damage seen across the U.S. farm belt this year, according to the state’s agriculture department.
President Donald Trump’s administration called two lawmakers from the U.S. corn belt to convince them to join talks about potential changes to biofuels policy to ease the burden on oil refineries, according to a spokesman for one of the lawmakers and a source briefed on the matter.
A push is underway to have the U.S. government remove barriers to clinical trials of marijuana to see how effective it is in treating ailments in both pets and people, and one university in Colorado is already testing dogs with arthritis and epilepsy.People anxious to relieve suffering in their pets are increasingly turning to oils and powders that contain CBDs, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. But there’s little data on whether they work, or if they have harmful side effects.That’s because Washington has been standing in the way of clinical trials, veterinarians and researchers say. Now, a push is underway to have barriers removed, so both pets and people can benefit.
Canadian officials announced Thursday that they’ve secured expanded access to China’s market for beef and pork exports.The announcement followed completion Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trade mission to China.The notable agricultural developments include:The launching of a pilot project for the export of Canadian chilled/fresh meat (beef and pork) to China. The pilot project allows for the export of chilled/fresh meat to China originating from Canadian establishments approved to participate in the pilot project. China has approved the import of frozen bone-in beef in accordance with the 2016 agreement to work towards expanded market access to China for Canada's beef products.