Kansas Farmer Testifies at Ag Technology Hearing

“Technology in Agriculture: Data-Driven Farming” was the topic of a hearing last week before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, & Data Security to examine the potential benefits of advancements in agricultural technology and the collection and utilization of data in farming. The only farmer to testify was Justin Knopf from Gypsum, Kansas, who talked about …

Ibach Sworn in, Northey Still on Hold for USDA

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue traveled to Omaha yesterday to swear-in new Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach in his home state. During the swearing-in ceremony, Perdue expressed his disappointment that Bill Northey was not also being sworn in at the same time, after his nomination was put on hold last week by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in …

House Ag Chair Says Farm Bill on Track

House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway (R-TX) says they are moving forward with work on the 2018 Farm Bill. “Still on track for late for fourth quarter (this year) or early first quarter of next year,” said Conaway during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “We’re going to be ready on the committee…when floor time opens up.” Rep. Conaway was …

Senator Grassley Rallies for Biodiesel

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) visited the Renewable Energy Group (REG) biodiesel plant in Newton, Iowa Tuesday to rally the industry in opposition to proposed EPA actions that would cut volumes of biodiesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In late September, EPA put out a “Notice of Data Availability” seeking input concerning potential reductions for biodiesel under the RFS, on …

Two More USDA Nominees Get Their Hearing

The Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday heard from nominees Greg Ibach to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and Bill Northey to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. Earlier this week, the full Senate approved Stephen Censky as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, and Ted McKinney as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade …

Ag Secretary Heads Home to Survey Irma Damage

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black asked Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to see first-hand the damage the Hurricane Irma caused to crops in his home state on September 15. The secretary will also travel to Florida and Texas next week to survey agricultural damage from both hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Perdue’s Georgia tour will take in damage to the state’s …

EPA Hearing Draws Biofuels Supporters

Over 140 witnesses provided feedback to the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday on the agency’s recent proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), with the majority supporting renewable fuels. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen thanked EPA for proposing to maintain the 15 billion gallon requirement for conventional renewable fuels in its 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) …

Historic Chinese Agreement to Help U.S. Rice

History was made this week when an agreement permitting US rice exports to China was signed during bi-lateral trade meetings held in Washington DC. An inspection of US rice mills and packaging facilities by the Chinese phytosanitary authorities is the next step to take place. The first exports to China will take several months but will provide a boost to …

Cattle Producers Fight Buzzard Predators

Cattle producers are seeking a depredation order from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service allowing producers to control the Black Headed Vulture, an invasive vulture species stalking and killing livestock. Adam McClung, Executive Vice President, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association (ACA), said, “The Black Headed Vultures and the depredation loss cattlemen are seeing has been an ongoing discussion inside the ACA with …

House Ag Hearing on Specialty Crop Innovations

The House Agriculture Committee heard testimony Wednesday on technology and innovation in specialty crops as input toward the making of the 2018 farm bill. Among those who testified was American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) President & CEO Andy LaVigne, who stressed that Farm Bill research programs and policies based on sound science are critical to the development of new technologies …

Dicamba Concerns Prompt State Actions

On the heels of Arkansas, Missouri has issued a pause on sale, use, and removal of all products labeled for agricultural use that contain dicamba. As of July 10th, the Missouri Department of Agriculture has had 145 pesticide drift complaints. *POST UPDATE* 7/14/17 Missouri Department of Agriculture releases Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order for ENGENIA, XTENDIMAX and FEXAPAN herbicides …

Trump Commits to Agriculture in Iowa

President Donald Trump stood among various models of John Deere and Case IH farm equipment as he pledged to boost agriculture exports, loosen federal regulations on the agriculture industry, and support ethanol and biofuels yesterday while speaking to a crowd of about 250 at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Listen to the full speech here: President Trump at …

Committee Hears Testimony on E15 Bill

Ethanol supporters and retailers made their case before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works committee Wednesday for a bill that would fix a frustrating and confusing situation and allow 15 percent ethanol to be sold year round. The Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, sponsored by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), would extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver …

Trump Infrastructure Plan Includes Waterways

Farmers were among those who joined President Trump last week in Cincinnati to highlight the economic importance of the inland waterways system and the need to invest in upgrades to the locks and dams. “Roughly 60 percent of the United States grain exports travel down these waterways to the Gulf,” said Trump in his remarks. President Trump’s infrastructure plan also …

Secretary Perdue Testifies at First Hearing

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue testified at his first hearing as the new head of USDA. The House Agriculture Committee welcomed Perdue to Capitol Hill Wednesday to testify on the “State of the Rural Economy.” The new secretary submitted seven pages of written testimony which focused on his proposed “realignment” of USDA. “My goal is to make it the most …