Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Wednesday 04/15/15

USDA Touts Organic Growth as Organic Advocates Sue
USDA issued a news release Wednesday touting the growth of organic farming with 19,474 certified organic farm operations around the country and 27,814 around the world. Yet, several organic groups have filed suits over the last week challenging the way USDA is running the organic-standards program.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 5:27PM CDT 04/15/15 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
Either way, which one third of the apple should I eat?
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:36AM CDT 04/19/15
Race to WOTUS Finish Line
The race is definitely on to see who will be the first to cross the finish line on the waters of the United States rule -- Congress or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:28PM CDT 04/15/15 by Todd Neeley | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday 04/14/15

Senator: President Needs to Engage on TPA
We should find out this week whether the U.S. Senate is going to be able to move ahead on Trade Promotion Authority.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 9:37AM CDT 04/14/15 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Sunday 04/12/15

Ag Benefit From Eliminating the Estate Tax
Congress is poised to take up tax reform when lawmakers return this week, including a push to eliminate the estate tax. This could be a big deal for American agriculture because some prominent agricultural groups have been championing the outright elimination of the estate tax for a long time. Eliminating the estate tax could provide an opportunity for farmers and others with higher asset levels to invest more heavily in agriculture over the next decade.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:50AM CDT 04/12/15 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Thursday 04/09/15

White House Pushing Trade Agenda
The White House is ramping up its efforts to champion a vote on Trade Promotion Authority after Congress returns from its break next week.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:50AM CDT 04/09/15 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Monday 04/06/15

California Drought and Focus on Agriculture
After California Gov. Jerry Brown directed the first mandatory statewide water restrictions for his state last week, attention in the news immediately turned to agriculture being largely excluded from Brown's executive order.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 10:00AM CDT 04/06/15 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (16)
They better do something different because this is just the beginning.Irrigation has to be controlled or the whole country will run out of water.In our part of the country irrigation has gone rampant in the last 5 years, and needs to be regulated more.Water is a commodity make producers buy it as another input.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 6:48AM CDT 04/07/15
Unlike our city friends, most farm irrigators do not apply water for appearances, only enough to provide crop nutrients. Demand of the consumer drives which crop is grown. For the most part, nuts are primarily for squirrels.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 10:11AM CDT 04/07/15
Ray Are you really suggesting that the farmers have to pay the government for the rain. And do you realize who would get charged for that water purchase? If you eat, that would be you. So that means you would be paying the government so you could eat. Aren't you Taxed Enough Already? Actually, I think it would be more important for the government to start charging all those freeloaders driving those electric cars for free on our highways. They need to be taxed for every mile they drive so they can help pay for the infrastructure.
Posted by CRAIG MOORE at 2:38PM CDT 04/07/15
No Craig,not pay for rain but for ground water.If it rained they wouldn't irrigate in areas that should not be farmed in the first place. I farm full time and have made a good living for 30 years and have not watered a thing. But greed and government wants more yield. Why not produce less and get more for your commodity. When water gets scarce nobody will eat. So if you want to be greedy buy water the same as fertilizer. They want water from the Great Lakes I say to bad, sell it to them.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 3:05PM CDT 04/07/15
So you are willing to let people starve because they can't afford your limited supply of food just so you can make more money? And where do you think the ground water comes from? And I have noticed it is the extra billions of people on Earth that are pretty much driving the need for more yield. Do you actually run the farm or just working at one?
Posted by CRAIG MOORE at 4:18PM CDT 04/07/15
Nobody will starve.I don't need to make more money and if you don't know the difference between rain and groundwater so be it.I will drink groundwater you drink rain. If we need more yield why do we have a surplus of almost all of major crops? And yes I own the land we farm and work it everyday. Our farm has been in the family for 150 years. When you go to the golf course who needs green grass? Just a lot of wasted water. When the country is out of fresh water maybe you will realize you could have paid more for food.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 5:55PM CDT 04/07/15
I've read that 90% of potatoes and 90% of the veggies grown are irrigated. As these types of food are shallow rooted, without irrigation supplementing rainfall, much of this food would disappear. Take 90 % of the these out of the store and see what would happen. People stampedes like black Friday! How many French fries would be available at the fast food places if it were not for irrigation? NONE! I like spuds but only grow enough in the garden for the fresh. Yes, we need to irrigate the garden where we live. Also, irrigated crops are more efficient at using fertilizer and chemicals as less is lost do to weather issues. Taxing food producers is not the answer.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:02AM CDT 04/08/15
Bonnie I am not arguing the fact some speciality crops need irrigated. But I am talking guys that waste water. I have guys right next to me that run water 24 hrs. a day all season long on soybeans and corn, for what ,10-15 bu. an acre that the world does not need. When the cities are without water who do you think they will blame.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 8:48AM CDT 04/08/15
Nobody has talked about all the water being used to irrigate marijuana; I suppose that is off limits. Chris ran a piece about that issue last year I believe.
Posted by Coy Allen at 11:22AM CDT 04/08/15
Well there is plenty of rain in the East, so if you apply the climate change deniers philosophy the drought is a hoax. How can there be drought when there is so much rain! In fact the dog dish runneth over!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 8:21PM CDT 04/08/15
Maybe if water cost more fruit and veggie growers would look for better areas to raise vegetables, at least during the hot, dry summers. ND and MN tried to start a carrot industry a few years ago and were pretty much run out of business. The upper Midwest/northern tier is where most vegetables should be coming from during the summer months and California irrigated areas should remain fallow. That will only happen when the market place allocates water based on price.
Posted by LeeFarms at 6:33AM CDT 04/09/15
The only means to get fresh veggies in the Northern states 9 months of the year is in a greenhouse. Then hope you don't run out of gas or coal. geothermal just don't cut the mustard.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 9:09AM CDT 04/09/15
HAHAHA... I love these arguments!!! First off, Ray, don't exaggerate, I highly doubt anybody irrigates their crops 24/7 all summer long for only 10-15 bushels. That costs too much money, even if the water is free especially at today's prices. Irrigators are crazy expensive to own and maintain, and you still have to pump that water whether it be by electricity or diesel. Bonnie makes a great point, when these "Veggies" don't eat their veggies, their is going to be hell to pay, we all know how vocal they can be.:) Why don't these states/cities who are in the drought areas start fining people watering their lawns and changing the water in their swimming pools first, and I don't mean a measly $100 fine, I mean fine the crap out of them so they make sure they don't do it. it sounds bad I know, but don't you think food is more important. When the water comes back them open the tap again. but then again, maybe these people who thought it might be a good idea to heavily populate a desert need a reality check. Maybe, just maybe they will realize how good they did have it and stop whining.
Posted by RJZ Peterson at 4:43PM CDT 04/09/15
RJZ say what you want but they never shut them off from the time the beans came up until they started to turn. Two center pivots on 300 acres,their beans went 60 ours done 50 I think that is 10 bu. I can't believe it pays but I don't care. The veggies are not going to yell about the food,they are going to blame agriculture for the water shortage.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 9:45PM CDT 04/09/15
If we beleive in smaller government or no government ("we the people" crowd stand up and wave the Gaston flag) then the ones with the biggest pocketbook gets the water for whatever they wish. Aren't you folks Capitalists?
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:39AM CDT 04/10/15
They will yell about both, Ray. One needs much more info. to reach an informed opinion on an irrigation practice. Such as: trans- evaporation, crop use on the days used, gallons per minute from the well(s), total inches per acre, water holding capacity of the soil.(might be totally different across the road). much, much more. Because a pivot is applying water, doesn't mean it is being wasted. At the same time, most in agriculture (irrigators included) are good stewards and managers but some people in any industry, are just plain idiots.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:44AM CDT 04/10/15

Friday 04/03/15

Climate Change and Political Differences
Climate change and the political storms that surround this issue are increasingly in the spotlight these days. For example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently required states to submit climate risk mitigation plans beginning next year that consider the effects of long-term changes in weather patterns. If they don't, the feds say, they will lose U.S. funds to help them prepare for disasters.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:24AM CDT 04/03/15 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (5)
The optimal level of atmospheric CO2 for plants is about 1500 ppm. We are at 390 ppm, up from the near extinction levels that occurred during the last ice age about 14,000 years ago. We must stop feeding our plants NOW! But I'm not worried, the Government is here to help!
Posted by Curt Zingula at 6:43AM CDT 04/04/15
Great plan, if you don't beleive in climate change enough to do something about it you won't need the funds! Maybe the Koche brothers will set up an emergency fund since they are the ones profiting the most from climate denial!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 8:41PM CDT 04/05/15
I firmly believe in climate change as it always has and always will. Right now the effect man has on it is a theory. The majority of the "scientists" that believe in climate change would have to be crazy to say there is no climate change, yet the majority of these scientist also have nothing to do with weather related research. Seeing as Mars, Venus and Jupiter are showing signs of temperature increase I think we need to be spending more money on creating crops that can grow in drier and hotter regions because that is where we are heading whether we clean up our act or not. And who are the Koche brothers? Oh, you probably meant Koch brothers. Don't even know who you are criticizing.
Posted by CRAIG MOORE at 2:50PM CDT 04/07/15
Man made climate change or not, I don't agree with our current white house admin's approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Who wants windmills scattered all over the landscape? Why should we tighten up regulations on power companies that pass the cost down to us so we ultimately use less because we cant afford it? Why should we sacrifice not using cheap energy sources when China and India are gobbling them up? Why can't we urge car makers to make vehicles specifically designed to run on ethanol, propane, and Natural gas efficiently not a "flexFuel" ethanol tolerant vehicle that guzzles fuel, or a multi fuel vehicle that does not burn alternative fuels efficiently? Why do our vehicles need emission control on them when all emission control does is reduce efficiency?(this includes our Farm machinery). By the way, remember vehicle emission control from the 90's when most cars and pickups had belt driven air pumps on them to pump fresh air into the exhaust just to meet tailpipe emission standards? I looked at a new Chevy diesel pickup the other day, they have a tailpipe extension that siphons fresh air into the exhaust just to meet tail pipe emission standards, a lot of good that does huh? Also, whoever thinks they are saving the environment by driving an electric car must be forgetting that electric car is fueled mostly by coal. What I'm getting at here is most of the ways we are approaching this climate change reduction strategy is just a bunch of hocus pocus. If we are really going to help this situation we are going to need a more drastic approach than just measuring emissions. Lets do it efficiently, for example, my old Dodge Cummins diesel from the 90's achieves much better fuel economy than my 2013 Dodge Cummins diesel does. Are we headed in the right direction? I don't think so.
Posted by RJZ Peterson at 2:58PM CDT 04/09/15
You are WAY off base RJZ. Even if electric cars were powered 100% by coal (mine is 100% solar and most grids are a mixture of hydro, coal and nuke with growing wind and solar) the cars would be much cleaner then internal combustion engines. ICE's are only 30% efficient while electric motors are over 90%. 60% of the gasoline we burn in cars and monster trucks is given off as heat. Electric cars are in the model T phase now with amazing potential once there is an established market and big oil leaves them alone. Remember when solar panels were expensive, now over 150 installations are on my grid. the more that are made the cheaper they get. Of course big tractors won't run on electric now but remember when no one thought there would be a home computer let alone a phone that does what they do now? You guys lack vision and don't tell me what my finances are, I worked hard for what I have despite your stereotype of an environmentally conscience and progressive, liberal person who voted for Obama.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:53AM CDT 04/10/15

Wednesday 04/01/15

The Ag Supply Chain Working to Curb Deforestation
The New York Times reported that Archer Daniels Midland is rolling out a proposal to "assess the impact of its supply chains on forests and other areas that have high conservation value. It will formally announce details of its policy at its annual meeting on May 7," the Times wrote.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 10:31PM CDT 04/01/15 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (9)
I feel much better now, nothing like industrial self regulation! Sort of like GM saying they will cut back on auto production to curb greenhouse gas emissions!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 6:37AM CDT 04/02/15
I sure wish the Enviro's would also took a look in the review mirror and see their own waste trail.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:12AM CDT 04/02/15
Well Bonnie I have 29,000 miles on my electric car and only had to put air in the tires. 10 years now I've been solar powered and geothermal heat. A pretty clean and low carbon trail.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:00PM CDT 04/02/15
You made my point very well, Jay. Thank you.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 8:01PM CDT 04/02/15
Still waiting for you to come out and drive around Montana in that fantastic car of your in January, Jay.
Posted by CRAIG MOORE at 10:03AM CDT 04/03/15
Bet your great grandfather said the same thing about the Model T 100 years ago Craig! Of course no one would never replace horses with machines run by those tiny internal combustion engines! Some people just never change, thats why they are called conservatives.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 8:34PM CDT 04/05/15
Still not coming out here are ya, bud. And how much road infrastructure funds have you paid to be able to drive those 29,000 miles?
Posted by CRAIG MOORE at 2:41PM CDT 04/07/15
Craig, I am sure the extra that those gas guzzling monster pick up trucks pay in road tax more then make up for my tiny electric car that Hannity and Rush claim doesn't work anyhow! 29,000 miles, $0 for gasoline, $0 oil change, $0 emission testing, $0 road tax,,,, upsetting neocons, priceless!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 8:28PM CDT 04/08/15
Jay, don't make us "monster pickup truck" owners out to be bad guys. I, personally, use my pickup almost daily for uses your puny electric car won't suffice. For me, it doesn't make sense to buy a car like yours for everyday driving because it would cost me more than what I would save. Another thing you need to realize is not everybody can afford to install solar and geothermal unless they borrow the money. As I see it, if you have to borrow the money to purchase that equipment most consumers won't be able to utilize that equipment to its full extent and save money with it. Until solar and geothermal become less expensive to install I don't foresee them to be a very viable option for many. If these alternatives work for you then great! But it is just simply not the same case for everybody. Yes, there are people who drive pickups that never use them for what they are, but you are on a ag forum, all of us use our pickups for pickups, not cars. Besides, I burn thousands of gallons of fuel each year, a small fraction of which is burned in my pickups. You are preaching to the wrong choir.
Posted by RJZ Peterson at 3:57PM CDT 04/09/15
White House Plans to Block Grant ARC-PLC to States
A proposal by the Obama Administration expected to be announced Wednesday will dramatically overhaul farm commodity and conservation programs by block-granting those funds to states.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:43AM CDT 04/01/15 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday 03/31/15

Parsing Farm Bill's Costs
Earlier this month, the Environmental Working Group's farm program skeptics tried their hand at a familiar game ??? deconstructing the many variables of the new programs, including some that are not yet implemented, and estimating their likely cost. The EWG came up with some big numbers, and were hooted at by Politico reporter David Rogers, who said they were unreasonably high.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:52AM CDT 03/31/15 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 03/27/15

Enviros Push EPA to Take Second Look at Glyphosate
A number of environmental groups are pressing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to consider in its review of glyphosate the conclusion reached by an international group this past week that there is a "probable" link to cancer.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:03PM CDT 03/27/15 by Todd Neeley | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
The Universities of Iowa and North Carolina have been observing nearly 90,000 farmers, their spouses and commercial pesticide applicators for the last quarter of a century for any connection of pesticides to disease. We are ground zero. We are not lab rats or theories. We are, however, the canaries of disease caused by pesticides. The study has revealed no connection of synthetic pesticides to any disease. NONE. As a matter of fact, the study has determined that their study group is healthier than the average American which is attributed to above average physical activity and below average smoking. There is a connection of the natural pesticide Rotenone, approved by organic farming, and Parkinson's disease. Because its 'natural' it doesn't get reviewed by EPA, its just assumed by the earth first zealots to be good for you.
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:21AM CDT 03/29/15
These 'Zealots' are not going to stop persecuting agriculture until we go back to doing things like they did in the 1700's. Every person or family grow their own food. That's fine with me - I know I'd survive and I'd take much enjoyment watching these crusading idiots starve to death at their own hands.
Posted by Unknown at 2:43PM CDT 03/30/15
These people do not realize they are causing their own food prices to rise first handedly. I for one, enjoy having the safest, cheapest, and most abundant food supply in the world. Their life is simply just too easy when they need to start persecuting the people who grow and raise their "safe" food. There is a direct correlation between the Non-GMOers and gun controllers, anti-corporation activists, tree huggers, animal rights activists, and spreading the wealth promoters etc. etc. Of course there are always exceptions, but, It is pretty safe to say that they are mostly intertwined. They can be described as conspiracy theorists, there is always somebody out to kill them, so to speak. By the way, the two comments above also make a great point.
Posted by RJZ Peterson at 4:24PM CDT 04/09/15

Thursday 03/26/15

Down to the Wire on ARC and PLC Decisions
Will USDA stick with the March 31 deadline for farmers serving notice on their farm-program intentions? And for those producers who were early birds and certain of their intentions, do their early projections still hold for Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage payment models?[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:37PM CDT 03/26/15 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday 03/24/15

Taking the Dietary Guideline Debate With a Grain of Salt
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee met Tuesday in Bethesda, Maryland, to allow for public testimony on the committee's recommendations to USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:44PM CDT 03/24/15 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Monday 03/23/15

Dairy Exporters Press for Increased Access to Canadian Market
Dairy exporters in Australia, New Zealand and the United States last week called on their respective trade and agriculture officials to make every effort to significantly increase their access to Canada's market as they continue discussions aimed at concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:24AM CDT 03/23/15 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday 03/17/15

Ag Groups Stress Opposition to Mandatory E-Verify
More than 140 groups signed onto a letter by the Agriculture Workforce Coalition opposing a bill spurred by the House Judiciary Committee to require all employers to use E-Verify for workers.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 9:30PM CDT 03/17/15 by Todd Neeley | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
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Recent Blog Posts
  • USDA Touts Organic Growth as Organic Advocates Sue
  • Race to WOTUS Finish Line
  • Senator: President Needs to Engage on TPA
  • Ag Benefit From Eliminating the Estate Tax
  • White House Pushing Trade Agenda
  • California Drought and Focus on Agriculture
  • Climate Change and Political Differences
  • The Ag Supply Chain Working to Curb Deforestation
  • White House Plans to Block Grant ARC-PLC to States
  • Parsing Farm Bill's Costs
  • Enviros Push EPA to Take Second Look at Glyphosate
  • Down to the Wire on ARC and PLC Decisions
  • Taking the Dietary Guideline Debate With a Grain of Salt
  • Dairy Exporters Press for Increased Access to Canadian Market
  • Ag Groups Stress Opposition to Mandatory E-Verify
  • EPA Releases Reports on Chesapeake Bay Nutrients Runoff Reduction Efforts
  • Kansas Confirms H5N2 in a Backyard Flock
  • Acrimony Blocks Path for TPA and Pacific Trade Deal
  • GAO Says Crop Insurance Rates Should Be Higher in Some Areas
  • Farm Bureau Files Brief in California Egg Case