Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Monday 09/15/14

U.S. Shanghaied in Smithfield Deal?
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said reiterated her concerns Monday that legislation is needed to protect American companies from foreign acquisition after a PBS report over the weekend examined the role of the Chinese government in the purchase of Smithfield Foods to Shuanghui International last year.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 10:07PM CDT 09/15/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (4)
Not to be sarcastic, what is the difference? The subject country has control of the equipment needed to process, transport, refrigerate and market the food supply. Control of the processing and ownership of this company is only a miniscule part of the issue. Hard to believe, without the Chinese, this nation couldn't operate a cash register.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:39AM CDT 09/16/14
Bonnie ;This company also owns the pigs.
Posted by melvin meister at 7:15AM CDT 09/16/14
America's are free to buy pigs anytime if they wish to do so. You will see herd expansion to supply U.S. market only if it is deemed a profitable opportunity.
Posted by MS at 4:21PM CDT 09/16/14
How about the banks, Melvin? Could this be defined as a monopoly?
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:31PM CDT 09/16/14

Friday 09/12/14

Route 66: The End of the Trail
Much like the diversity and changing scenery across every state, farmers had mixed views on the relationship between tourism and agriculture along the fabled ribbon of concrete and asphalt. Some farmers had no contact or interest in either the tourism or the history of Route 66 while others were fairly engaged.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:16AM CDT 09/12/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
I drove the highway from Arizona to California in summer of 1974. The locals called it 'Bloody 66' since it was so crowded and dangerous at night, being only a 2 lane road at the time.
Posted by Vince Moye at 7:19AM CDT 09/12/14
Vince, There were a couple of guys who recalled how crowded the highway had become in the 1970s before the four-lane went in. A rancher in Arizona also had been a deputy in his earlier career and talked about all the criminals he came across along the highway as well.
Posted by CHRIS CLAYTON at 10:03AM CDT 09/12/14

Tuesday 09/09/14

House Votes to Block EPA WOTUS Rule
The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to block EPA's proposed rule defining waters of the United States, siding with farmers and business groups who have argued for months that the EPA rule amounts to regulatory overreach.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:56PM CDT 09/09/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (4)
Thank you Congress for understanding ambiguity is not the solution to pollution.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 4:50AM CDT 09/10/14
One might ask why we still don't have a clear definition of a wetland. It's also curious how people commonly criticize NRCS/USDA the agency but heap praise on their local NRCS staff. Sort of like Congress.
Posted by chris jones at 9:02AM CDT 09/11/14
"House of Representatives voted to block" What a shock,,,, do they actual do anything else?
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 12:11PM CDT 09/11/14
EPA is the new home of the communist party and a favorite tool of Kommandant Obama to issue orders.
Posted by GORDON KEYES at 10:39AM CDT 09/12/14

Monday 09/08/14

Vilsack on Easements, Rail and Livestock Aid
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rolled out some enrollment details Monday of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), a program in the 2014 farm bill that combined several earlier easement programs into a single program.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:27PM CDT 09/08/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
So the ACEP cost the goverment 2542.00 dollars an acre? 328 million divided by 129,000 acres.870,000 dollars per project.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 8:00PM CDT 09/09/14
And yet another pipeline construction project halted. In Mn. the Commission, 3 DFLers, 2 Reps. voted 3 to 2 to recommend up to 6 alternate routes for the proposed route. It will now again take years to wade through the bureaucratic boondoggle. Warren buffet and Obamma will be happy. Then the R.R.s get the blame for the transportation issue.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:26AM CDT 09/16/14
Base Acre Decisions Are Key to New Farm Bill
An update from a farm-bill conference in Kansas City last week: Farmers and landlords likely are still going through decisions on base acres. One word of advice from an economist to farmers: Base-acre reallocation and yield update decisions reside with the landowner. If you haven't heard from your landlords on base-acre decisions, you should give them a call. Your landlords might not have any idea what exactly those letters from the Farmer Service Agency were about. You may need to walk them through some of those decisions if you haven't already.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 9:54AM CDT 09/08/14 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 09/05/14

House Likely to Block EPA's WOTUS Rule
It is increasingly likely that the House will take up legislation to block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing a "waters of the United States"rule to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act, a step that could give EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers greater regulatory reach over a greater number of acres.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:43PM CDT 09/05/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (20)
Watch for the Enviro"s, flying their solar powered jets, flocking to D.C. on the way to Amsterdam, on this one. Keep up the letters, Food Producers.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:28AM CDT 09/06/14
What would you expect from the obstructionist party of dirty air and water?
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 6:51AM CDT 09/08/14
I don't know where you live Jay, but I don't see or here of big problems on farms. What I do have problems with is when EPA issues permits for millions of gallons of the offshore drilling, oil fracking, oil barges truckloads of salt on streets entering untreated storm sewers. The key is concentration, when things are big, big problems happen. This is clearly a land grab. This is private property, the key to freedom and liberty. It is nice to see some people still stand for property rights, without will not remain what it means to be America. We don't need people that know nothing about our farms with "crackerjacks box degrees" that have been brain washed by professors that have only operated in a test tube environment, not the "real world". This is clearly a UN agenda to take away our agricultural competitiveness away.
Posted by Unknown at 8:13AM CDT 09/08/14
Welcome back Jay, where you been? Off schooling all the democrats that are about to roll on their convictions just to get votes I imagine. What, no rant on how great your farm, that your dad made into what it is, while driving your electric car all over the world? If you are coming back try coming back with more than a little politically slanted snippet.
Posted by CRAIG MOORE at 8:47AM CDT 09/08/14
It is quite obvious to me that several of the commenters on this blog need to research the reasoning behind the EPA proposal before commenting further. Start with a look at the Chesapeake Bay pollution clean up project and the recent loss of potable water for the city of Toledo. The question is not whether you are personally OK but what effects excess fertilizer, chemicals, and waste have on the environment downstream. It's a requirement to consider the impositions your choices have on others who have to live with the effects of your decisions. Maybe the EPA's actions are perceived as excessive by those who will have to change but that does not mean it is the wrong action. Maybe a slap in the face? Are we denying again what our actions cummulatively have on the earth as a whole? It is depressing when the Farm Bureau and weak congressional representatives immediately wail about the EPA without acknowledging the problem or seeking reasonable solutions. I am not excited about more regulation, but how about an intelligent discussion about the realities of this issue? Can we do that in the USA anymore?
Posted by Don Thompson at 10:25AM CDT 09/08/14
I'm sorry Don, I don't think you are getting the point. We are being blamed for some things the cities are contributing to. I think before any of these gov't agencies step foot on private property they should have to have a warrant. Plain and simple, also Don are you a farmer or a gov't employee trying to justify your job.
Posted by Unknown at 1:41PM CDT 09/08/14
Seriously? You know what pollution comes from the city and that from other? The "dead area" in the Gulf comes from fertilizers and chemicals originating on farms and yards, which is my point, the effects are cumulative from all sources. If you are attempting to imply that rural residents do not contribute then you have lost credibility. For what its worth, all my govt. employee time was spent in the volunteer military. How about you, unknown?
Posted by Don Thompson at 4:42PM CDT 09/08/14
I'm glad you brought up the dead zone in the gulf. A couple of years ago I was at a drainage meeting that had 3 professors from a land grant university. They had a presentation that depicted a map of the world depicting hypoxia. Their map did show the US Gulf of Mexico one of the worst in the world. After the presentation I asked why all of the other countries and continents including South America and Russia did not have as bad of problems and they actually have more drainage and less regulation. All 3 professors were speechless for awhile until one of them answer maybe because of the "lack of current in the Gulf of Mexico". It seems it is easy to point the finger at the minority of the population that farm, because it seems simply because we are the minority. Yet at the same time every major city outlets their untreated storm sewage into a water way. I will drink anytime from a tile outlet before a city storm sewer outlet, how about you Don? Oh and by the way are you a farmer?
Posted by Unknown at 7:26PM CDT 09/08/14
Don, The neocons of today are far from the old school conservatives. While I disagree with them as well they at least held on to self-responibility. The old school felt responsible for their community, their churches and to help the poor. The neocons of today feel victimized and are puppets of the corporations and hate radio hosts. They deny not only dead zones in the gulf but other scientific issues such as climate change and peak oil. The old school conservative I knew would say to take care of your own problems not "well if China can do it so can we" attitude, like they are jealous for countries that drink sewer water because there are few restrictions. First of all many 3rd world countries do have restrictions despite the neocon fantasy stereotype and secondly I don't really wish to have dead zones in the gulf, rivers that stink and unbreathable air! Yeah Cities make pollution, suburbia makes pollution but farmers do as well and that is what is being discussed here! And BTW unknown, what does it matter if Don is or isn't a farmer?
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 8:26AM CDT 09/09/14
Jay, I don't believe the argument here is whether one should drink from a drainage tile or a sewer pipe. We are fortunate in this country that previous requirements even allow us to consider drinking from a drainage tile. In the majority of other countries, it would be unthinkable. That said, obviously more work is required. I don't get the minority argument. Environmental issues are prominent across the total economy, farm and non-farm. "Farmers" who do not practice environmentally sensitive standards are a dying breed since they can not survive in a world that demands they do. I suggest the ag community becomes a part of the solution as opposed to the seemingly never ending chorus of "woe me". Show a little leadership. BTW Jay, We are purchasing a solar array to power the grain setup and shop with the help of a USDA grant. Gotta love that USDA offering help to us "minorities". Got the idea from your previous posts. Thanks for the heads up.
Posted by Don Thompson at 12:18PM CDT 09/09/14
I am sorry you need someone to tell you how to run your farm. Allowing some drainage because they had it before and others are told it is bad and that they can't install it, how is that not discrimination and how is that scientific. Everyone needs to play by the same rules. That does not happen however. If we allow gov't agencies to pass law without due process, how are we any different from a socialistic or communist gov't? If we allow different people to make "case by case" rulings how is that legal? I had heard a Senator's advisor lately state "we have passed a farm bill now we are writing the rules" , that is not the intensions of our constitution and is simply an abuse of power. I am truly concerned by your lack of concern.
Posted by Unknown at 7:15PM CDT 09/09/14
Jay and Don, You should actually get involved in some scientific research, rather than relying on special interest Enviro groups being promoted by the liberal press. I have not read a word anywhere stating Farm Bureau or any food producer denying any responsibility for the problem. There are several land locked lakes in Minneapolis, Mn. with hypoxic layers do to road salt, chlorine and other municipal run-offs. In our water shed, several lakes were declared impaired by the PCA due to high chlorine counts. Farmers in the Chesapeake Bay area have corrected the practices under the direction of government agencies, but yet the problem is still present while residential destruction booms. Has anyone actually identified the sources of Lake Erie issues? Not what I have read. Only finger pointing by those who deny their own contribution to the problem. A couple of you need to look in the mirror to see the deniers.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:19AM CDT 09/10/14
Bonnie, You have recognized and accepted that there is a water pollution issue but you continue to deny any culpability on the part of ag. It is delusional to think that is possible. Everyone has a part in this and everyone needs to accept responsibility. Congress just passed the buck again to future generations. Please accept that not every expression of fact or opinion that you disagree with and are reluctant to hear, is somehow a left wing plot to destroy Bonnie D and all her conservative pals. In our district, the far right Congressperson is attending multiple Farm Bureau meetings using the EPA as her punching bag and getting the reds all riled up again over any form of government role. How about solving a problem that needs a solution?
Posted by Don Thompson at 7:08AM CDT 09/10/14
I think you are missing the point Don. EPA already has ability to regulate pesticide along with fertilizer application. This is about land use on private property in which is a right protected by the US Constitution. That is why the Supreme Court stated they are overreaching. Now the House is doing its job to try to reign them in. No government agency has the right to write law. There are other countries that allow that and certainly a person can move to one of them if you don't like the US Constitution.
Posted by Unknown at 7:55AM CDT 09/10/14
I believe I understand the point entirely. There is a problem that needs attention. Fellow citizens of our country believe an effort of this scope is needed to solve it. It may come to that. Personally, I hope we address it in a cooperative manner that is brought on in a well thought out manner. Denying that we in rural USA are not a part of the problem and contending that there is a conspiracy against us because we feel superior to our urban cousins leaves us with no credibility. Property rights are like freedom of speech. When your speech or actions harm others, there may be limits. You can argue about the extent of that as you wish.
Posted by Don Thompson at 8:26AM CDT 09/10/14
I understand you are trying to have the last word. I stand by my comments. There are rules now for pesticide and fertilizer application. The Supreme Court has ruled. Please stick to the subject.
Posted by Unknown at 8:58AM CDT 09/10/14
Unknown, You need to read the Supreme Court EPA opinion again. I believe you have missed the boat there - and that is the last word!
Posted by Don Thompson at 10:54AM CDT 09/10/14
Sorry Don, I have not denied anything. We have not accepted anything, we were taught by our Grandparents to care for the land that feeds the world. We also attempt continued education, as many producers do also. You, too often reach conclusions without reading other contributions from readers. Please read consider my previous statement. Many food producers are continually trying too improve their practices, while too much residential destruction continues without safeguards.(Foe example) In order to obtain a feedlot permit in Mn., one needs to meet the rules and regulations. Period. You deniers are a piece of work!
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:02PM CDT 09/10/14
Grandparents had a half dozen sows, 10 milk cows, 50 chickens, 60 acres much of which was in hay the balance was fertilized by home grown manure and a couple 200lbs of 2-6-6, no herbicides,,, Yeah they didn't need a feedlot permit, much freer then without government regs!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 9:17AM CDT 09/11/14
And isn't it sad the grandparents would now need a feedlot permit? Only if you would set an example and do the same, Jay.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:25PM CDT 09/12/14
Clarifying Some SCO Issues
Following my article on Thursday about some policy discussions regarding ARC, PLC and SCO, I got an email from the Risk Management Agency informing me some items needed clarification.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 9:53AM CDT 09/05/14 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday 09/02/14

Senators Want GIPA Policy Limits Removed
Thirteen senators have written the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee asking that they eliminate policy riders on the funding bill for USDA over livestock and poultry marketing rules.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 7:37PM CDT 09/02/14 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Thursday 08/28/14

EPA Water Rule Starts in the Ephemeral Streams
What does it mean to have land next to a water body of the United States compared to not being adjacent to those waters? That's a big question considering how EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers classify and treat water "tributaries" if this proposed rule goes into effect.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 5:27PM CDT 08/28/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (4)
Does the definition also include, "Hydric soils"?
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 8:28PM CDT 08/28/14
In its broadest sense, the EPA truly wants to regulate every inch of drainage in the country. Where I live, in water-rich Ohio, virtually every farm has a drainage ditch, creek, wash, or similar tributary. This would enable their long and onerous arm to reach into the farm operations of virtually every farm in my state. I hope Secretary Vilsack has some say in this. If not, virtually all of the drainage in the country will be regulated by the EPA. How glorious would that be? Secretary Vilsack, are you watching this debacle unfold?
Posted by tom vogel at 10:46AM CDT 08/31/14
Tying crop insurance to wetland compliance, new rules from EPA, just coincidence? I think not! The days of property rights, freedom and liberty on our own property are gone along with TRUE private property ownership. Govt agencies and employees running things without oversight or accountability. No trial by a jury of your peers but instead judgement by an activist/govt employee that don't even have to answer to congress. Not much freedom or liberty left. Some day they will combine Memorial Day and Independence Day so we morn the end of our independence. They can't even give us a credible map to say what they have jurisdiction over, that's because they want to protect their right to have jurisdiction over everything.
Posted by Unknown at 10:56AM CDT 08/31/14
Reynolds; "not intrude on private property rights". Are you kidding me?! Why do this "ruling" if that's the case? If its not raining, why carry an umbrella?
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:14AM CDT 09/02/14

Friday 08/22/14

Looking at Base Acre Decisions Facing Farmers
Farmers and others who were on the DTN webinar Thursday had a lot of questions about base acres. Here are some details from the webinar and USDA's Farm Service Agency website.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:23PM CDT 08/22/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
You may want to correct the years that will be used to update base acre yields. I believe that it is 2008-2012.
Posted by Mr. Brandy at 8:38AM CDT 08/26/14
I can put wheat and oats in soybeans , can I put it in Corn . I'm on continues Corn for the past 5 years , can I put all my Base acres in Corn . Thankyou Bob Slicker
Posted by Unknown at 9:41AM CDT 08/26/14
Mr. Brandy, the article is accurate with regard to the years used for updating base acres. You are thinking of updating CC yields. (B) REALLOCATION FORMULA.â?”The reallocation of base acres among covered commodities on a farm shall be in proportion to the ratio ofâ?” (i) the 4-year average ofâ?” (I) the acreage planted on the farm to each covered commodity for harvest, grazing, haying, silage, or other similar purposes for the 2009 through 2012 crop years; and (II) any acreage on the farm that the producers were prevented from planting during the 2009 through 2012 crop years to that covered commodity because of drought, flood, or other natural disaster, or other condition beyond the control of the producers, as determined by the Secretary; to (ii) the 4-year average ofâ?” (I) the acreage planted on the farm to all covered commodities for harvest, grazing, haying, silage, or other similar purposes for such crop years; and (II) any acreage on the farm that the producers were prevented from planting during such crop years to covered commodities because of drought, flood, or other natural disaster, or other condition beyond the control of the producers, as determined by the Secretary.
Posted by G. Sean O'neill at 12:31AM CDT 09/02/14

Thursday 08/21/14

Report: U.S. Lost WTO Ruling
A report came out Thursday claiming that the U.S. lost the Country of Origin ruling in the World Trade Organization. The U.S. Trade Representative's office and U.S. Department of Agriculture declined to confirm or deny the report.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:13PM CDT 08/21/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
Chris: Iâ?™ve been following this story as you have for some time now. Iâ?™m still looking for someone to explain to me why itâ?™s not okay for consumers in the USA to know where the things they buy in the grocery store come from? And why are there livestock organizations that donâ?™t want COOL in effect? Can you help me understand this a little more clearly?
Posted by Chad Smith at 4:20PM CDT 08/24/14

Tuesday 08/19/14

NFU Leaders Want to Walk Away from Beef Talks
The beef industry working group has largely been a quiet affair until the past few weeks. First, leaders of R-CALF complained about the process because R-CALF has been excluded from the talks. Now, NFU is willing to abandon the discussions.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 9:40PM CDT 08/19/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
If all producer check-offs were, "refundable", accountability would police itself. When groups become entitled, due to mandates, problems arise from with-in. Even if the intent is pure and well intentioned.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:34AM CDT 08/20/14
Until you take the American Meat Institute out of the NCBA there will not be any reform. NCBA wants the money and AMI wants to make the policy.
Posted by melvin meister at 11:04AM CDT 08/21/14

Sunday 08/17/14

RMA Readying Details on Spring Crops and SCO
USDA's Risk Management Agency could announce details for the spring-crop offering for the Supplemental Coverage Option as early as this week.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:18PM CDT 08/17/14 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday 08/12/14

USDA Readies STAX for 2015
USDA announced Tuesday that the Stacked Income Protection Plan, or STAX, will be available for upland cotton farmers from crop insurers for the 2015 crop year.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:23PM CDT 08/12/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
Great article. 2014 CTAP signup going on now at FSA.
Posted by G. Sean O'neill at 12:33AM CDT 09/02/14

Monday 08/11/14

2014 Corn Crop Could Gut Farm Bill Savings
The 2014 corn crop right looks to blow the projected budget savings from the Agricultural Act of 2014 out of the water. As Marcia Taylor indicated in her article on Friday, the price collapse we're seeing in corn shouldn't panic farmers who will be buoyed somewhat by the Agricultural Risk Coverage program they will get a chance to enroll in later this year.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:44AM CDT 08/11/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
Just goes to show the quality of work done by the CBO.
Posted by Michael Martin at 12:02PM CDT 08/11/14
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Recent Blog Posts
  • U.S. Shanghaied in Smithfield Deal?
  • Route 66: The End of the Trail
  • House Votes to Block EPA WOTUS Rule
  • Vilsack on Easements, Rail and Livestock Aid
  • Base Acre Decisions Are Key to New Farm Bill
  • House Likely to Block EPA's WOTUS Rule
  • Clarifying Some SCO Issues
  • Senators Want GIPA Policy Limits Removed
  • EPA Water Rule Starts in the Ephemeral Streams
  • Looking at Base Acre Decisions Facing Farmers
  • Report: U.S. Lost WTO Ruling
  • NFU Leaders Want to Walk Away from Beef Talks
  • RMA Readying Details on Spring Crops and SCO
  • USDA Readies STAX for 2015
  • 2014 Corn Crop Could Gut Farm Bill Savings
  • House Ag Leaders Push Vilsack on Grain Inspectors
  • Roberts Wins in Kansas; Right to Farm Appears to Win in Missouri
  • Conservation Program, Cover-Crop Research Advance
  • Farmers Urged to Give Lawmakers Earful on CWA, Immigration
  • USDA Releases Greenhouse Gas Report