Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Tuesday 04/22/14

Vilsack: I Don't Have Presidential Sizzle
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told fellow Iowans Tuesday that he doesn't have "the sizzle it takes" to run for president.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 7:27PM CDT 04/22/14 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Monday 04/21/14

Proposed Rule on Waters of the U.S. Flows into Federal Register
EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday posted their proposed rule defining "waters of the U.S." The proposal comes after two earlier U.S. Supreme Court cases left open the question of what constitutes a "waters of the U.S." that would then place a body of water under federal regulations in the Clean Water Act.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:22PM CDT 04/21/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
Another ploy to steal our land rights. I hope everyone responds to this overreach and the taking of land use rights.
Posted by Unknown at 7:01PM CDT 04/21/14
I hope Tom Vilsack wasn't part of this nonsense. He is supposed to be a voice for agriculture but has suffered recently from "displaced mind syndrome." This ultimately gives the Feds the ability to control every piece of land in the country, as every inch is a "tributary" to something "navigable." Oh spare us from this tyranny!
Posted by tom vogel at 7:27AM CDT 04/22/14
 

Thursday 04/17/14

Landowner Effects Expected from Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's designation of the lesser prairie chicken as threatened set off a wave of concern coming from agriculture and energy-related interests that the designation would have adverse effects on agriculture and gas and oil operations across Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and other states.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:55AM CDT 04/17/14 by Todd Neeley | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Wednesday 04/16/14

Senators Concerned Plan to Reduce Methane Emissions Will Hurt Ag
It wasn't long ago when aggies concerned about rumors of EPA regulation of methane from cows through a so-called 'cow tax' were the butt of jokes in some circles.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:01AM CDT 04/16/14 by Todd Neeley | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
We better check who are the ones really putting out the bad gas! If these type of things keep passing we are in serious trouble in this country! Tied so called conservation compliance to crop insurance so some wildlife extremist can try to take our farms so 2-5 times normal of ducks can swim and we can drown. Where is our constitution? Now cow putting off to much gas! These guys have no business managing anything, let alone our farms!
Posted by Unknown at 6:59PM CDT 04/16/14
Are wetlands not the largest emitter of methane? Are fish and ducks, pooping in lakes, a smelly major player? Is the concept of stirring up mulch piles containing yard waste, to reduce P. run-off, generating methane emissions? I believe in conscious conservation practices, however this appears to be another program of government control and job security efforts which contradicts efforts and recommendations of others with-in the same department. Does one assume the likes of W. Buffet have a patent on, install your own, cow fart meters and agency approved chicken pooper scoopers?
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:34AM CDT 04/17/14
Just what is the matter with these people. Everything they do does more harm to this country than good, for what to satisfy some elitist morons who whine to every socialist Democrat in Washington. Fascist is probably the proper description for this collection of fools.
Posted by GORDON KEYES at 11:38AM CDT 04/17/14
 

Tuesday 04/15/14

SNAP Program Sees Change in CBO Estimates
While the level of potential federal budget savings from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, was a big sticking point in the Congressional debate during the most-recently passed farm bill, updated Congressional Budget Office budget projections for 2014 to 2023 include a large cut in projected savings in the program.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 12:11PM CDT 04/15/14 by Todd Neeley | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Wednesday 04/09/14

Everyone is Lobbying on the RFS
All sides are working to influence EPA on the Renewable Fuels Standard. Several groups are making their position known through time with EPA officials, congressional hearings or events set up exclusively for press.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 7:56PM CDT 04/09/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (8)
Good reporting Chris ; Please report what Nascar Childress had to say also. Thanks
Posted by melvin meister at 9:42AM CDT 04/10/14
Chris: Humph! In this rangeland operator's book, the RFS was our government's way of dealing with the extensive negative consequences of the formerly incredible annual pile of subsidized feed grains destroying domestic and world markets. RFS was necessary political fix to raise "market prices" for corn upwards so as not to be guilty of distorting subsidies under WTO. The tremendous rise in livestock prices over the past few years is absolute proof that grossly excessive overproduction of corn kept all commodity prices down, and that would include the economic value of rangeland. Subsidies are evil beyond evil. I well remember the annual arrogant threat by cattle buyers: "We can feed them cheaper than we can graze them." So, quite un-naturally, the need for grazing land was diminished and thus great numbers of ranches were converted to ranchettes and worse. While some farmers thrived others went broke. There are ALWAYS two sides to every equation. Producer price subsidies were a primary cause of excess corn market distortions. Direct payments were a secondary direct cause, and RFS is a disgusting tertiary interference with market forces, designed entirely to mitigate all the negative effects of the first two abominations. H. Clay Daulton
Posted by H. Clay Daulton at 11:57AM CDT 04/10/14
The only way the government scheme of ethanol use survives is with government blending mandates. Without this and who know how many billions of ethanol subsidies corn ethanol would not see the light of day.
Posted by T Kuster at 12:53PM CDT 04/10/14
Kuster I suppose you would like a 5 billion bu. carry over and 5 doller gas.
Posted by melvin meister at 9:05PM CDT 04/10/14
We need to also look at upgrading our transportation system whether it be railroads, hiways, pipelines. We are producing more of everything and now finding bottle necks in getting commodities shipped. The next thing that will happen will be some kind of shipping tax put on this crap ethanol. Ethanol has little to do with keeping gas from 5 dollars.
Posted by GWL 61 at 8:38AM CDT 04/11/14
I believe ethanol is at present the only safe oxygenate we have to put in our gas for some areas of the country to achieve air quality standards. We could go back to MTBE which goes into the soil and never goes away. Or city folks could just park their cars. Good luck with that.
Posted by GORDON KEYES at 9:17AM CDT 04/11/14
I get that we needed the RFS to incubate the ETOH industry. The industry is mature. It is not going away. Time for the RFS to exit stage left.
Posted by Unknown at 6:25PM CDT 04/11/14
RFS is just another big government disaster. See http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2014/04/20/its-final-corn-ethanol-is-of-no-use/
Posted by T Kuster at 6:54AM CDT 04/21/14
 

Monday 04/07/14

The IPCC on Biofuels: Good or Bad?
The IPCC report said biofuels can be part of a strategy to reduce carbon emissions, but the report also cites risks from conflicts between using land to grow crops for biofuels and growing crops for food. The report also expressed concern about land-uses changes from biofuels.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:56PM CDT 04/07/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (8)
Maybe the question should be "are biofuels better then the standard quo fossil industries?" They are surely not perfect but comparison to fossil and nukes shines a different light. With oil we have tar sands, BP deepwater oil spills, XL pipeline over aquifers, war for oil in the Mid East,,, nukes have 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima melt downs. As for competition for food growing that is more of a political issue, we had just as many staring people when the surpluses were enormous and grain prices cheaper then dirt. Biofuels need to be explored but probably on a local use basis, like making tractor and truck fuels at the farm level.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 12:16PM CDT 04/08/14
Maybe the question should be "are biofuels better then the standard quo fossil industries?" They are surely not perfect but comparison to fossil and nukes shines a different light. With oil we have tar sands, BP deepwater oil spills, XL pipeline over aquifers, war for oil in the Mid East,,, nukes have 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima melt downs. As for competition for food growing that is more of a political issue, we had just as many staring people when the surpluses were enormous and grain prices cheaper then dirt. Biofuels need to be explored but probably on a local use basis, like making tractor and truck fuels at the farm level.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 6:25AM CDT 04/09/14
Isn't the total crop land use for biofuels something like only 3 or 4 % worldwide? Much of that is in the U.S. where total planted acres has dropped over the last 30 years and we currently sit atop significant corn surplus. Perhaps the IPCC should spend its time figuring out when we will all scorch from global warming and leave ag issues to the better informed.
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:00AM CDT 04/09/14
What has been far worse then biofuels has been suburbia, it has taken MILLIONS of farm acres and transformed them into paved over shopping malls and ticky tack houses where only travel by gas gussling vehicles make living there possible. Suburbia is a guaranteed failure producing huge amounts of CO2, arable land destruction, water waste and a huge eye sore. Lets stop our denial and get to the real elephant in the room! Suburbia took huge energy and resources to create and even more to sustain!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:49AM CDT 04/09/14
Great comments - now what do we do? It seems that agriculture is the focus these days of many governmental agencies and the non-farming public which makes you wonder what we did wrong in their eyes? Any answers.
Posted by John Finley at 8:18AM CDT 04/09/14
United Nations IPCC is the full and proper name for this group of thieving collection of dictators whose soul goal is to raid the U.S. treasury on some goofy idea based on a computer model rigged to get the results they want Obama is dying to get a carbon tax then he will control your health care and anything touched by oil, which is almost everything.
Posted by GORDON KEYES at 9:58AM CDT 04/09/14
Good one, Jay. Many heated garages are now larger and warmer than the house I grew up in.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 6:32AM CDT 04/12/14
Solar Panels and Wind Turbines, great our electricity now is supposed to depend on the weather!
Posted by GORDON KEYES at 2:36PM CDT 04/12/14
 

Friday 04/04/14

Senators See No Place for Geographical Indicators
Sen. Pat Roberts along with Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, spearheaded a letter signed by 45 total senators (30 Republicans, 15 Democrats) asking Trade Ambassador Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to fight against geographical indicators being pushed by the European Union in the possible trade deal.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:11PM CDT 04/04/14 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Thursday 04/03/14

Senate Finance Committee Approves Tax Extenders Package
The Senate Finance Committee approved a long list of tax extensions that included key provisions for the biofuels industry as well as the wind industry.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:39PM CDT 04/03/14 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Tuesday 04/01/14

Farm Bureau Opposes EPA Waters Rule
The American Farm Bureau Federation added itself to the list of groups opposing the EPA/Army Corps of Engineers proposal to redefine "waters of the U.S."[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 9:00PM CDT 04/01/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
I hope more stick up for our rights.
Posted by Unknown at 1:31PM CDT 04/02/14
This is a prime example of EPA employees trying to justify their jobs, or should I say secure their jobs even deeper. Why do we keep funding an agency that has completely lost all the respect from the ag community? Quit throwing/wasting money at the EPA and maybe, just maybe they might start focusing on REAL issues that actually matter. If or when will the general public realize that we can't afford to pay a bunch of people to do a bogus job creating bogus laws and regulations that cost us even more to be in compliance or in fines. Rediculous!! They need to focus on real issues that really matter.
Posted by RJZ Peterson at 3:27PM CDT 04/03/14
 

Sunday 03/30/14

In Search of Immigration Reform in the House
Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal had articles this weekend lamenting the lack of action in the House of Representatives on immigration reform.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:02PM CDT 03/30/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
A great place to start with would be the elimination of government schemes that grant the most profitable farms an overwhelming financial competitive edge in a highly competitive business. These schemes deny smaller farms from competing or becoming established. For many decades smaller farmers provided a highly skilled source of labor for many other farmers small and large with their sons and daughters. Government has been so busy helping out those who do not need any help that most smaller farmers have no chance of competing in agriculture. The overwhelming financial bulletproofing and turbocharging of the most profitable farm businesses is what I am talking about. If government is going to hand out business financial enhancements all farmers are equally deserving of comparably valued financial enhancements. At this point it is obvious that our agricultural industry is highly vulnerable to foreign sources of labor. It is also highly obvious that the massive financial benefits being awarded those who choose not to work has eliminated this source of labor for American farmers. To incentive-ice these people to work, the only realistic option is cutting these benefits.
Posted by T Kuster at 6:47AM CDT 03/31/14
I don't follow your logic - can you be more specific? What government schemes provide more financial support to larger farmers than smaller ones? Don't all size farmers get the same direct payments (in the past) per acre, the same crop insurance subsidy levels, etc? FSA lending programs are generally only for smaller size farms, and program limits only affect larger farmers, so it would seem support might be slanted more toward smaller farmers. I'm not aware of any kind of government financial support that goes to larger farmers but not to smaller ones. What overwhelming financial bulletproofing are you referring to? I agree with the last part - who's going to milk cows at 4:00AM for $15/hour when they can eat and have a place to live doing nothing?
Posted by Gary Hoots at 8:20AM CDT 03/31/14
In arriving at the fair market value of government benefits per farmer there are least 2 parts to the equation. One is benefits per acre and the other is number of acres of benefits per farmer. In arriving at the amount of government profit guaranteed per farmer the same 2 factors obviously apply. Anyone with integrity can agree that government has been providing massive profit guarantees to some farmers and that in arriving at the total value of the profit guaranteed per farmer to look at only at the value of the profit guaranteed for one acre would be a dishonest approach. Most everyone agrees that federal crop insurance in most cases covers all or very close to all land costs. Many farmers have no appreciable land costs other than real estate taxes. Government schemes that guarantee and cover land costs are obviously a profit guarantee for these individuals. In arriving at the total amount of crop insurance premium subsidy per farmer obviously there are also at least 2 factors - the amount of crop insurance premium per acre and the amount of acres each farmer receives payment for. I am assuming by now you can determine the total value of past direct payments per farmer.
Posted by T Kuster at 9:48AM CDT 03/31/14
 

Thursday 03/27/14

Lesser Prairie Chicken Decision Ruffles Feathers
Much to the dismay of people in agriculture and other industries in the southern plains, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the lesser prairie chicken as a "threatened" species that requires more protection from development and other impacts from businesses.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:53PM CDT 03/27/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
Crazy to put them on a "threatened list" when there is a hunting season for them in Kansas. PRAIRIE CHICKEN (Permit required) Early (East and Northwest zones): Sept. 15 - Oct. 15, 2014 Daily Bag Limit: 2 (single species or in combination) Regular (East and Northwest zones): Nov. 15, 2014 - Jan. 31, 2015 Daily Bag Limit: 2 (single species or in combination) Southwest Zone: Nov. 15 - Dec. 31, 2014 Daily Bag Limit: 1
Posted by Mr. Brandy at 12:05PM CDT 03/28/14
Unbelievable they are still issuing hunting licenses for a threatened species. Tells you a lot about their management and what power the hunting lobbies have, they are running the policy of this country and taking all of the private land owners rights.
Posted by Unknown at 2:10PM CDT 03/28/14
 

Wednesday 03/26/14

Senators Concerned About Possible FSA Office Closures
Once again, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack got a lot of questions and concerns expressed Wednesday by members of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee about USDA plans to close as many as 250 Farm Service Agency offices nationally.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:40PM CDT 03/26/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
Chris I would like to see you blog about the new EPA proposed rules so your readers can commit about it.
Posted by Unknown at 8:16AM CDT 03/27/14
 

Tuesday 03/25/14

Tax Extenders Remain in Limbo
The House Ways and Means Committee will take up a series of tax-extender measures in April, according to an a memo from Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. The Senate Finance Committee also could markup a tax-extenders package in early April.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 9:59AM CDT 03/25/14 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Monday 03/24/14

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Targets Conservation in Prairie Pothole Region
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is partnering with conservation groups to highlight problems with grassland conversions to crop production in the Prairie Pothole Region. USDA on Monday announced some changes from 2014 Farm Bill for the Farm Service Agency's loan programs.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:23PM CDT 03/24/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (4)
Please add some information concerning diving ducks. I've read, the issue with them is what boils down to, sport fishing. Stocking shallow water bodies with minnows and then aerating for bait fish destroys the food supply for diving ducks. There is always more to the story than those greedy farmers, we just do not hear about it.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:54AM CDT 03/25/14
In South Dakota alone there are RECORD WATERFOWL NUMBERS!!! In 2012 these numbers were 2-5 times that of normal! These kind of tactics to control private property rights are out of control. They have no plan to work with landowners, their only plan is to take control of your land without proper compensation. If these species are not threatened they should not be taking such drastic measures. They haven't limited licenses, or cut down on limits. Public land ends were private land begins!
Posted by Unknown at 8:05AM CDT 03/25/14
Have an out of state landlord. She got a letter on this on a piece of ground that has NO wetlands offering easement. In their prospectus letter they list all the falsehoods about their easements ect. Its all a giant crock of you know what! The NAZIS were more lenient in their policies than the Fish and Wildlife guys. These guys are slimier than the wetland creatures they try to protect. Told my NRCS guy about the letter to out of state landlord and he said I was the 4th person to tell him such a tale of out of state people being offered a whopping 400-500 an acre for easements. These guys are crooks and also why are we writing checks for wetlands in pastures and such when we as a country are broke??????? Pathetic our government funds this crap.
Posted by Roger Neshem at 9:31AM CDT 03/25/14
They're targeting seizing your land rights, not conservation. So then they can manage your land like they manage the country. Roads in disrepair, bridges you can't cross, debt our kids can't pay for.
Posted by Unknown at 8:24AM CDT 03/27/14
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Recent Blog Posts
  • Vilsack: I Don't Have Presidential Sizzle
  • Proposed Rule on Waters of the U.S. Flows into Federal Register
  • Landowner Effects Expected from Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing
  • Senators Concerned Plan to Reduce Methane Emissions Will Hurt Ag
  • SNAP Program Sees Change in CBO Estimates
  • Everyone is Lobbying on the RFS
  • The IPCC on Biofuels: Good or Bad?
  • Senators See No Place for Geographical Indicators
  • Senate Finance Committee Approves Tax Extenders Package
  • Farm Bureau Opposes EPA Waters Rule
  • In Search of Immigration Reform in the House
  • Lesser Prairie Chicken Decision Ruffles Feathers
  • Senators Concerned About Possible FSA Office Closures
  • Tax Extenders Remain in Limbo
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Targets Conservation in Prairie Pothole Region
  • California, Ethanol and Eggs
  • USDA Highlights Organic Programs in Farm Bill
  • ARC, PLC, SCO and NCAA Tourney Picks
  • Carbon Offset Program Announced for Rice Growers
  • FAPRI Projects Billions More in PLC Payments Than CBO Numbers