Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Monday 10/20/14

Views in Congress Vary on COOL
Congress declined to change COOL in the 2014 farm bill. House members blame the Senate for blocking any changes in COOL until the WTO completed its work. An appeal of the ruling on Monday likely could stretch out any possible retaliatory actions by Canada until late 2015. By then, either the Obama administration could draft yet another rule and leave it to the next administration to defend or Congress could opt to kill or change the rule. Some in Congress reacted to the WTO decision on Monday.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:06PM CDT 10/20/14 by Chris Clayton | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Thursday 10/16/14

Vilsack Addresses Checkoff Controversy
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the process could begin soon to start to create a new beef checkoff that would be in place by 2016. However, he's willing to pull the plug on that process if the beef industry could reach some consensus on changes to the current checkoff.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 7:00PM CDT 10/16/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
If those at the helm can not agree on a buck, will 2 bucks not double the trouble?
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 9:17PM CDT 10/16/14
 
GAO: 'USDA Needs to Better Communicate Climate Plan'
Although USDA has a plan in place to help U.S. farmers make adaptations for possible changes in climate, a new U.S. Government Accountability Office report said USDA is struggling to put together all of the pieces of its plan.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:29PM CDT 10/16/14 by Todd Neeley | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Sunday 10/12/14

Offering Advice on Farm Bill Choices
The menu of options for farm programs and the one-time, irrevocable decisions mean economists are now faced with laying out potential program choices for farmers. Those recommendations could help farmers stay afloat during the price downturn or could translate into lost income if the wrong counsel leads producers to make the wrong decision over the five-year lifespan of the farm bill.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:30PM CDT 10/12/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
I think we will just continue doing the best we can, if the gov. sends a check, we will cash it.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:27PM CDT 10/12/14
 

Friday 10/10/14

Governors, Attorneys General say CWA Rule a Legal Threat to Farmers
Since the release of the proposed waters of the U.S. rule, the EPA has maintained it is simply codifying those waters that already are jurisdictional, and that it narrows down the scope of those waters covered with new definitions, and farmers have nothing to fear if they don't already need permits.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 10:28AM CDT 10/10/14 by Todd Neeley | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
I wish these same governors and AG were just as concerned about the oil companies keeping E-85 and the mid grades out of filling stations .$3.00 corn means the cost of producing ethanol is about $1.05 per gal. The best and cleanest fuel is not available at 98% of the stations. Blender Pumps are the greatest inovation in car fueling in my lifetime.
Posted by melvin meister at 12:12PM CDT 10/10/14
 

Thursday 10/09/14

Dem Senators ask President to Leave RFS Alone
A pair of Democratic senators concerned that cutting the mandated production of biofuels in the Renewable Fuel Standard, have asked President Barack Obama to leave the 2014 RFS volumes in place. Their concerns are based on a recent analysis that said cutting biofuels production would lead to increased carbon pollution.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 12:18PM CDT 10/09/14 by Todd Neeley | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
Thanks to the Senators .There is no blend wall just oil companies stopping ethanol every way possible.Where are the Blender Pumps .We need a choice at the pump.
Posted by melvin meister at 3:10PM CDT 10/09/14
 

Wednesday 10/08/14

Senators Push for Withdraw of Endangered Species Act Rule
A group of U.S. Senate leaders have asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to withdraw a rule that would allow the federal government to more easily designate land and water as critical habitat through the Endangered Species Act, in a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Commerce Wednesday.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:44PM CDT 10/08/14 by Todd Neeley | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Monday 10/06/14

ARC and the PLC Reference Price
I have to correct some bad information here. Last week, a farmer emailed me asking about the lowest price that can be used on Agricultural Risk Coverage in factoring the five-year Olympic average. I wrongly said ARC would always use the market-year average price and people should separate out the reference prices used for Price Loss Coverage.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:14PM CDT 10/06/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
I like people who have the courage to admit a mistake. There should be more.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 6:36AM CDT 10/07/14
The only mistake made was this overly complicated messed up portion of the farm bill. Must have been thought up by some Colorado and Washington congressmen during an evening of "Who can roll up the fattest doobie". Otherwise, how would you think up this stuff?
Posted by Mr. Brandy at 8:23AM CDT 10/08/14
 

Sunday 10/05/14

Beef Promotion Leads to Beef Politics
On Friday afternoon a group of reporters heard another complaint the Obama administration's Big Government agenda is going after the cattle industry by trainwrecking the beef checkoff. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has floated the idea of creating a separate beef checkoff program that would run parallel to the current program.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 5:09PM CDT 10/05/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
This is the same NCBA that joined Big Oil in attacking Ethanol. my way or the highway.
Posted by melvin meister at 3:04PM CDT 10/09/14
 

Thursday 10/02/14

Small Business Advocacy Group Calls for CWA Rule to be Withdrawn
An advocacy group within the U.S. Small Business Administration Wednesday asked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the rule. The group said the two agencies didn't considering how the rule could affect small business owners across the country.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 1:39PM CDT 10/02/14 by Todd Neeley | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Wednesday 10/01/14

CRP, Base Acres and Proof for Yield Updates
We've had a couple of questions that make me go "Hmmm" over the last few days on farm bill programs, particularly when it comes to base acre reallocation and yield update. I thought I would share what I found out.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 5:06PM CDT 10/01/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
Change 2013 to 2012 in your columns
Posted by LeeFarms at 8:03AM CDT 10/02/14
 

Tuesday 09/30/14

Business Groups: Withdraw WOTUS Rule
A coalition of 63 business groups representing everything from farm organizations to oil and natural gas groups, as well as homebuilders, mining, manufacturing and even golf-course trade groups all joined to write federal regulators on Monday again asking them to withdraw the proposed rule redefining waters of the United States.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:35PM CDT 09/30/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
So more than just Farm Bureau is of the opinion that; ambiguity is not the solution to pollution.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:13AM CDT 10/01/14
However, the "coalition" letter is accessed from the Farm Bureau website. So do we just ignore this issue since it is the EPA and Army Corps suggesting resolve? It is the government after all, ag's "sugar daddy", especially in the down years. Is the current American philosophy, problems, even those man made, are best ignored, not contained, because it is inconvenient to not pollute?
Posted by Don Thompson at 7:06AM CDT 10/01/14
 

Thursday 09/25/14

Photo Fees on Public Lands? C'Mon, Man!
Social media has been abuzz the past couple of days over a proposed rule by the U.S. Forest Service that would require journalists to get permits if they want to shoot photos or record videos on national forests or grasslands.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:42PM CDT 09/25/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (6)
Looks like the same trend us farmers have been facing. Agencies passing law which they don't have authority to do than after they enact the regulation(law) they ask us what we think. I thought in America proposed regulation or laws are supposed to go through a public scrutiny and congressional approval before that happens. Maybe we shouldn't be so hard on Russia because we are becoming more like the former USSR all the time.
Posted by Unknown at 10:32PM CDT 09/25/14
Actually it seems that these permits are being used to keep people from filming ecological misuses of Federal Land such as Utah tar sand extraction. Another point is that its a way for the public lands to be self sufficient in income rather then dependent on tax payers money,,,,, both of these points benefit the conservative view of land usage.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 8:25AM CDT 09/26/14
Do the Environmental Journalists have an opinion of WOTUS? I would bet it is opposite this one.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:38AM CDT 09/27/14
No, the Forest Service is Not Planning to Charge You $1500 to Photograph the Wilderness http://www.wncoutdoors.info/2014/09/no-the-forest-service-is-not-planning-to-charge-you-1500-to-photograph-the-wilderness/
Posted by Jennifer Blackburn at 7:57AM CDT 09/29/14
I farm and I am a professional photographer. I think I understand what the service is trying to accomplish. There are so many cable companies and others such as Fox that claim to be news and journalist organizations but are actually only licensed as entertainment companies, not networks in the public interest. When these companies use the public lands for profit, that is against the law according to the original act. It should also be noted that many private companies want these lands opened up for drilling and fracking. They sometimes use photography as a means to gain access and survey. I can understand the service using this as a way of simply having an idea of who is there and why. Your comment about begging forgiveness rather than get permission upsets me greatly. I operate a 200 acre private nature preserve as part of my farms conservation plan. If I caught you there with out permission you would be charged with trespass, no amount of begging will help. You would not believe how many times I have been threatened and lied to by people caught there. And with conceal carry, there is nothing more unsettling than to confront someone on your own land that holds his hand over his holster and says "you don't want to press that 911 key on that phone". As to the comment on another post about regulation with out public scrutiny, that is why there is a public comment period for this and the WOTUS regulations.
Posted by Unknown at 8:11AM CDT 09/29/14
Why was the farm bills comment period less than 30 days?
Posted by Unknown at 11:53AM CDT 10/01/14
 

Tuesday 09/23/14

USDA ARC-PLC Rollout and Decision Tools for Farmers
The Agriculture Secretary will be announcing sign up dates for the programs, but more likely he will be announcing details about program rules for ARC and PLC. Along with Vilsack's announcement come computer decision tools from Texas A&M and the University of Illinois to help farmers choose between commodity programs.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:23PM CDT 09/23/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
Sure hope the roll out is a bit more smooth than the Obamacare belly flop.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 10:12AM CDT 09/24/14
The ARCPLC regulation will be on display tomorrow, September 25 at the Federal Register. It is scheduled to publish Friday, September 26.
Posted by G. Sean O'neill at 9:50PM CDT 09/24/14
 

Friday 09/19/14

Point, Counterpoint on EPA's Waters of the U.S. Rule
On Wednesday, the Farm Foundation hosted a forum at the National Press Club over some of the complex issues involved in the proposed rule regarding waters of the United States by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 1:58PM CDT 09/19/14 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
Glad to see someone counter the grandstanding environmentalists who point at Iowa's 2013 spike in river nitrates by what I would call a perfect storm of weather phenomenon. I would also note that it takes little gray matter to parrot the word 'regulation', but much more wisdom to figure out practical ways to deal with nutrient and sediment pollution across a nearly infinite range of circumstances. That wisdom isn't likely to be found in D. C.!! I'd be anxious to learn how EPA or NRCS would deal with tile effluence when the tile system crosses multiple properties with multiple cropping, soils and fertilizer programs and the footage of tile for each landowner is unknown. Would the EPA simply fine the landowner with the tile outlet? Have they even considered this complexity or is the word 'regulation' somehow magical?
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:25AM CDT 09/21/14
Mehan seems to have a shred of honesty on the expansion of jurisdiction, but even he failed to note the proposed WOTUS rule's intended categorical claim that all waters in the prairie pothole regions and also in 25 of the 105 Level III Ecoregions of the United State (L3 EOTUS?) do have a significant nexus to WOTUS and will be made subject to CWA jurisdiction without analysis or right of appeal. That is a far, far, far more than 3% increase in jurisdiction. Just in the 3,000+ drainage districts in the glaciated, prairie pothole Des Moines lobe in Iowa, affecting about 30 counties, the estimated increase in jurisdictional area is 150,000 acres, all of it previously drained, continuously cropped wet farm ground. This is 100 times the total nation wide increase presented in the USEPA's economic analysis of the rule. Mitigating the now jurisdictional farmed mudholes will more than double the cost of a comprehensive drainage improvement project for the typical drainage district there--costing more than the cost of the improvement. This alone will stifle construction of much needed drainage improvements. In effect 97% of the land will be held hostage to the government control of 3%. But, now the other shoe. There is an old EPA policy from >30 years ago called the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines which requires a sequential assessment of alternatives to better draining a jurisdictional wetland. The USEPA classifies even a drained cropped farmed wetland as a "special aquatic site" and will automatically assume that the drainage can be avoided which the applicant must then overcome. When the EPA's assumption includes the option to buy other land rather than better drain the farmed wetland then it is a test that a farmer cannot win. In other words, if all this WOTUS HOKUS POKUS comes to pass no farmer and no drainage district will be able to prove they cannot avoid draining a farmed wetland under the 404(b)(1) guidelines and no permits will be issued to drain them. This is what Iowa drainage districts were beginning to run up against prior to the SWANCC ruling which beat back the USEPA for a time. Well, they're baaaaaack with a vengeance! I am a consulting engineer who has worked with CWA Sec 404 permits and farmed wetlands associated with drainage districts for 35 years. I wish what I have described were not true, but it is. I am personally appalled at the EPA's lack of regard for administrative procedures and for the willingness of its leaders to simultaneously campaign for and lie about the reach of the proposed rule. The nation would be foolish to allow the proposed WOTUS rule to stand.
Posted by Don Etler at 11:27AM CDT 10/02/14
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Recent Blog Posts
  • Views in Congress Vary on COOL
  • Vilsack Addresses Checkoff Controversy
  • GAO: 'USDA Needs to Better Communicate Climate Plan'
  • Offering Advice on Farm Bill Choices
  • Governors, Attorneys General say CWA Rule a Legal Threat to Farmers
  • Dem Senators ask President to Leave RFS Alone
  • Senators Push for Withdraw of Endangered Species Act Rule
  • ARC and the PLC Reference Price
  • Beef Promotion Leads to Beef Politics
  • Small Business Advocacy Group Calls for CWA Rule to be Withdrawn
  • CRP, Base Acres and Proof for Yield Updates
  • Business Groups: Withdraw WOTUS Rule
  • Photo Fees on Public Lands? C'Mon, Man!
  • USDA ARC-PLC Rollout and Decision Tools for Farmers
  • Point, Counterpoint on EPA's Waters of the U.S. Rule
  • Point, Counterpoint on EPA's Waters of the U.S. Rule
  • Senate Committee Passes Railroad Regulatory Bill
  • U.S. Shanghaied in Smithfield Deal?
  • Route 66: The End of the Trail
  • House Votes to Block EPA WOTUS Rule