National Farm News

Oregon farm lobby watch water, labeling, land-use bills

Posted 2/3/2013


Capital Press


Bills to label food containing genetically modified ingredients and restrict their production have put Oregon’s farm lobby on the defensive as the 2013 Legislature gets underway.

But opportunities also are present.

Buoyed by Gov. John Kitzhaber’s proposal to sink $22 million into water development, the Oregon Farm Bureau views the session as an opportunity for irrigated agriculture, said Katie Fast, the organization’s director of government affairs.

“I think this is a year of opportunity for water development in Oregon,” Fast said.

“For the first time in a long time we’re seeing a request for funds for a water-supply development program,” said Brenda Bateman, spokesperson for the Oregon Water Resources Department. “That includes above- and below-ground storage, interstate partnerships to gain access to stored water, and other strategies. And we just haven’t had those kinds of strategic conversations in a very long time.” Continue reading

Census of Ag questionnaires go out this month

Capital Press

Posted 12/4/2012

The next national Census of Agriculture will seek more specific data on internet use and alternative energy production on farms, ranches and dairies.

The census is the only survey producers are legally required to complete. It’s conducted every five years, with the last census released in 2007.

Donald Buysse, head of the census for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, said it helps determine emerging issues in agriculture. The last census introduced general questions asking producers if they had internet access or generated any alternative energy. Continue reading

Day of Prayer for Those Affected by Drought

from the AFB

Columbia, TN, August 22, 2012 – Tomorrow, the American Farm Bureau Federation will be asking Americans all across this nation to take time out and remember those facing severe struggles due to this year’s devastating drought. The Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation is also urging all fellow Tennesseans to give time in prayer remembering those individuals and families facing challenges related to the ongoing drought during this National Day of Prayer for Drought Victims.


“There is hardly a person involved in agriculture this year who has not been adversely affected by the drought of 2012,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “And while many farm and ranch families are feeling the effects immediately due to withered crops, parched pastures, higher feed costs, or even wildfires, the lingering effects of this drought will be felt all across our nation for many months to come.” Continue reading

Senate passes five-year farm and food bill


Capital Press/Associated Press

Posted June 21, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has passed a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that cuts farm subsidies and land conservation spending by about $2 billion a year. But the measure largely protects sugar growers and some 46 million food stamp beneficiaries.


The 64-35 vote for passage defied the political odds. Many predicted that legislation this expensive and complicated would have little chance in an election year.


The bill eliminates direct payments to farmers regardless of whether they plant crops. That program, which costs about $5 billion a year, has lost support at a time of big federal deficits. Continue reading

AFBF: New Bill Would Preserve Clean Water Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2012 – The American Farm Bureau Federation this week asked members of Congress to support H.R. 4965, a bill that would preserve existing U.S. water rights and responsibilities to the Clean Water Act. The bipartisan bill was introduced by Reps. John Mica (R-Fla.), Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio).

According to AFBF, H.R. 4965 does not alter the Clean Water Act, but it merely reaffirms longstanding provisions in the law. It would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from pursuing the agencies’ proposed Final Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act and from using it as a basis for regulation.

“In Farm Bureau’s view, the agencies’ proposal improperly changes the law of the land,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman in a letter to House members. “The Guidance effectively eliminates the term ‘navigable’ from the Clean Water Act. It dramatically expands the scope of federal jurisdiction under the act and virtually eliminates a central precept of the act, which reserves certain waters to the exclusive jurisdiction of the states.”

Allowing the agencies to pursue the Final Guidance raises three critical considerations: (1) whether the law permits such a major policy shift to be pursued through guidance; (2) whether the agencies are exceeding the authority granted them by Congress; and (3) the profound impact this policy change would have on the economic health of the agricultural sector, which is vital to assuring a thriving national economy that produces jobs and raises living standards for all Americans.

“The Guidance expands jurisdiction well beyond the words and intent of Congress and the limits affirmed by the Supreme Court,” continued Stallman. “While Farm Bureau would be concerned if the proposed policy were advanced through a rule-making, for EPA and the Corps to implement such a significant change to the Clean Water Act through guidance is indefensible. The issues raised by the guidance should be decided by elected officeholders on Capitol Hill. In the absence of congressional approval, the agencies should not move forward and assert federal regulatory power – especially through an informal guidance document – where Congress has not approved such a step.”

H.R. 4278, the Preserving Rural Resources Act would help farmers

Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding the Introduction of H.R. 4278, the Preserving Rural Resources Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28, 2012 – “H.R. 4278, the Preserving Rural Resources Act, introduced in the House of Representatives today, addresses a critical issue. The legislation reinforces agricultural exemptions granted to farmers and ranchers by Congress in Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

“Without these exemptions, farmers, ranchers and the forestry community will face increased federal regulatory and compliance costs, as well as constraints on land used for the production of food, fiber and fuel. We’ve seen a concerted effort by regulators to narrow the scope and usefulness of the CWA exemption Congress explicitly intended for agriculture. This legislation is intended to reaffirm congressional intent.

“We thank Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and Robert Hurt (R-Va.) for introducing the Preserving Rural Resources Act and look forward to working with them to ensure its swift consideration and approval by the House.”

Preserve the Waters of U.S. Act receives Farm Bureau support

Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding the Introduction of S. 2245, the Preserve the Waters of the U.S. Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 29, 2012 – “The Preserve the Waters of the U.S. Act (S. 2245) addresses a critical issue. The legislation will stop the Environmental Protection Agency and Corp of Engineers from issuing final guidance that would significantly expand the regulatory reach of the two agencies.

“The final guidance proposed by EPA and the Corps would, in effect, eliminate the term ‘navigable’ from the Clean Water Act. This would dramatically expand the scope of federal jurisdiction by eliminating a provision of the law that reserves jurisdiction over certain waters to the states.

“By issuing a guidance document as opposed to going through the rulemaking process, EPA and the Corps are bypassing the necessary public outreach required under the Administrative Procedures Act.

“Expanding federal jurisdiction in this manner-well beyond the words and intent of Congress and the limits affirmed by the Supreme Court-will harm farmers, ranchers and private landowners nationwide. We urge swift approval of the Preserve the Waters of the U.S. Act.”