Administration, Senators Question Direction of Doha Talks

WASHINGTON (November 24, 2009)—Two top-level trade officials in the Obama administration recently told Congress what they thought of the trade deal currently on the table at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Senators liked what they heard. “No deal is better than a bad deal” was the common refrain during the Senate Finance Committee’s nomination…

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Key Senators Urge USDA to Protect Crop Insurance Program

WASHINGTON (Aug. 24, 2009)—Ten U.S. Senators sent a bipartisan letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week urging its Risk Management Agency (RMA) to approach upcoming negotiations over the Federal Crop Insurance Program with great care. Led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Senator Saxby Chambliss (GA), the Committee’s…

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Farmers Wait and Wait and Wait Some More for Farm Law Direction

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2009)—Ideally, implementing rules provide a clear-cut “yes” or “no” for newly passed laws. Not so with the 2008 farm bill’s changes on disaster assistance, payment limitations, and eligibility provisions, which have left farmers with a lot of “maybes”… and a lot of confusion. Industry groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation (www.fb.org),…

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Farmers to Appropriators: Don’t Touch Farm Bill

WASHINGTON (Jun 08, 2009)—Members of the agricultural community have a money message for Congress – don’t pull funding from the 2008 farm law in budgeting for the year ahead. Forty-three organizations, among them the nation’s largest farm associations, crop insurance providers, and agricultural lenders, petitioned the House Appropriations Committee in a letter last Thursday to…

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TIME Flies: Part 3

In addition to bad hairdos, Woodstock, and butterfly collars, the ‘70s also brought with it groundbreaking technologies that propelled many U.S. businesses into a new era. Farming was no exception. But the new technologies that improved efficiency and boosted yields came with a hefty price tag. The cost of farming skyrocketed during the decade, and…

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TIME Flies: Part 1

Nowadays, it’s pretty difficult to get a mainstream news organization to pay much attention to the business of farming or the importance of the profession to the country. Big-city reporters today tend to focus on the sensational and the conflicts created by a handful of over-zealous farm opponents. Apparently, it hasn’t always been this way.…

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Cutting Holes in the Farm Safety Net Doesn’t Add Up

WASHINGTON (Mar 26, 2009)—The government is on a spending spree, funneling billions to big business and “toxic assets.”  Amazingly, one minute expense—America’s farmers—briefly found their way into the cost-cutting crosshairs when President Obama released his budget proposal. The outcry over proposed cuts to the farm safety net was fierce.  Powerful lawmakers from both parties and the…

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Hands Off the Farm Bill

WASHINGTON (March 23, 2009)—Prompted by President Obama’s proposed budget—which would gut the farm safety net and exclude many full-time farmers from federal assistance—lawmakers and farm groups sent a unified, bipartisan message today to anyone eying farm policy for future budget cuts. 17 Senators, 52 House members, and 40 farm organizations sent separate letters to Congressional…

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Gross Sale Out

WASHINGTON (Feb 27, 2009)—While big businesses ranging from insurance giants to banks, car companies, investment houses, and construction firms are raking in hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars, the men and women who feed and clothe the country received some unwelcome news yesterday from President Barack Obama. In the President’s proposed budget, farmers with more…

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ForGot Milk?

WASHINGTON (Feb 23, 2009)—Open any major newspaper in the country and you’ll find countless stories of economic distress. Companies are shedding jobs, house foreclosures are on the rise, and the Dow plunges to new lows almost every day. But there’s one story that’s hardly been told—a story that has a direct impact on the breakfast…

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Farmers to USDA: Implement Farm Bill Now

WASHINGTON (Dec 10, 2008)—Major farm organizations sent Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer a letter yesterday conveying serious concerns about the significant delay in publishing the regulations implementing numerous commodity and conservation provisions of the recently enacted farm bill. The letter, which was also delivered to Office of Management & Budget Director Jim Nussle and to Congressional…

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Finance, Ways and Means Leaders Urge President to Stand Firm on Doha Round

Press release from the Senate Finance Committee Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), along with House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Jim McCrery (R-La), sent a letter today to President Bush, urging the administration to stand firm in the Doha Round negotiations at the…

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Former Ag Chairman Warns of Doha Disaster

WASHINGTON (Nov 20, 2008)—Larry Combest, the former Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, this week penned a policy paper outlining potential pitfalls for farmers if the current World Trade Organization trade talks conclude without serious revisions. “Moving forward with the current direction of the Doha Round would critically injure an important sector of the U.S.…

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Farm Bill Breakdown: TITLE VI – Rural Development

WASHINGTON (Nov 3, 2008)—Since 1973, farm bills have included a Rural Development Title. The 2008 farm bill builds on that tradition, addressing a wide range of policy issues affecting rural communities. Subjects covered by the title include economic planning and development; essential community facilities (such as emergency first responders and healthcare); water, waste disposal, and…

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Doha Discussion Paper: Special Products Exemption Sharply Reduces Market Access

By: National Cotton Council There are many remaining areas of disagreement in the Doha Round trade negotiations. In the months since the Doha Round July mini-ministerial, virtually all of the discussion has centered on the Special Safeguard Mechanism, cotton, and Sectoral Negotiations in the NAMA (non-agricultural market access) negotiations as being among the last remaining…

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