michigan-ag-blog-profilepic Michigan Agriculture Now

  • Senators Want WTO Challenge

    Posted by Rick Shields

    More than a dozen Senators want the U.S. to consider bringing a WTO challenge against the European Commission over anti-dumping duties the EC imposed against U.S. ethanol. The 14 Senators from the Midwest and Upper Midwest ethanol-producing states complained in a letter this week to Top U.S. Trade officials about the EC’s decades-old international anti-dumping law. The lawmakers urge Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank to consider a WTO challenge of 9.6-percent the EC is violating anti-dumping duty against all U.S. ethanol sold in the EU.

    Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen says the EC acted despite finding no dumping by six U.S. ethanol firms and four marketers

    Senators Want WTO Challenge

  • Crop Insurance-Sound Investment

    Posted by Rick Shields

     If you take a road trip across the country - House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says it’s easy to see the diversity of American agriculture. He notes the nation’s farmers produce different crops, employ different growing techniques and face unique market and weather risks. Even so - he says they do find common ground

    Crop Insurance-Sound Investment

  • TPP Get High Marks

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The Trans Pacific Partnership negotiation got high marks from both parties at a Senate Finance hearing on TPP - while the panel’s Top Republican issued some caution flags. There’s no denying the importance of the TPP agreement to agriculture if successful. Retiring Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus…

    TPP Gets High Marks

  • Animal Antibiotic Use Fight Heats Up

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The fight between livestock and environmental groups over antibiotic-resistant diseases and whether animal ag is to blame is heating up again. The Environmental Working Group claimed in its own report last week that food animal antibiotics use is the main cause of antibiotic-resistant diseases in people. And the EWG says it found increasing levels of so-called superbugs on meat. But National Pork Producers Spokesman Dave Warner says government data contradicts that finding…

    Animal Antibiotic Use Fight Heats Up

  • Push For Livestock Disaster Aid

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The push is on to renew livestock disaster aid that expired a year before the 2008 Farm Bill lapsed last September. Livestock producers were left high and dry during the historic drought last year when House leaders refused to take up an Ag Committee-passed farm bill and renew disaster aid funding.

    National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Scott George says NCBA doesn’t want to take that chance again this year and is a backing a free-standing bill to cover Fiscal 2012 and 2013 losses retroactively…

    Push For Livestock Disaster Aid

  • No Mark-Up Yet

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Lawmakers were still waiting this week for a farm bill mark-up schedule on the Senate Ag Committee - while USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack defended his budget on Capitol Hill. Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley expressed surprise this week when asked about a mark-up date for a Senate Farm Bill that’s been expected for weeks to come in April

    No Mark-Up Yet

  • EPA Nominee Sees Hurdles Ahead

    Posted by Rick Shields

     President Obama’s nominee for EPA Administrator says the agency has some bridge-building work to do with the ag community after a tumultuous few years of regulatory battles. Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer wanted to know if Gina McCarthy would back a bill to increase the on-farm exemption for fuel spill containment. Fischer related one farmer’s account of the difficulty and cost of complying with EPA rules and drew a more conciliatory response from McCarthy than - perhaps - expected…

    EPA Nominee Sees Hurdles Ahead

  • Budget Proposals Draw Fire

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Key farm groups are not happy President Obama wants to cut crop insurance more and also shift foreign food-aid into cash assistance. The American Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union and American Soybean Association are all critical of the President’s USDA budget proposals. AFBF Senior Economist Bob Young says Obama’s budget is two-months late. The House and Senate have already passed budgets - and now the President wants to cut crop insurance another 7.5-billion dollars after billions in earlier cuts

    Budget Proposals Draw Fire

  • Grassley on Targe Prices

    Posted by Rick Shields

     Two farm groups - the American Farm Bureau and American Soybean Association - now back target prices in any new farm bill - but Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley says forget it. Grassley quickly discounted any chance the Senate Ag Committee would drop its objections from last year to include target prices in a re-worked farm bill - even if target prices were lowered for key crops. Grassley doesn’t think it’s the route the Senate Farm Bill’s going to go

    Grassley on Target Prices

  • Farm Bill Movement After the Break

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Congress returns from its Easter break next week - and work on a farm bill could start in the Senate Ag Committee soon afterward. American Farm Bureau Director Dale Moore expects farm bill work to start in earnest in the Senate Ag Committee first probably in a few weeks

    Farm Bill Work After the Break

  • Ag impacts of the C-R

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The stop-gap measure Congress passed last month to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year impacts other parts of ag besides meat inspectors. Meat inspector furloughs averted in the stop-gap budget bill got most of ag’s attention. But there were other impacts not averted - among them a remaining 5.2-percent cut across the board for all annual spending bills - affecting programs like direct payments - and an added 2.5-percent cut in non-mandatory spending.

    American Soybean Association President Danny Murphy on one cut that may still be an increase…

    Ag Impacts of the C-R

  • EPA Regs Farm Cost

    Posted by Rick Shields

    : EPA is again proposing to reduce sulfur in gasoline and tighten auto emissions starting in 2017. EPA last reduced sulfur content in fuel seven-years ago by 90-percent in conventional gasoline - 97-percent in ultra-low sulfur diesel - with 25 to 50-million a year in higher farm costs - based on three-to-five-cents more per gallon for fuel. Now EPA’s proposing a 60-percent sulfur reduction - 70-percent less soot - and 80-percent less nitrogen oxides. EPA puts the cost at less than a penny a gallon - while the oil industry says it will raise gas prices by six-to-nine-cents. National Farmers Union Official Chandler Goule did not immediately know the farm cost impact of the latest plan - but argues for cleaner burning fuels - including biodiesel

    EPA Regs Farm Cost