michigan-ag-blog-profilepic Michigan Agriculture Now

  • Challenge of Increasing Beef Checkoff

    Posted by Rick Shields

     The Beef Checkoff began 27 years ago at one-dollar per head - with half of the money staying in the state and the other half going to the national program. Those funds then went to research, promotions and advertising. Over the years - the dollar-per-head collection has stayed the same because there was no escalator clause. As the value of the dollar has decreased due to inflation over these 27 years - so has the purchasing power of the beef checkoff dollars. National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Scott George says it’s time to come up with a solution to this dilemma

    Challenging of Increasing Beef Checkoff

  • Farm Bill Prospects Get Nudge

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The farm bill effort took another step forward when the U.S. Senate followed the House in passing a budget that sets requirements for writing a new farm law. The Senate budget does not provide the Ag Committee with a deficit-reduction target as the House did - but it does give the Senate Budget Chair authority to revise farm bill spending based on a deficit-neutral reserve fund. American Farm Bureau Director Dale Moore

    Farm Bill Prospects Get Nudge

  • Ethanol Trade-Gas Spike Connection?

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee is asking the Environmental Protection Agency for data that may help determine if ethanol trading credit price volatility has anything to do with a recent run-up in gasoline prices.

    Energy Chair Ron Wyden of Oregon says gasoline prices over the last six months climbed to their highest-ever autumn and wintertime levels - even as U.S. oil production reached a 20-year high and consumption fell. Wyden also points out that prices for ethanol trading credits used to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard - known as RINs - spiked from seven-cents in early January to $1.10 by mid-March.

    Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen says he doesn’t know why trading credit prices have spiked

    Ethanol Trade-Gas Spike Connection?

  • Meat Inspector Issue Solved

    Posted by Rick Shields

     Congress avoided a funding showdown and a government shutdown and even approved some sequester relief for meat inspectors. The House voted 318 to 109 in a largely bipartisan vote to accept Senate-amended stop-gap funding to cover the rest of the fiscal year - averting a March 27th government shutdown. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says a Senate amendment by Missouri’s Roy Blunt and Mark Pryor of Arkansas may have ended 92-hundred FSIS meat inspector, lab tech and other furloughs under sequestration

    Meat Inspector Issue Solved

  • Farm Bank Performance Good

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The Farm Bank Performance Report was released and there was some good news in the report - according to John Blanchfield - senior vice president and director of the American Banking Association's Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking

    Farm Bank Performance Good

  • Crop Insurance Decisions Ahead

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Producers have to determine the amount of crop insurance they need by looking at a variety of factors - including established average yields. AgriBank Executive Vice President, Credit and Chief Credit Officer Jeff Swanhorst says producers must discuss details on average yields, prices set and coverage levels on each crop. The established yield is based on the history of the past 10-years of growth for a product - and the primary decision for a producer is what coverage level he wants to take

    Crop Insurance Decisions Ahead

  • Pesticide-Grassland Bird Decline

    Posted by Rick Shields

    A researcher for the Canadian government says a statistical analysis shows pesticide poisoning has more responsibility for declining grassland bird populations than loss of habitat. The researcher - Pierre Mineau - says based on data from USDA, the U.S. Geological Survey and a private think tank - pesticide risk is 3.9 times more plausible as a variable in predicting bird declines than habitat changes

    Pesticide-Grassland Bird Decline

  • A Bare Bone Farm Bill

    Posted by Rick Shields

     The next farm bill - if it ever gets written - may have a bare bones commodity title - according to longtime Ag Senator Chuck Grassley. Despite all the proposals on the table - including individual or county Ag Risk Coverage - or ARC - target prices, marketing loans and a supplemental coverage option - Grassley says the money’s just not there to have a lot of choices in the next farm bill…

    A Bare Bones Farm Bill

  • Crop Insurance Fraud Case

    Posted by Rick Shields

     It is likely the largest crop insurance fraud bust in U.S. history - and the head of USDA’s Risk Management Agency says it sends a positive signal to Capitol Hill about the key safety net program in the farm bill. The story got just a tiny mention in the Washington Post. Yet the government’s unraveling of a 100-million dollar scheme by dozens of North Carolina crop insurance agents, adjusters, brokers and farmers to defraud the program is likely record breaking and key for the farm bill debate.

    Forty-one defendants have either pleaded guilty or reached plea deals after profiting from false claims for losses of soybeans, wheat, corn and tobacco. RMA Administrator Brandon Willis on the probe by RMA, the IRS and the Justice Department…

    Crop Insurance Fraud Case

  • Senator Considers Path of Farm Bill

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Work on a farm bill may not start in earnest until May - after Congress writes a budget and deals with the next debt ceiling cliff. A number and a commitment - that’s what House Ag Top Democrat Collin Peterson said recently it would take to do serious work on a farm bill. But neither may come until after tough House-Senate bargaining on a federal budget and a May 18th deadline to raise the nation’s borrowing limit - which Treasury could stretch until August. Iowa Ag Senator Chuck Grassley says preliminary farm bill work could start well before that in the Senate

    Senator Considers Path of Farm Bill

  • AMI on Meat Inspection Furloughs

    Posted by Rick Shields

    : The U.S. Meat industry is very concerned over the possibility of stoppage of production at packing plants across the country following failure to solve the sequester problem. American Meat Institute’s Janet Riley says they will know more next week where the furlough process is at. She says USDA has the ability and duty to make cuts without ceasing inspections

    AMI on Meat Inspection Furloughs

  • Inspector Furloughs Draw GOP Ire

    Posted by Rick Shields

    USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack came under fire from House Ag Committee Republicans at a Tuesday hearing for his plans to furlough meat inspectors under sequestration. The hearing was supposed to review the state of the rural economy - but it quickly shifted to a GOP-led attack on Vilsack’s meat inspector furlough threat as the White House and Hill continued to jostle over who’s to blame for the sequester. House Ag Chair Frank Lucas…

    Inspector Furloughs Draw GOP Ire