michigan-ag-blog-profilepic Michigan Agriculture Now

  • Meet Gina McCarthy

    Posted by Rick Shields

    President Obama’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency is drawing both praise and fire in Washington. Agriculture had a long-running battle with former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson over regulations it saw as costly and burdensome. Now the President’s nominated Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy to take over the agency.

    McCarthy’s nod drew quick praise from environmental groups for fighting air pollution and criticism from fossil energy interests. Some farm interests are already publicly backing McCarthy. Growth Energy’s Tom Buis calls her an outstanding choice

    Meet Gina McCarthy

  • Fruit IPM Updates Coming

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Southwest Michigan growers have an opportunity to get the latest pesticide tips for insect and disease management at meetings over the next two weeks...

    Fruit IPM Updates Coming

  • Tough Road for the Farm Bill

    Posted by Rick Shields

    : Farm bill writers face a much more difficult path to a new bill this year if forced to make 27-billion in cuts to direct payments versus 16-billion in last year’s Senate-passed farm bill. Senate farm bill writers last year didn’t use all their direct payment savings for deficit reduction. They used some of it - plus conservation and nutrition savings - to preserve the farm safety net. But now - Senate Democrats have changed the balance - offering up direct payments for 27-and-a-half-billion in deficit cuts. American Farm Bureau Deputy Director Dale Moore says that makes writing a farm bill more difficult…

    Tough Road for the Farm Bill

  • Dealing With Sequestration

    Posted by Rick Shields

     The House GOP plans to bring up a stopgap continuing budget resolution as soon as next week to finish out the fiscal year. But uncertainty surrounding the federal budget and across-the-board cuts is confounding farm bill writers. It’s almost March and work still hasn’t started on a new farm bill. Top House Ag Democrat Collin Peterson told panel colleagues this week - and he and chair Frank Lucas agree - Congress needs to clear up the budget and sequester mess first.

    National Farmers Union Chief Roger Johnson and others also met with Peterson - who recently met with Speaker John Boehner. Johnson…

    Dealing with Sequestration

  • Senator Says It's Fearmongering

    Posted by Rick Shields

    : Longtime Ag Senator Chuck Grassley accuses USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and other Obama cabinet members of fearmongering on sequestration - now likely to kick-in Friday. Grassley rejects the sky is falling approach he charges the White House is taking on across-the-board budget cuts - especially at USDA…

    Senator Says It's Fearmongering

  • Democrats Offer Plan

    Posted by Rick Shields

     A Senate Democratic plan to avert the Friday start of massive across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester with other cuts is not expected to pass - and may even see some farm Senate Democrats revolt. The Senate plans to take back-to-back votes on opposing plans to avert 85-billion in cuts the rest of this fiscal year - but neither party has the votes to prevail. The parties seem intent on framing the debate if they can’t win it in the run-up to another budget showdown March 27th - when stopgap federal funding expires. American Farm Bureau Deputy Director Dale Moore on the latest Democratic plan…

    Democrats Offer Plan

  • Margin Change Causes Concerns

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Portions of a proposed rule to enhance the protection of customer’s margin funds could prohibit hedgers from using this risk management tool. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is suggesting a provision that would require the Futures Commission Merchant - or FCM - to take a capital charge one day after a margin call was issued on a customer account. Todd Kemp with the National Grain and Feed Association says they’re opposed to this change because it would hurt traditional hedgers - especially smaller farmers that send checks

    Margin Change Causes Concerns

  • The Risk Is More Than Weather

    Posted by Rick Shields

    USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack told hundreds at the annual USDA Ag Outlook Forum  that farm risk extends beyond the weather to things people can control - like across-the-board budget cuts set to hit next week.

    The conference theme this year is managing risk in the 21st Century. But Vilsack was concerned about a different kind of farming risk - man-made risk - starting with massive across-the-board spending cuts next Friday that could endanger key services like meat inspection - unless Congress acts…

    The Risk Is More Than Weather

  • New Chance to Bring Down Barriers

    Posted by Rick Shields

     The just-announced U.S.-EU free trade talks will give U.S. agriculture a new chance to eliminate decades-old EU trade barriers. Ag groups are pressing their case. The announced trade talks open an important venue for the U.S. to address with the EU longstanding trade barriers to GMO crops and hormone-treated beef. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Chief Colin Woodall…

    New Chance to Bring Down Barriers

  • Across the Board Cuts Not the Way

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Market Development program and Market Assistance program are two funds that are matched by ag export groups. These programs actually are performing better than any investment on Wall Street - with a 35-dollar return for every dollar invested. For every dollar invested in trade promotion - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says that 35-dollar return has been generated. Vilsack says these programs also create jobs and farm income…

    Across the Board Cuts Not the Way

  • Chances for an Extended Drought

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The head of NOAA’s Drought Information System says the 2011-2012 drought never ended - and forecasts it will continue this year. NOAA’s Roger Pulwarty told the Senate Ag Committee he hopes he is wrong - but the data suggests otherwise - a continuation of the drought that started in 2011 in much of the Midwest and West. Pulwarty on NOAA’s just-released drought monitor…

    Chances for an Extended Drought

  • Sequestration and Agriculture

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Across-the-board federal spending cuts are just about two-weeks away - and USDA and most of its programs will get hit - unless a way is found to avert the March 1st action. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says if the axe falls - which many in both parties in Washington expect - then farmers may see less from programs like ACRE and Direct Payments they’re about to sign up for

    Sequestration and Agriculture