Archive for November, 2009
The Washington Post blog, The Fix is reporting that republican candidate for Colorado Governor, Josh Penry will leave he race, clearing the way for former congressman Scott McInnis to challenge incumbent Bill Ritter in 2010.
More from The Fix…Penry’s decision to opt out of the race is a stunner as many national Republicans had touted him as a potential rising star (and we had featured him in our “Rising” series that looks at up and coming politicians).
Political chatter in the immediate aftermath of Penry’s decision suggested he might be considering a run against 3rd district Rep. John Salazar (D) who won the Western Slope seat when McInnis retired in 2004. Salazar’s seat is one of 49 held by Democrats that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried in 2008. (McCain won it 50 percent to 48 percent for President Barack Obama.) But, Republicans already have a candidate — state Rep. Scott Tipton — they are high on in the race.
McInnis, who spent six terms in Congress, now has a clear shot at Gov. Bill Ritter (D) next fall. Democrats have expressed serious concern about Ritter’s electoral prospects and his poll numbers have lagged badly since he was elected in a landslide in 2006.
Congress and the Obama Administration have yet to consider legislation to implement the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which was signed by representatives of the two governments on June 30, 2007. While more than two years have passed since the agreement was signed, it is unclear when the agreement will be implemented, says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The U.S.-Korea FTA would support job-creating trade — both exports and imports — in the United States:
- If the EU and Canada implement their trade agreements with Korea and the United States does not, exporters in the EU and Canada will enjoy a competitive advantage over U.S. exporters in the Korean market.
- Some U.S. export sales will be lost to exporters in the EU and Canada and the loss of export sales will have a negative impact on U.S. companies, national output and consequently U.S. jobs.
Failure by the United States to implement its trade agreement with Korea will cost related exports, output and jobs:
- Specifically, failure to implement the U.S.-Korea FTA while our trading partners go forward with their FTAs with Korea would lead to a decline of $35.1 billion in U.S. exports of goods and services to the world and U.S. national output failing to grow by $40.4 billion.
- The Chamber estimates that the total net negative impact on U.S. employment from these trade and output losses would total 345,017 jobs.
The new beef deal between the U.S. and Taiwan has hit a snag. After the announcement of the beef agreement, consumer resistance due to food safety concerns began building, putting political pressure on Taiwan’s government. Some confusion also exists regarding which U.S. beef products will be able to be shipped to Taiwan once the new beef import protocol goes into effect.
As a result, the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service suspended U.S. beef exports from cattle slaughtered after Nov. 2. Industry sources expect a satisfactory resolution to the problem.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) has issued a paper outlining its concerns about climate change legislation. ASA believes that climate change legislation passed by the House and the current draft Senate climate change bill do not provide sufficient measures to protect American economic competitiveness. ASA does not support those measures in their current form.
“ASA is concerned with the impacts that could result from enactment of climate change legislation that unilaterally subjects U.S. farmers, manufacturers and other businesses to emissions caps and increased energy costs without appropriate measures to ensure that the U.S. maintains economic competitiveness,” said Johnny Dodson, ASA president, a soybean producer from Halls, Tenn.
If Congress moves to enact climate change legislation, ASA believes it must be structured in a manner that will achieve the desired benefits while maintaining the viability of the U.S. economy and domestic food supply, including U.S. farmers and livestock producers, food and feed processors, and our communities.
“Any cap-and-trade legislation must provide stability, promote the global competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, and not diminish our ability to supply U.S. and foreign consumers with abundant food, feed, fiber and renewable fuel,” Dodson said.
As The Pulse noted a few weeks ago, Mike Rowe (of the hit show Dirty Jobs and MikeRoweWorks.com) headlined the kickoff session of the 2009 National FFA Convention. Mike spoke with the members about challenging the common assumptions about work, agriculture and labor. He asked them to think about what really constitutes a ‘good’ job. Among his more noteable quotations, Mike spoke about challenging the presumptions about environmentalism saying,
“If you scrape the dirt off a farmer or rancher, you find the greenest people around.”
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and other Democratic members of the Environment and Public Works Committee reported S. 1733, the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade bill, out of committee to the Senate floor without any Republican members of the committee participating. Republican members of the committee did not attend the markup that began Tuesday because they requested an EPA analysis of the bill before the committee vote.
Senator Boxer sidestepped the Republican boycott by using the highly unusual procedure of passing the bill by a majority vote of Democrat committee members. The vote to report was 10-1, with Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) the lone dissenter. Senator Thomas Carper (D-Del.) did not vote.
Several other committees have jurisdiction over the bill, including the Senate Agriculture Committee. The bill will likely undergo substantial change before being reported to the floor by these committees. In response to the request of Republican members, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised a full EPA analysis of the Senate bill prior to a floor vote.
The partisan move could undermine support from moderate Senators should the bill reach the Senate floor.
AFBF has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the high court to review a lower court ruling that would impose Clean Water Act permitting requirements on the application of pesticides on, over or near water.
“Allowing the lower court ruling to stand would pose serious challenges to farmers battling pests,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “When pests strike, time is of the essence, and any length of time waiting for permit approval for products that are already approved would be disastrous.”
The problem stems from a January 2009 ruling by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down a 2006 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that interpreted the Clean Water Act did not regulate most pesticide applications into, over or near “waters of the United States,” so long as the pesticide use complied with EPA’s requirements (such as EPA-approved label restrictions).
The 6th Circuit found in “National Cotton Council v. EPA” that EPA must require Clean Water Act permits for pesticide application in water or near waters where pesticide falls into the water.
Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative Tuesday that will establish a board on livestock care standards. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation actively supported the measure.
The measure establishes a 13-member Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board that will set standards for the care, treatment and welfare of livestock and poultry raised in Ohio based on ethics and science. The measure takes the form of an amendment to the Ohio State Constitution.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman praised members of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation for their hard work in supporting Issue 2.
Precipitation and temperatures across most of Colorado were above average during the week ending Oct. 25, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Colorado Field Office, Oct. 26.
These conditions allowed producers 4.2 days in the field.
The winter wheat crop progressed to 98 percent seeded and 83 percent emerged by the end of the week, 10 percentage points behind the 5-year average.