Sets Up Policy Fight at National Level
Update: AFBF President Stallman affirms direct payments debate will be issue #1 at AFBF Annual Meeting.
Setting up a potential policy battle between proponents of direct payments and those that favor risk-management programs, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau resolutions committee voted earlier this week that the next farm bill should continue direct payments to farmers.
“Our top priority is the continuation of direct payments,” stated OFB President Mike Spradling. “The payments provide producers flexibility to grow various crops while providing income support.”
Recall that earlier this year the Iowa Farm Bureau voted in favor of ending direct payments in the next farm bill in favor of an expanded crop insurance and Average Crop Revenue Election Program.
The policy differences will be debated at the upcoming AFBF Annual Meeting in Atlanta where either side could emerge the victor. Many other states are assessing their position on farm bill programs and members should expect states to form coalitions early on in the policy development process.
Topics ranging from environmental policy and food safety to the 2012 farm bill and use of social media by farmers and ranchers highlight a slate of conferences during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting, Jan. 9-12 in Atlanta, Ga.
In addition to sessions on leadership development and successful management techniques, Farm Bureau members can learn how to successfully use social media to both network with other farmers and reach out to consumers.
Speakers addressing “Grassroots Engagement with Social Media” will include Dan Toland with the Ohio Farm Bureau, California rancher Jeff Fowle, Farm Bureau member and president of the AgChat Foundation, and Minnesota dairy farmer and Farm Bureau member Emily Zweber.
The state is planning to test up to 3,000 cattle in northern Wyoming for brucellosis. The testing began Wednesday after preliminary tests indicated the disease was found in three cows in a Park County herd. State Veterinarian Jim Logan says Thursday the three cows were being offered for sale at a livestock market when they were found possibly to have brucellosis. Additional lab work is being done to confirm the initial results.
Logan says the herd the cattle came from shares a large grazing allotment with up to nine other herds. The presence of the disease within the herd — if confirmed through further testing — could result in additional testing requirements for Wyoming livestock producers and strict adherence to quarantine procedures to keep the state from losing its federal brucellosis-free status.
Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that can cause pregnant bison, cattle and elk to abort their fetuses.
Higher corn prices haven’t put a dent in profits for ethanol plants thanks to strong demand for the biofuel and higher prices for dried distillers grain.
Ethanol plants in Iowa are earning a profit of about 27 cents for every gallon produced, compared to a loss of 6 cents per gallon as recently as July, according to Ag Trader Talk, an online grains-information service in Clive, Iowa.
“If you’re not making money in ethanol right now, you have a problem with your production process,” said Jason Ward, an analyst at Northstar Commodity Investments LLC in Minneapolis. “They’ve got three of the four main components working in their favor.”
The Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Wyoming
A veteran Colorado engineer said last week that entrepreneur Aaron Million’s hopes to move 250,000 acre feet of water from the Flaming Gorge to Colorado’s thirsty Front Range are dubious at best. According to estimates, if the pipeline is approved, municipal and other entities in southwest Wyoming and western Colorado that rely on the Green River may not have enough water to meet their future recreation, tourism and industrial growth needs.
“There’s just no water for Million for this project,” Colorado River Water Conservation District General Manager Eric Kuhn told members of a local group opposing the pipeline project.
Million estimates that high-alpine glaciers in Wyoming’s Wind River Range pour about 1.18 million acre feet of water into the Flaming Gorge Reservoir via the Green River each year. But records show in the past two decades that inflows have only averaged about 970,000 acre feet of water into the popular lake.