Archive for October, 2010

Farm Bureau Asks Senate to Oppose Federal Water Control Bill

Farmers and ranchers would face burdensome federal regulatory control if provisions of a restrictive Senate water bill make it through the “lame duck” session of Congress, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

AFBF and a coalition of other groups are vowing to oppose any effort to attach the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act (S. 1816) to any bill that might be addressed during the lame duck session.

“While carrying a title that suggests it is limited in scope, provisions of this bill would have drastic negative impacts on agriculture,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “The bill makes sweeping changes to the Clean Water Act and sets adverse water policy precedents that would impact watersheds throughout the nation.”

According to Stallman, the bill strips state and local governments within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed of their authority under the Clean Water Act and grants it instead to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Bigger federal government and expanded federal authority is not in the best interest of our nation,” Stallman said. “By granting EPA the authority to issue what are called Total Maximum Daily Loads without allowing states the opportunity to address water issues, this bill would give EPA greater control over land-use decisions that should be made at the local level.”


Bent County Annual Meeting


Pueblo County Steak Fry

Troy Bredenkamp, Brent Boydston and Richard Connell BBQ steaks at the Pueblo County Farm Bureau steak-fry earlier this month.


Medicaid Expansion will Bankrupt States

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is expected to add up to 16 million more Medicaid enrollees and expand eligibility for families. Although the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of the newly eligible, newly enrolled populations and 95 percent of the costs through 2019, hidden costs will strain already tight state budgets.


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USDA has a Problem with Potatoes

Potato growers are fighting efforts to ban or limit potatoes in federal child nutrition programs.

The USDA, which administers the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program—one of the largest federal food assistance programs—is now finalizing an interim rule that bars participants from buying potatoes with their federal dollars.  The agency is also taking steps to limit potatoes in the federal School Lunch Program.

The exclusion of potatoes apparently stems from a recommendation in a report from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.  A spokesperson for that organization says the recommendation was made “to encourage the consumption of other fruits and vegetables.”  She says Americans aren’t consuming enough of what she calls “dark green leafy vegetables—orange, yellow, red ones, et cetera.”

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Corn Harvest Larger than Expected

Colorado’s corn harvest is well under way with farmers reporting excellent yields across much of the state.

USDA reports 1.21 million acres of corn production in Colorado, an increase of 220,000 acres over 2009, according to the Colorado Corn Growers Association.

“Yield estimates are generally very good from farmers that finished harvesting or are in progress. I think we’ll have statewide yield averages that surpass the USDA estimate,” said Mark Sponsler, executive director for CCGA.

“U.S. corn farmers will be able to meet all demands for food, feed, fuel and exports,” the National Corn Growers Association said in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s reduced projection for 2010 corn production. “The harvest of 12.7 billion bushels, the third-largest crop in history, will still provide a surplus, or ending stocks, of nearly 1 billion bushels.”

Are Farmland Prices Inflated?

There’s a growing buzz about whether or not U.S. farmland prices will be the next asset bubble to burst. But despite all the talk about the commercial real estate market and how it’s under pressure, when you look at farm real estate it has really held up, even increasing fairly rapidly over the last couple of years.

Characterizing the current farm real estate scenario as a “bubble” may be off the mark, according to John Anderson, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“I think it makes sense to define a bubble as prices for an asset that are just too high and not really justified by market fundamentals. If you look at farmland, there are some pretty strong fundamentals in the farm real estate market. Commodity prices are historically quite high and interest rates are very low and those are both factors that provide a lot of strong support for farm real estate values,” Anderson said.

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