As the federal budget battle continues, President Obama outlined on Sept. 19, 2011, a package of ideas designed to cut costs and increase income over the next decade. One element of the $3 trillion package is an $8.5 billion reduction in costs for crop insurance.
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Bayer CropScience has agreed to pay up to $750 million to about 11,000 farmers to compensate for contaminating two varieties of long-grain rice. The settlement requires participation of farmers who planted at least 85% of the average 2.2 million acres of long-grain rice grown each year from 2006 to 2009.
The US Dept. of Agriculture is providing financial support for farmers to grow the grass in four project areas in four states. The goal is to substantially increase production of the crop, and USDA estimates about 4,000 jobs will be created.Region:
The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America position statement addresses food and its security, feed, fuel, fiber, pollination, pest management, water availability, erosion control, greenhouse gas emissions from crop and livestock operations, research and development, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
There is local news in these USDA and USFWS grants. These on-the-ground projects involve specific groups and individuals, offering prime examples of programs you can investigate to see whether federal tax dollars are being effectively and efficiently spent.
The first national report on renewable energy generation on farms and ranches indicates that the number of solar, wind, and methane digestion energy sources is increasing substantially. The US Dept. of Agriculture report, based on 2009 data, provides information on multiple factors.
If this happens, the agricultural community could suffer much as many people did after the recent housing-market implosion. It could significantly damage farmers, food production, certain banks, and bond holders who are the sole source of capital for some banks.
Much of your audience likely considers food a minor issue since they see it as generally available, affordable, healthy, environmentally benign, and unrelated to issues such as national security. You can help paint a more realistic picture for them, from the global to the local.
Permittees and lessees of public lands are a key part of covering issues that involve grazing, hunting, public lands access, utility corridors, and related topics. The public comment period on BLM's proposal to identify these people closes Feb. 7, 2011.
The US Dept. of Agriculture says that 898 of these markets are open during some or all of the winter, even in many northern states. The USDA inventory is searchable by state and city, and considerable detail is provided for each market.