As we enter the New Year, debate surrounds the highly anticipate Farm Bill. Here are a few other recent stories involving the agricultural industry and its involvement in government.
Attempt to Kill Ethanol Mandates
Some U.S. Senators are pushing a bill to get rid of current corn ethanol mandates. They believe that the mandates make food more expensive for both humans and animals, while also producing harmful effects for the environment. This is in the wake of unusually high corn prices that the senators contend are a result of the diversion of corn away from food-uses and towards ethanol production. In actuality, corn has dropped to its lowest price in years, despite a serious drought last year. It seems that ethanol subsidies are here to stay.
Organic Check-Off Spurs Debate
The Organic Trade Association is facing some heat from groups over their support for the Organic Check-Off program that has been making its way through Congress. A coalition of organic dairy producers lists some arguments against the measure. They claim that the Check-Off program will keep organic products from being promoted as different from conventional products. They also claim that the program will lead to unnecessary taxes on organic farmers and debilitating restrictions that will hurt the industry overall, and organic dairy producers in particular.
USDA Secretary Outlines Goals for the New Year
Tom Vilsack, the USDA secretary, expressed a goal to better balance the differences between organic and conventional farm production. He also expressed confidence in the export market as it applies to U.S. producers. He will address further goals, along with challenges, at next month’s annual Ag Outlook Forum in Arlington, VA.