More Proof of U.S. Safe Food Supply

California Fruits & VegetablesStock Photo

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture producers in California raise over 400 commodities, supplying over one-third of the U.S.’ vegetables and two-thirds of the fruits and nuts.  These commodities are among the top ten valued crops in California and include (2015):…

Farm Bill Focus

Corn field

Corn field

The 2018 Farm Bill will focus on a few major issues. 75% of the Farm Bill revolves around the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp program). The general consensus is that most federal lawmakers and stakeholders want to keep a nutrition title included in the Farm Bill. At one time, there was talk about separating agricultural issues from nutrition programs. However, in order to keep urban stakeholders involved it is generally accepted that it is best for everyone to keep the two intertwined.…

Agriculture Opposition Firing Up

ewgThe two main organizations that oppose agriculture’s interests in the upcoming Farm Bill are the Environmental Working Group and the Heritage Foundation. Scott Faber with EWG and Daren Bakst with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that promotes free enterprise, spoke at a Farm Foundation forum recently in Washington. Both groups are vocal opponents of a number of programs strongly supported by Agriculture groups.…

Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture on Upcoming Farm Bill

The debate that preceded the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill was the most contentious in recent history. In a video article on From The Ground Up on KBTX, the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture had this to say …

Farm Bill Planning Needs to Happen Now!

Farm Bill planning needs to start now

Farm Bill planning needs to start now

The agriculture industry is experiencing a dramatic downturn as commodities pile up and prices fall to historic lows. Some in the ag industry are hoping the next Farm Bill can help — sooner as opposed to later. With farm loans steadily deteriorating, many farm groups are hoping to get the Farm Bill process started early.1

We’re Not in 2013 Anymore

“The last time we did a farm bill in 2014 our production agriculture industry was having really good times. Commodity prices were good,” said Mike Conaway, U.S. Congressman, Texas’ 11th Congressional District, and Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. “Well, in 2018, I don’t think that’s going to be the case. We’ve already experienced a 42% drop in production farm income.”2

  1. Farm policy, trade outlook altered by election – By Candace Krebs Contributing Writer
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  2. KBTX From The Ground Up []

It’s not as far off as you think, work on the 2018 Farm Bill

Farm Bill, Farm Press

It’s not as far off as you think, work on the 2019 farm bill by Hembree Brandon

In a recent article titled “It’s not as far off as you think, work on the 2018 Farm Bill“, the Farm Press‘s Hembree Brandon discusses the upcoming Farm Bill and how soon organizations need to act in order to get their point of view heard by the law makers that are framing the agricultural legislation.

It’s not as far off as you think, work on the 2018 Farm Bill

According to Brandon, Lawmakers’ approach to the 2014 farm bill was an effort to spend as little as possible, as opposed to creating programs to truly help farmers and rural America.

While many in agriculture are still trying to fathom the complexities of the 2014 farm bill and its implementation, members of Congress and ag sector leaders are already laying preliminary groundwork for the 2018 farm bill.”…

Seed and Agrochemical Mergers and Acquisitions

A Response to Emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution

Congress has begun to focus on recent mergers and acquisitions in the seed and agrochemical industry. This industry provides inputs to farmers for growing crops.

There are six companies involved in the research and development, manufacturing, and distribution of agrochemicals and biotech seeds, namely Bayer, BASF, Dow, DuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta. All compete with one another for market share while simultaneously working with each other through cross licensing agreements. Cross licensing agreements between companies result in the companies trading technologies and products under certain conditions that typically render enhanced choices of products for farmers and facilitates innovation.…

Farm & Food Bill: $100 billion/year at Stake

Farm BillSince the 1930’s and the Great Depression about every 5-years the U.S. Congress adopts a Farm Bill.  The Farm Bill contains production agriculture & food policies under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Farm Bill titles include Commodity Programs, Conservation, Trade, Nutrition, Credit, Rural Development, Research & Extension, Forestry, Energy, Horticulture and Crop Insurance.

Similar to U.S. demographics, Members of Congress today are further removed from the farm than in previous decades.  Moreover, farm policy is complex as it includes public policies across varying sectors of the U.S. economy that impacts agriculture, the environment, international trade and social nutrition programs.  As we mentioned in our previous farm bill article , Congress has struggled to timely adopt farm bills since the 1990’s.

2018 Farm Bill: Tough Row to Hoe

Family farmThe Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79), or “2014 Farm Bill” authorizes the continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through September 30, 2018.  Since the Great Depression in the 1930’s Congress has typically adopted a comprehensive Farm Bill every 5 years.  However, since the mid-1990’s Congress has struggled to timely adopt farm bills.

Consider:

  • To save budget dollars the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-66) reduced and extended many commodity support provisions beyond 1995. Thus the 1995 Farm Bill wasn’t signed into law until April 1996.
  • What should have been a 2007 Farm Bill was not enacted until June 2008. It required six temporary extensions of most programs in the 2002 Farm Bill.
  • The 2008 Farm Bill had to be extended into 2013 and Congress adopted the 2014 Farm Bill in February of that year.

With farmers under financial pressures due to extraordinary low commodity prices farm organizations across America are gearing up for battle for the upcoming Farm Bill.  The next Farm Bill will need to authorize programs for crop years 2019-2023.  Ideally, a new farm bill should be adopted before any new crop harvest.  The earliest crop harvest in 2019 will occur in mid-to-late May of 2019 when wheat harvest begins in South Texas.  Dependent upon the complexities of policies adopted in the new Farm Bill the U.S. Department of Agriculture would likely need anywhere from 9-months-to-1-year to implement the Farm Bill.  That means for the next farm bill, Congress should reauthorize farm programs by roughly September 2018.

Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation

Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is among leading farm organizations including the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Soybean Association, NationalCotton Council,  USA Rice FederationNational Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) that are encouraging their respective members to begin developing policies for the next Farm Bill.  Zippy Duvall, President, AFBF posted a blog late last month to their members stating, “…it is time to sound the bell for preparation (of the 2018 Farm Bill).

Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of congressional relations with AFBF, told Hoosier Ag Today in a recent interview that their organization is anticipating testimony before the House and Senate Ag Committees as early as next spring.

Thatcher explained “..we’ve heard from our cotton producers and our dairy folks, that they don’t think the new programs that were put into effect are working for them. Fairly low participation in both programs and most folks feeling again like they just don’t provide an adequate safety net.”

According to Thatcher, here are some of the biggest challenges in writing a new farm bill:

It Just Seems Like Neither of Them Care About Us

“I’ve read both the presidential candidates policy platforms for agriculture and it just seems like neither of them care about us.” The statement above is from a farm wife in northeast Ohio — a state that will play a significant part in determining who the next President of the United States will be. She seemed…

GMO: It’s Time to Move On.

Cansler Consulting Washnigton DCThe House & Senate have approved GMO labeling legislation and the President will soon sign it into law. While a few legislators were unhappy, this compromise is in the best interest for the country. Republicans and lawmakers from rural states overwhelmingly supported the legislation. Agriculture groups have backed it, hoping it will bring more certainty to farmers who grow genetically modified crops.  According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, U.S. farmers have adopted genetically engineered (GE) crops widely since their commercial introduction in 1996.

About the GMO Legislation

USDA will have two years to write the rules of the new legislation, which will cover foods created with conventional recombinant DNA techniques. It will not extend to plants or other food products created with CRISPR, a new and more precise gene-editing technology. Foods that consist primarily of beef, poultry, pork or eggs will not be required to carry a GMO label, even if they ate feed containing GM corn or soybeans.

As The Hill noted, the initiative would force food companies to “create QR codes that consumers scan with a smartphone to find out if a product contains GMOs.” The aforementioned states require labels to identify goods “produced with genetic engineering.”1

  1. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36749-senate-advances-gm-food-labeling-bill-that-would-actually-weaken-state-rules-exempt-key-products []

Cansler to Deliver Remarks on Next Farm Bill

Tim Cansler of Cansler Consulting

Tim Cansler, Sr. Strategist & Founder of Cansler Consulting

On May 19th, Tim Cansler, founder and chief strategist of Cansler Consulting, will be speaking during the Annual Conference of the California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association in Mammoth Lakes, CA.  Cansler, a former USDA official and farm policy specialist, will present a major discussion on the 2018 Farm Bill and its political and policy considerations. Cansler Consulting’s team is proud to have been influential in the farm bill debates dating back to the 1981 Agriculture and Food Act.…

Federal Government Attempts to Keep Up With Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) aka “Drones”

Lobbying for Drone use in agriculture

Drone use in agriculture

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s  task force on unmanned aircraft system registration announced Nov. 23 their recommendations on which unmanned aerial systems (UAS) aka “drones” should be registered and how the registration process may work.

It is estimated that during the Christmas season of 2015 some 700,000 UAS’ will be purchased.  The recommendations for registering UAS’ include:

  1. Registration is mandatory at the time of operating the UAS.
  2. There is no fee for registering and the minimum age requirement to register is 13.
  3. UAS’ between 250 grams (.55 pounds) and 55 pounds that will be operated outdoors must be registered
  4. Owners will have one number for all UAS’ owned.
  5. Owner’s name and street (physical) address are required.  Providing telephone numbers and email contact information is voluntary.
IMG_5497

UAS’ were the topic of a recent US House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing. Looking on is Manufacturing, Commerce and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX).

There are multiple industry uses for drones including agricultural uses.  Drones may be used for flying over fields looking for pests and diseases, flooding areas in the field, areas where crop yields appear to be low, monitoring livestock, and property improvement needs.

Without question there are areas that should be regulated for the use of drones such as sporting events, military bases and airfields, but varying industries must also be able to use this latest technology to help make their industry more cost effective and competitive. For instance, Amazon is now using drones to deliver some of their packages.

New technology should not be feared and the development of regulations by the FAA should be done with a common sense approach. Additional research is being conducted to better inform officials at FAA so the regulations can allIMG_5496 (2)ow business and industries to use drones.

This is another great example of how the agriculture industry is impacted by decisions across multiple federal agencies.

NOW is the time to have your voice heard on this issue, BEFORE the decisions are made. If you need someone to represent your interests in Washington, please contact Cansler Consulting today to see how we can help you.…

There’s So Much More To Agriculture…

A viable U.S. agriculture and food industry is the key to adequately supplying enough food, fiber, feed & fuel to the growing U.S. and world population in the future. Representing agriculture and food interests in Washington entails not only knowing who the key players are on the federal level, but also knowing how to connect with them. Legislation and regulations being considered by lawmakers and regulatory officials touches all aspects of food and agriculture including production, processing, storage, distribution, transportation, trade, food safety, biotechnology, retail and others.…

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