Category: Agriculture

WTO Ruling Forces the Repeal of Popular U.S. Law

‘Twas the night before Christmas in 2002 when I received notice the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had confirmed America’s first case of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). At the time, I was an elected representative of the dairy industry in the Northwest, and random sampling found an infected slaughtered milk cow in Washington State. […]

Renewable Fuel Standard Mandates, or Not?

The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) provisions of The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), mandates an increasing blend of renewable products into our domestic fuel supply. The law amends the Clean Air Act, and allows for an initial blending of food-based ethanol (corn), beginning in 2008. In subsequent years, the blend was to […]

Beneficiary of Billion Dollar Green Fuels Program Files for Creditor Protection

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final ruling on blend volumes of renewable fuels for the calendar years 2014, 2015 and 2016. The challenge for the EPA is the lack of advanced biofuels to meet obligated minimum levels. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), mandates an increasing blend of renewable […]

Tobacco: Top User of Agriculture Guest Worker (H-2A) Visa Program

With the run up to the 2016 presidential election, we have seen a growing debate on the need for border security versus the shortage of agriculture workers. Tales of apples rotting on trees and produce left in the field are offered as evidence of jobs Americans won’t do. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of […]

Organics: Another Fine Government Mess

The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), as part of the 1990 Farm Bill, established the National Organic Program (NOP). The program, as administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), oversees uniform standards governing the marketing of organically produced products. The NOP’s mission is to assure consumers of consistent organic standards of production and […]

USDA and States to Spend $210 Million on Fuel Pumps

On May 29th, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $100 million in grants offered through their Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program. According to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the move is to make renewable fuel options more available to American consumers. The program is a 1:1 partnership with states to build fueling stations […]

The Failure of U.S. Biofuels Program

Ending a relationship is never easy, even one with a proven history of broken promises, twisted logic, weak justifications and financial exploitation. Such is the bond between the American taxpayer and the domestic ethanol industry. In the beginning, statements of common goals sparked hopeful enthusiasm. Many eagerly supported the romantic notion of growing our way […]

Committee for Responsible Budget Highway Plan has Issues

Recently, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, released a report titled, “The Road to Sustainable Highway Funding.” The committee, which includes Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, builds on many of the transportation recommendations included in the Bowles-Simpson report. It recommends passage of comprehensive tax reform while ensuring the Highway Trust Fund remains adequately funded. […]

Farmers Hit Hard by the Estate “Death” Tax

On April 16, 2015, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the estate tax. The Internal Revenue Service defines the estate tax as, “a tax on your right to transfer property at your death.” Advocates for the estate tax decry the perpetuation of inequality due to inherited wealth. The estate tax, often called the “death […]

GMO Apples: Coming to a Store Near You in 2017

A new strain of genetically modified apples that don’t bruise or brown when cut have been approved for planting and sale in the U.S., according to the Department of Agriculture. After evaluation, the Department of Agriculture has said that the apples are “unlikely to pose a plant pest risk or to have a significant impact […]