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State and county Farm Bureaus help consumers find what they crave—fresh food from local farms | 4 March 19, 2012 Vol. 91
‘Transportation’ Senate passes reauthorization bill | 3
‘Mini-Grants’ State and county Farm Bureaus win mini-grants to fund agricultural literacy projects | 7
AFBF: Chesapeake Bay bill good for farms, economy A bill introduced in Congress just this month concerning Chesapeake Bay water quality regulations already has the backing of the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF says the bill is necessary to support states in cleaning up the Bay without trampling their authority.
No. 5 fbnews.org
Land availability, government regulations concern young farmers and ranchers The latest survey of participants in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program shows an even split when it comes to concerns about top challenges they face today. A total of 21 percent of young farmers surveyed ranked burdensome government regulations and “red tape” as a top concern; an additional 21 percent cited securing adequate land to grow crops and raise livestock as their top challenge today.
“Most young farmers and ranchers would like to stay on the farm or ranch their entire lives,” said Glen Cope, chairman of the national YF&R Committee and a beef cattle producer from Missouri. “One of the biggest challenges many of us have faced is getting enough capital to start farming. And then, once we are established, regulatory costs can be the wildcard that determines whether we can be successful enough to stay on the land,” he said.
Other issues ranked as top concerns included economic challenges, particularly farm profitability, 11 percent; availability of farm labor and related regulations, 8 percent; and willingness of parents to turn over the reins of the farm or ranch, 7 percent. When asked to name the top three steps the federal government should take to help young farmers and ranchers, cutting Concern Continued on Page 8
Farm Bureau calls for strong, fiscally sound farm safety net
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A SECURE FOOD SUPPLY depends on continuing to provide a strong safety net that protects farmers and ranchers from weather disasters and catastrophic revenue losses, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman told the Senate Agriculture Committee at a farm bill hearing last week. National farm policy must strike a balance between the need for a strong, effective safety net to protect farmers and ranchers against catastrophic revenue losses and fiscal soundness, the American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress on March 15. The final farm bill hearing that the Senate Agriculture Committee will have before drafting a new measure focused on commodity and risk management programs. AFBF President Bob Stallman testified that “continuation of a multi-legged stool remains the best approach for providing a fair and effective safety net.” He said that such a safety net
should include a strong crop insurance program, continuation of the current marketing loan provisions and a catastrophic revenue loss program along the lines of Farm Bureau’s proposal. That proposal would, for a small administrative fee, provide producers of program crops as well as producers of tomatoes, potatoes, grapes, sweet corn and apples with 75 percent of average county revenue when it drops below set levels. Rather than provide annual government payments to farmers with more routine, manageable losses, the Farm Bureau proposal would enable producers to combine their individual crop
insurance with a deep-loss, area policy to better protect against catastrophic losses that threaten their farm’s economic viability. Stallman explained that Farm Bureau’s approach maintains the farm safety net while making wise use of taxpayer dollars. “The challenge we all face is how to draft a farm bill that provides a strong, consistently viable safety net that protects farmers against crippling revenue declines, whether caused by falling markets or Mother Nature, while at the same time remaining cognizant of budget deficit challenges and changSafety net Continued on Page 3
March 19, 2012
IFYE exchange program represented at YF&R Conference This is the second in a series of articles about the International Four-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) Program. Did you see the ethnic German dancing at the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference? If so, you passed the IFYE display on your way to various YF&R events. You also may have received an IFYE sticker to attach to your lanyard as you visited with any of the four IFYEs in attendance, either at the booth, in hallways or during lunches. If the videos on the big screen TV beckoned you to stop, you learned about agriculture and cultures from other countries. IFYE was invited to share its program with the YF&R attendees in order to promote international learning. IFYE was warmly and enthusiastically received by more than 200 attendees who visited the booth or attended one of two workshops. One attendee, Rachel Manning of Maryland, has intimate knowledge of the IFYE program. Her mother was an exchange delegate from Iowa to Greece in 1979. “I remember listening to my mother share her experiences about living in another country, and really understanding the culture by living with sev-
eral host families. It has been one of my lifelong goals to participate in this great cross-cultural exchange as well.” Manning said. Other attendees said they knew of the program, some remembering their families hosting international delegates. Others knew someone who had travelled abroad through IFYE. IFYE continues to have a positive impact not only on the lives of inbound and outbound delegates, but also on host families. Many YF&R attendees may not be able to travel abroad through the program for three to six months, but they might be able to host an international young adult (19 to 30 years old) for a couple of weeks. “What a great way to travel abroad without leaving home,” Sarah Wilson of North Dakota remarked. Inbound delegates from around the world will arrive in the U.S. in June and stay with host families in multiple states. Most delegates will stay with one host family for three weeks before moving to another family. There are no stringent qualifications to become a host family, just a willingness to open hearts
and homes to a person from a different culture. Delegates from various states will travel to their host countries in June and return after completing a three- or six-month exchange. They will share their experiences
with numerous audiences upon their return. For more information, please contact Alan Lambert, IFYE Association president, at alane email@example.com or visit www.ifyeusa.org.
Several alumni or delegates of the International Four-H Youth Exchange Program were on hand at the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference in February to make the approximately 1,000 attendees aware of the program. Left to right: Art Deisher, Ohio; Alan Lambert, S.D.; Shane Sheridan, Colo.; Carolyn Gehrke, Ill. Delegates are adult farm students who live at least six months in host countries to become immersed in another culture and establish global connections.
Application period open for Eisenhower Fellowships Eisenhower Fellowships is accepting applications from experienced farmers and ranchers for its 2013 Agricultural Fellowship program. One or two successful applicants will be chosen to participate in a custom-designed, expenses-paid program overseas for up to five weeks. Fellows pursue an agenda of scheduled consultations, speaking engagements, site visits, tours and field observations with experts in their areas of professional interest. Interpreters are provided. Agricultural Fellows will focus on agricultural issues in one or two countries of their choice. The application deadline is June 15, 2012. Applicant finalists will be interviewed in July and August. Applicants must be active farmers or ranchers aged 32-45 with excellent networking avenues, demonstrated leadership experience, U.S. citizenship or permanent residency and a commitment to at least 15-20 years of further active leadership in agriculture.
Previous participants of the Eisenhower Fellowship program have risen to positions of influence and have used the international connections gained through the program to bring new ideas and technologies to their communities.
Possible destination countries and regions include: • Africa: South Africa, Kenya • Asia: China, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia • Europe: European Commission (Belgium), Germany, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Russia, Spain, Sweden
Don Lipton, Executive Director, Public Relations Lynne Finnerty, Editor Erin Anthony, Assistant Editor Phyllis Brown, Assistant Editor Sarah Bittner, Contributing Writer
March 19, 2012 Vol. 91
• Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay • Middle East: Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia • Oceania: Australia, New Zealand Upon completing the program, Fellows become part of an alumni network of more than 1,900 Fellows around the globe. Previous participants of the Eisenhower
Published semimonthly, except monthly in August and December, by the American Farm B ureau Federation, 600 Maryland Ave., SW, Suite 1000W, Washington, DC 20024. Phone: 202-406-3600. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: http://www.fb.org. Periodical postage paid at Washington, D.C., and additional mailing offices. Subscription rate for officers and board members of county and state Farm Bureaus—$6, which is deducted from dues. For other subscribers—$10. Postmaster: Send address changes to FBNews, 600 Maryland Ave., SW, Suite 1000W, Washington, DC 20024.
Fellowship program have risen to positions of influence and have used the international connections gained through the program to bring new ideas and technologies to their communities. Eisenhower Fellowships challenges Fellows to identify specific projects they will undertake upon completion of travel, often in collaboration with other Eisenhower Fellows, and to remain engaged with Eisenhower Fellowships throughout their lives. For more information, visit www.eisenhowerfellowships.org online, or contact Julia Ransom by e-mail at jransom@eisenhower fellowships.org or by telephone at 215-546-1738. Eisenhower Fellowships is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1953 to pay tribute to Pres. Dwight Eisenhower and to foster greater cross-cultural understanding. The program typically sends eight to 10 American Fellows, including the Agricultural Fellow, abroad each year.
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March 19, 2012
Senate passes transportation bill, pressure mounts in House The Senate last week approved a two-year, $109 billion reauthorization of federal highway and transit programs. Passed along with the Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act (S. 1813) were a handful of Farm Bureau-supported amendments, including two that will help keep farmers and ranchers on the road. One of the farm vehicle-related amendments approved by the Senate would protect farmers from burdensome regulations meant for commercial truck drivers. The amendment also attempts to address the patchwork of state regulations that could result in farmers and ranchers being required to have commercial drivers licenses for transporting their own goods across state lines, even if that’s a mere few miles from their operation. The amendment¸ authored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (DOre.), Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), would make it easier for farmers to transport their products to market, especially if that market is across a state border. “Under the current situation, merely the act of crossing state lines can trigger conflicting requirements for some farmers who are doing nothing more than hauling their own crop,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said in a letter to senators urging them to support the amendment. “These regulations can be particularly burdensome for farmers and
ranchers living in counties bordering another state where their best market might be just across the state line.” Another amendment supported by Farm Bureau and approved by lawmakers clarifies certain driving restrictions during planting and harvest season for producers who are transporting agricultural goods. The amendment exempts certain farm truck drivers from regulations on maximum driving and on-duty times during harvest and planting seasons. “This measure is particularly crucial during the two busiest times of a farmer’s year,” Stallman wrote. The amendment, proposed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ben Nel-
son (D-Neb.), would apply to drivers transporting agricultural commodities within 100 miles of the farm that produced them, or those carrying farm supplies for agricultural purposes within 100 miles of the wholesale or retail distribution point. Each state would determine its own planting and harvest periods. Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-Mont.) Secure Rural Schools and Payment in Lieu of Taxes amendment, which would reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination program for one year, also passed. “The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination program has been successful in securing a stable source of funding for rural schools, police, roads,
libraries and other critical county services,” Stallman explained. In addition, a reauthorization of the County Payments Act was included in the amendment. The act provides jobs in rural counties. Those jobs, in turn, provide a tax base to support rural communities’ many social, health, transportation and infrastructure needs. The act also provides funds necessary to educate rural school children. A number of energy-related amendments failed to get the 60 votes needed for passage, including one that would have extended certain energy tax credit programs, paying for the credits with oil and gas development provisions approved by the House as part of its transportation package. Another amendment rejected by senators would have extended numerous expiring or lapsed tax credits, including the $1-pergallon biodiesel incentive program, which expired on Dec. 31, 2011. It is still unclear what House lawmakers will do with their fiveyear, $260 billion surface transportation reauthorization when they reconvene this week, after a week-long district work period. The House is under additional pressure to act since the current law expires on March 31. Once the House approves its version of the reauthorization, lawmakers from both chambers will have to approve one bill to pass on to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Farm Bureau calls for strong, fiscally sound farm safety net Continued from page 1 ing public sentiment,” Stallman said. “While ours is a ‘deep loss’ program and would not provide producers with payments as often as other proposals contemplated, it would provide more coverage in times of catastrophic losses when assistance is most critical,” he explained. The Farm Bureau proposal also would, for the first time, extend the farm bill’s benefits to fruits and vegetables, beginning with coverage for five crops. The proposal could cover all so-called specialty crops that currently are covered by private crop insurance, according to Stallman. “But we decided it was best to learn to walk before we run,” he said. Stallman also testified in sup-
port of the concepts included in a bill introduced by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) to reform national dairy programs. Peterson’s bill would replace the Milk Income Loss Contract program, which provides dairy farmers countercyclical payments when milk prices plummet, and the dairy product price support program, under which USDA buys cheese, nonfat dry milk and other dairy products to support milk prices, with a new program that protects dairy farmers from low margins caused by a combination of low market prices for milk and high costs for feed, energy and other inputs. Several New York Farm Bureau members testified at a House Agriculture Committee field hearing on March 9 in upstate
New York about recent volatility in milk production and profitability. “Margin protection is the key to success of a dairy policy,” said Neal Rea, dairy producer and chairman of Agri-Mark Dairy Cooperative in Salem, N.Y. In last week’s Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the committee’s chair, said that “the era of direct payments is over.” Stabenow indicated that the committee would focus on risk management programs. “I have heard again and again from farmers and ranchers across the country that crop insurance is the most important risk management tool,” she said. “It is absolutely imperative that we get these policies right. Sixteen million people in this country have a job
because of agriculture. At our very first hearing, I asked my colleagues to keep those 16 million people in mind, and I ask that again today. The farm bill is a jobs bill, and no farmer in America should lose their job, lose their farm, because of bad weather or market conditions beyond their control.” The Senate Agriculture Committee has held four hearings since February on the farm bill’s energy, nutrition, conservation and farm programs, in addition to several farm bill hearings held last fall. Now the committee will get down to the business of drafting the new measure in the hope of getting it through Congress this year, before the current farm bill expires and before an even more austere budget situation arrives next year.
Montana FB is first to reach membership quota Montana Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Hanson (right) accepts a “quota jacket” from American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. MFBF on March 6 became the first state Farm Bureau to achieve AFBF membership quota for 2012, reporting membership of 16,263 member families. This is the fifth consecutive year in which MFBF has been the first quota state. It has had 26 straight years of membership growth. During that time, MFBF has more than doubled its membership.
‘Save Our Food’ focuses on availability of fresh Virginia farm products, food security Launched to feed consumers’ growing appetite for a connection with their food and those who grow it, Virginia Farm Bureau’s “Save Our Food” will mark its fourth year this summer. The campaign encourages consumers to buy local and American foods whenever possible and to recognize the abundance of safe, fresh, locally grown products available throughout Virginia. On the Internet SaveOur Food.org allows Virginians to find the nearest farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs and businesses and restaurants that feature Virginia-grown products. Android smart phone users can download an application that delivers that information directly to their device. “For many Virginia consumers, shopping at their local farmers’ markets has become a part of their shopping routine, even if it’s seasonal,” said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for VFB. Direct-marketing farm products “is still a niche in our overall food industry,” Banks noted, “but local foods are here to stay.
That’s a great opportunity for farms of all sizes, especially smaller farms, which frequently rely on relationships to build their customer bases.” SaveOurFood.org also offers video segments featuring recipes from Virginia food writer Kendra Bailey Morris and chef Todd Schneider and tips from horticulturist Mark Viette. Morris, Schneider and Viette appear on “Real Virginia,” the organization’s monthly television program, and their recipes and tips all revolve around what the state has to offer.
The calendar provides information on upcoming food events, like the Virginia Chocolate Festival at the end of the month and the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in May, while the Save Our Food shop offers carving boards, aprons, reusable totes and more sporting the campaign logo. Through SaveOurFood.org, VFB capitalizes on consumers’ attention by using the site to raise awareness about the many issues affecting the state’s farmers and ranchers. For example, the site
clarifies that while a farm may seem large, it’s still a family business, just one that’s grown to accommodate the sons, daughters, brothers and sisters who join their family members in making a living off the land. Food security is also a prominent topic on the site, where visitors are asked to consider what it would be like if all the foods their families enjoyed— fresh, ripe tomatoes, juicy peaches, steaks and burgers on the grill—were available only from foreign countries. The Save Our Food campaign is about more than apple pie and farm-fresh eggs, VFB says. It’s about the security of the nation and our communities. The website offers visitors a way to ensure the availability of those local products through VFB membership. VFB points out that although Americans are more interested than ever in fresh, locally grown foods, more farms are being lost each year. Farm Bureau membership, according to Save OurFood.org, is a “simple yet powerful way to put your support squarely behind the farms that produce your family’s food.”
San Mateo County seafood, farm products marked ‘As Fresh as it Gets’ To help shoppers in California’s San Mateo County identify products that are “As Fresh as it Gets,” the county’s array of locally harvested crab, salmon, produce and other fare is sporting a bright new logo. Launched by the San Mateo County Farm Bureau and the San Mateo County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the “As Fresh as it Gets” campaign is a cooperative effort by the farming, fishing and hospitality industries and county government to support and encourage consumption of local products. Shoppers can be assured that any product that carries the “As Fresh as it Gets” logo was grown locally or harvested from San Mateo County’s coast, according SMCFB. “The ‘As Fresh as it Gets’ logo will make it easier for consumers to choose health—per-
The “As Fresh as it Gets” campaign is a cooperative effort by the farming, fishing and hospitality industries and county government to support and encourage consumption of local products.
sonal health through nutritious food, economic health through support of local farmers and environmental health through a reduced carbon footprint,” said Richard Gordon, vice president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. The logo is new, but “As Fresh as it Gets” was started in 2006 to recognize hotels, restaurants and caterers who go out of their way to buy and serve produce from local growers, seafood caught off the San Mateo coastline, and beer and wine made in the county. Also part of the campaign’s mission is helping position San Mateo County as a world-class destination for culinary tourism. The county, which covers most of the San Francisco peninsula, measures 741 square miles and is geographically split by a mountain range. While the coastal region is rural and accounts for 60 percent of the county’s land, the area bordering San Francisco Bay is urban and makes up 90 percent of the county’s population. The campaign’s website, freshasitgets.com, showcases the county restaurants, bars, night clubs and other retailers that make the most of
local farm products and seafood offerings, as well as special events at those establishments. For those who prefer to do the cooking themselves, the site offers calendars detailing when farm products and seafood are in season, as well as where they can be purchased. A limited number of free recipes are on the site, and two “As Fresh as it Gets” cookbooks are available for purchase. The new “As Fresh as it Gets” logo, which is being featured at farmers’ markets, produce stands and grocery stores throughout San Mateo County, is the campaign’s latest effort to highlight San Mateo County’s fresh produce, fish, crab, prawns and locally produced cheese, wines and microbrews.
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Fill Your Plate website whets Arizonans’ appetites for local foods Arizona Farm Bureau’s Fill Your Plate website is a quick answer to the often-asked “what’s for dinner?” The site, www.fillyourplate.org, offers a comprehensive Arizona farmers’ market listing, an “Arizona Produce in Season” section and recipes from farmers and ranchers inspired by the state’s diverse food offerings. The site was created to showcase Arizona agriculture and to share with Arizonans exactly where and how they can experience all that the state’s farmers and ranchers have to offer. At the site’s core is its “Find a Farm Product” feature where Arizona chefs and consumers can select from a drop-down menu a product they are looking for and be directed to an Arizona farmer or rancher who grows and sells it. From alfalfa to zucchini and much in between—like leeks and lemons, both of which are in season in March, according to Fill Your Plate—“Find a Farm Product” will literally point site visitors in the right direction for their desired farm or ranch product, mapping out the vendor’s location. Site visitors unsure of exactly what will tickle their taste buds can browse recipes by category, such as “main dishes” or “soups.”
Once a user clicks on a recipe, the list of ingredients and where to find them appears. Fill Your Plate’s “Nutritious News” covers a variety of topics including food safety, healthy eating and how to enhance your farmers’ market experience. These articles are written primarily by Julie Murphree, AFB’s director of public relations, while the section dedicated to the latest food price trends is a compilation of items from news outlets like Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. For the budget conscious, the site’s “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menus use items that have gone down in price, based on quarterly price surveys. This section of Fill Your Plate provides seven dinner suggestions, including a main dish, side and beverage (either milk or iced tea), and a corresponding shopping list. All of the main dish recipes are found on Fill Your Plate. The beverage suggestion is typically milk or iced tea. In the “Celebrity Q&A” section, site visitors can find out what gets Arizona celebrities going in the kitchen. Most of the interviews involve well-known chefs and media personalities who answer questions about what they
like to cook best, what their must-have ingredients are and what advice they have to offer on food and nutrition. Updated three times a week, the Fill Your Plate blog has articles about food, recipes, nutrition and the state’s farming and ranching. Recent postings address the governor’s upcoming “Easter Eggstravaganza,” rising global food prices, and how supermarkets are making it easier to eat healthy. Fill Your Plate can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter (@FillYourPlate).
Consumers developing a strong taste for local foods Driven by a demand for freshing channels, which include groness, an interest in supporting the cers, restaurants and regional dislocal economy and the desire to tributors that work with growers, establish a personal connection accounted for $2.7 billion in farm with the people who grow their and ranch sales, with approximatefood, more and more consumers ly 13,400 agricultural operations are seeking out participating locally grown in 2008. About food available 22,600 farms “More than ever, consumers are through farmand ranches interested in where their food comes ers’ markets, used both directfrom and are seeking out a roadside stands, to-consumer community outlets and connection to the men and women supported agintermediated who put food on our tables.” riculture (CSA) marketing chan• Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack nels, for about programs and other local $1.2 billion in food outlets. sales. In total, Speaking to the Senate Agriculaccording to USDA, local food sales ture Committee earlier this month, amounted to $4.8 billion in 2008. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Considering the boom in farmsaid local food is one of the fastest ers’ markets—a 17 percent jump growing segments of agriculture, in markets in 2011 compared to with direct consumer sales doubl2010—and the growing focus on ing in the past decade. food sourcing, those numbers are “More than ever, consumers are likely considerably higher today. interested in where their food CSAs, programs through which comes from and are seeking out a consumers buy a “share” of the connection to the men and women farm in the beginning of the seawho put food on our tables,” Vilson in exchange for a weekly or sack said. “Buyers in every sector twice-monthly box of produce or of the food system have increased other foods grown on the farm local food purchases, and converthroughout the growing season, sations between farmers and conare also increasing in popularity. sumers are taking place every day In 2005, there were 1,144 CSA in every part of the country.” organizations, up from 400 in Direct-to-consumer food outlets, 2001, the National Center for Apsuch as farmers’ markets, roadside propriate Technology reported. stands, on-farm stores and CSAs, In early 2010, estimates for the accounted for $877 million in agnumber of CSAs in operation exricultural sales in 2008, according ceeded 1,400, but USDA says that to USDA’s Economic Research Sernumber could be much higher. vice. More than 71,000 farms and The department found that ranches participated in this type of the use of local marketing chancommerce. Intermediated marketnels varied with farm size. Small
farms, those with gross annual sales under $50,000, were more likely to be involved in direct-toconsumer channels like farmers’ markets and roadside stands. More large farms, those with sales over $250,000, worked with intermediated market channels, such as grocery stores. The federal government and many states and non-profit organizations are partnering to encourage people who receive government assistance to shop at farmers’ markets. The idea behind the effort is that the more people shopping at farmers’ markets, the more farmers and local economies will profit. The government also sees benefits, in theory, by boosting consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and ultimately lowering health care costs. USDA’s recently launched Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
Compass highlights tools to connect farmers and ranchers with underserved communities to increase consumers’ access to healthy food and provide economic opportunities for producers. Going well beyond farmers’ markets, the online multi-media site has stories, pictures and videos showcasing the department’s support of local and regional food systems, such as grants for farm-to-school projects and efforts to get new farmers started. The site also features an interactive map of USDA-supported local and regional food activities in all 50 states. According to USDA, the Compass allows site visitors to navigate department resources for local and regional food; meet farmers, ranchers and businesses and communities in their states that are participating in local food chains; and learn about local and regional food projects across the country.
For the Record Senate votes on rural education funding, energy tax credits Vote 1 The Senate on March 8 passed the Secure Rural Schools and Payment in Lieu of Taxes amendment to the Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act (S. 1813). The amendment reauthorizes the Secure Rural Schools and Community and Self-Determination program for one year. The program helps secure a stable source of funding for rural schools. In addition, the amendment reauthorizes the County Payments Act, which provides jobs in rural counties. AFBF urged a “yea” vote on the amendment. Vote 2 The Senate on March 13 rejected an amendment to MAP-21 that would have extended the biomass, wind and alternative fueling property tax credits, among other energy-related credits, including the expired $1-per-gallon biodiesel incentive program. AFBF urged a “yea” vote on the amendment.
LEGEND: — Vote in favor of the AFBF position — Vote opposing the AFBF position — Not voting
March 19, 2012
Name Vote 1 2 Alabama Shelby (R) Sessions (R)
Name Vote 1 2 Hawaii Inouye (D) Akaka (D)
Name Vote 1 2 Massachusetts Kerry (D) Brown (R)
Name Vote 1 2 New Mexico Bingaman (D) Udall (D)
Name Vote 1 2 South Dakota Johnson (D) Thune (R)
Alaska Murkowski (R) Begich (D)
Idaho Crapo (R) Risch (R)
Michigan Levin (D) Stabenow (D)
New York Schumer (D) Gillibrand (D)
Tennessee Alexander (R) Corker (R)
Arizona McCain (R) Kyl (R)
Illinois Durbin (D) Kirk (R)
Minnesota Klobuchar (D) Franken (D)
North Carolina Burr (R) Hagan (D)
Texas Hutchison (R) Cornyn (R)
Arkansas Pryor (D) Boozman (R)
Indiana Lugar (R) Coats (R)
Mississippi Cochran (R) Wicker (R)
North Dakota Conrad (D) Hoeven (R)
Utah Hatch (R) Lee (R)
California Feinstein (D) Boxer (D)
Iowa Grassley (R) Harkin (D)
Missouri McCaskill (D) Blunt (R)
Ohio Brown (D) Portman (R)
Vermont Leahy (D) Sanders (I)
Colorado Udall (D) Bennet (D)
Kansas Roberts (R) Moran (R)
Montana Baucus (D) Tester (D)
Oklahoma Inhofe (R) Coburn (R)
Virginia Webb (D) Warner (D)
Connecticut Lieberman (I) Blumenthal (D)
Kentucky McConnell (R) Paul (R)
Nebraska Nelson (D) Johanns (R)
Oregon Wyden (D) Merkley (D)
Washington Murray (D) Cantwell (D)
Delaware Carper (D) Coons (D)
Louisiana Landrieu (D) Vitter (R)
Nevada Reid (D) Heller (R)
Pennsylvania Casey (D) Toomey (R)
West Virginia Rockefeller (D) Manchin (D)
Florida Nelson (D) Rubio (R)
Maine Snowe (R) Collins (R)
New Hampshire Shaheen (D) Ayotte (R)
Rhode Island Reed (D) Whitehouse (D)
Wisconsin Kohl (D) Johnson (R)
Georgia Chambliss (R) Isakson (R)
Maryland Mikulski (D) Cardin (D)
New Jersey Lautenberg (D) Menendez (D)
South Carolina Graham (R) DeMint (R)
Wyoming Enzi (R) Barrasso (R)
AFBF: Chesapeake Bay bill good for farms, economy Continued from page 1 AFBF wrote Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Tim Holden (D-Pa.), the sponsors of the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act (H.R. 4153), that their bill would improve the health of the Bay as well as that of local farms and rural economies. “We believe your legislation provides states in the watershed the tools they need to protect and balance economic growth and job creation with the desire for a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay,” wrote AFBF President Bob Stallman. The Obama administration in late 2010 finalized a so-called Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), the regulatory term for EPA-imposed limits on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment allowed into a water body, for the six-state Chesapeake Bay watershed. States are being required to follow EPA-mandated Watershed Implementation Plans to achieve the pollution limits, regardless of the cost to state and local government budgets, taxpayers, farmers, homebuilders and other businesses. As a result, towns will be required to build infrastructure they can’t afford as municipal budgets are squeezed
and farmers may take farmland out of production. AFBF has asserted that regulatory authority reserved for states under the Clean Water Act has come under assault from EPA’s micromanagement. The bill would reaffirm the right of states to write their own water quality plans rather than having them imposed by a federal agency. It also would create a voluntary nutrient trading program to help them reach their water quality goals.
“Protecting the Bay is an important goal,” said Stallman in a news release, “but it is also important to have regulatory provisions in place that preserve the role of states in determining their own land-use and water-quality regulations. This bill would do that through a program that is led by the states and supported by the Agriculture Department.” AFBF said that under the EPA program, the agency would “unlawfully micromanage state ac-
tions and the activities of farmers, homeowners and businesses within the six-state watershed, imposing specific pollutant allocations on activities such as farming and homebuilding, sometimes down to the level of individual farms.” The bill further calls for an independent review of the data modeling EPA used to establish the TMDL. Those data and modeling have been called into question by AFBF and other agricultural groups. Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey and USDA data indicate that EPA’s modeling overestimates the amount of sediment from farms and forests and underestimates the extent of conservation practices already in place in the watershed. AFBF has said that EPA’s refusal to take the time to improve its nutrient management model that is driving mandated reductions in runoff could cause farmers and other stakeholders to spend scarce resources on conservation measures directed to the wrong sources or areas. In addition to Goodlatte and Holden, Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) have cosponsored the bill. AFBF says it will work to build broad support and ensure “swift consideration” of the bill.
News Briefs Stallman: PNTR for Russia is significant for U.S. ag
Matteson speaks at White House about Start2Farm.gov
Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia is the American Farm Bureau Federation’s top trade priority this year, according to written testimony that AFBF sent on March 16 to the Senate Finance Committee for a hearing on Russia PNTR. Russia is expected to join the WTO this July. Only Congress can grant PNTR to Russia, and doing so ensures that the U.S. can benefit from the market opening measures that are part of Russia’s WTO accession agreement. Russia PNTR is a critical step toward ensuring that the U.S. benefits from Russia’s access to the WTO and remains competitive in that market, Stallman wrote. “U.S. farmers will have more certain and predictable market access as a result of Russia’s commitment not to raise tariffs on any products above the negotiated rates and to apply international food safety standards in a uniform and transparent manner,” he said. Russia is a key export market for U.S. poultry, pork and beef. U.S. farm exports to Russia are forecast at $1.4 billion for this year.
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s Sabrina Matteson, director of rural affairs, spoke at a March 5 Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass event at the White House. The event included a “tweetup” using the social media site Twitter to expand the National Conversation on Local and Regional Food projects. Matteson spoke about AFBF’s partnership with USDA to develop Start2Farm.gov, a website offering resources for beginning farmers, and how local and regional food projects are creating economic opportunities for Farm Bureau’s farmer and rancher members.
USDA Photo by Lance Cheung
March 19, 2012
State FB Links
Local communities benefit from ag literacy grants The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has awarded 28 $500 mini-grants to communities across the nation. The grants are awarded through the Foundation’s WhiteReinhardt Fund for Education program. The grants are used to fund new projects or extend existing agri-
cultural literacy efforts, and are distributed through county and state Farm Bureaus. Criteria for selecting winners included: the effectiveness of demonstrating a strong connection between agriculture and education; how effectively the programs encouraged students to learn more about agriculture and
the food and fiber industry; and the procedures and timelines expected for accomplishing project goals. “Through the mini-grant program, Farm Bureau members provide resources to educators in their local communities at no cost to help them teach students about the many facets of today’s agricul-
ture,” said Dan Durheim, executive director of the foundation. Named for two former chairs of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee, Berta White and Linda Reinhardt, the WhiteReinhardt Fund for Education is a project of the AFB Foundation for Agriculture in cooperation with the committee.
2012 mini-grants awarded to state and county Farm Bureaus: • Alaska Ag in the Classroom
Bookmarks to promote Alaska AITC’s new children’s book on agriculture in the state • Bacon County, Ga. 30 new books with accelerated reader quizzes • Bedford County, Va. Lumber for garden plots, and soil and pea gravel to expand school gardens • Benton County, Iowa Incubator and equipment to teach about the life cycle of poultry and birds, and their importance to the food chain and environment • Benton County, Ind. Book Barn to highlight books featuring products/animals grown in Indiana • Calhoun County, Mich. Agriculture Now and Then book study club for third-graders • Carroll County, Va. Donation of books for use during
Virginia Agriculture Literacy Week
• Cherokee County, Ga.
Expansion of school gardens • Copper County, Mich. Educational materials for area schools • Evans County, Ga. Two greenhouses for Claxton Elementary School • Gallatin County, Mont. “Farm Fair” provides opportunities for students and teachers to participate in ag-related activities • Hiawathaland County, Mich. Root-Vue Farm kits for secondgrade classrooms • Hughes County, S.D. Books on agriculture targeted to specific student instructional levels • Jackson County, Mich. Ag-related kits for third-grade teachers including lessons, supplemental materials and handson learning tools
• Livingston County, Mich.
Microphone headsets for presenters at Agriculture Awareness Day • Lyon County, Iowa Marketing video for the Ag-Citing Program • Marshall-Putnam County, Ill. Mobile farm exhibit, resource libraries, books and DVDs to facilitate teaching about agriculture in elementary schools • Massac County, Ill. Agri-Board game with questions related to all aspects of agriculture • Missaukee County, Mich. Life-size, three-dimensional cow for use in libraries and classrooms • N.M. Ag in the Classroom Books, game and CD for distribution to local schools on New Mexico Agriculture Day • Norton County, Kan. “Field to Fork” hands-on experiences for early childhood development classes
• O’Brien County, Iowa
Marketing video for the Ag-Citing Program • Ottawa County, Kan. Soybean seeds, pots, fertilizer and educational DVDs • Piatt County, Ill. Book Barn filled with ag-related books, games, props and farm machinery • Ripley County, Ind. Ag resource kit that focuses on forestry and tree identification, for use at middle and high schools • Sioux County, Iowa Marketing video for the Ag-Citing Program • Smyth County, Va. Virginia product map puzzles and children’s books • Windham County, Conn. Aeroflo hydroponic system, lighting and children’s books to help teach hydroponics in the classroom
Boswell joins AFBF Public Policy department
Indiana bill would protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits
Iowa lawmakers will punish lying animal rights activists
A right-to-farm bill in Indiana has strong support from the Indiana Farm Bureau and Indiana Pork Producers, but environmental groups are opposed. Environmental activists say the bill, which requires people who file frivolous lawsuits against Indiana farms to pay the farms’ legal fees, would make people reluctant to take action, even when they have legitimate complaints about waste or smell. Justin Schneider, IFB attorney, said nuisance lawsuits have been filed in other states and he believes Indiana is next. “It’s a concerted effort by a handful of attorneys who’ve filed a lot of nuisance lawsuits in other states to come to Indiana and do the same thing here,” Schneider said. Indiana Rep. Bill Friend (R) said he sponsored the bill because farms need protection from groundless lawsuits and he rejects the idea that it deters residents with legitimate complaints from suing. Indiana Sen. Jean Leising (R), co-sponsor of the bill, said that the bill provides peace of mind for farmers who are following state and federal rules but fear, for example, that a new subdivision being built near their farm might spawn lawsuits.
Iowa is the first state to make it a crime to use dishonest means to get into a farming operation to secretly record video of animal abuse. Gov. Terry Branstad (R) signed the bill into law despite animal rights groups calling on him to veto it, saying the bill ignores strong public sentiment that favors proper treatment of animals and methods of oversight that ensure safe food. But John Weber, who grows grain and raises hogs, said most farmers don’t abuse or mistreat their animals and there are systems in place to deal with mistreatment when it’s reported. He called the new law a good piece of legislation. Iowa Sen. Joe Seng (D), a veterinarian who sponsored the bill, said the measure strikes a balance by discouraging animal activists from sneaking into livestock facilities but not prohibiting someone who legitimately works there from reporting animal abuse. Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, said he hopes Iowa’s action can lead the way for other states to pass similar legislation. Seven other states are also considering legislation that would enhance penalties against those who secretly record video of livestock.
Kristi Boswell joined the American Farm Bureau Federation staff as of March 12 as director of congressional relations. Boswell has responsibility for national labor policy and related issues. For the last two years, Boswell has been a practicing attorney in the firm of Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP, where she worked on labor and employment litigation. She earned her law degree and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska. Boswell grew up on her family’s 1,200-acre corn and soybean farm near Shickley, Neb.
Newsmakers Keith Olsen, former president of Nebraska Farm Bureau and state board member for nearly 20 years, has accepted a position on the 25x’25 National Steering Committee. Kinsey Money is the new director of public policy for the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Money previously served as director of research and public policy development for OFB and as counsel to the OFB Legal Foundation. Chris Kidd, previously OFB’s field representative and Young Farmers and Ranchers coordinator, has been selected to serve as director of state and national affairs. Rayne Pegg has been named manager of the California Farm Bureau Federation National Affairs and Research Division. Pegg will also retain her role as director of special state policy projects, with an emphasis on the state budget. Pegg has been with CFBF since August 2011, when she rejoined the organization after serving two years as administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Jamie Pruitt is the new public relations coordinator for the Delaware Farm Bureau. Amelia Miller is the new promotion and education administrative coordinator for the Michigan Farm Bureau promotion & education department. Miller is a recent Michigan State University graduate and has been interning with the Michigan Ag Council for the past year. Talmadge Allen Smith has been named the Georgia Farm Bureau national affairs specialist. Smith has been a member of the GFB legislative team for six years. Dennis Vercler, Illinois Farm Bureau director of news and communications, has announced his retirement effective May 31.
March 19, 2012
Land availability, government regulations are top concerns of young farmers and ranchers Continued from page 1 government spending was the No. 1 response, with 20 percent listing this as most important. Sixteen percent of those surveyed said the government should provide financial help to beginning farmers, while 12 percent indicated reforming environmental regulations should be first on the list. “Cutting government spending will help reduce the nation’s mammoth government debt,” said Cope. “However, providing assistance to help beginning farmers get started in food production would be money well spent. And reforming burdensome environmental regulations will be good for all of agriculture and America.” The 20th annual YF&R survey shows that 94 percent of those surveyed are more optimistic about farming and ranching than they were five years ago. Last year, 87 percent of those surveyed said they were more optimistic about
farming than they were five years ago. The 2012 survey also shows 94 percent of the nation’s young farmers and ranchers say they are better off than they were five years ago. Last year, 90 percent reported being better off. More than 96 percent considered themselves lifetime farmers, while 98 percent would like to see their children follow in their footsteps. The informal survey reveals that 92 percent believe their children will be able to follow in their footsteps. The survey shows that America’s young farmers and ranchers are committed environmental stewards, with 61 percent using conservation tillage to protect soil and curb erosion on their farms. In addition, computers and the Internet are vital tools for the nation’s young farmers and ranchers, with 93 percent of those surveyed reporting using a computer in their farming operations. Near-
ly all of them, 99 percent, have access to the Internet. High-speed Internet is used by 79 percent of those surveyed, with 20 percent relying on a satellite connection and just over 1 percent turning to dialup. The popular social media site, Facebook, is used by 79 percent of those surveyed who use the Internet. The most popular use of the Internet among survey respondents is to gather news and agricultural information, with 82 percent turning to it for that use. Finally, the survey points out that 71 percent of YF&R members consider communicating with consumers a formal part of their jobs. “Young farmers and ranchers are becoming more comfortable when it comes to reaching out to consumers to participate in conversations they are having about food,” Cope said. “It’s important that we as farmers continue to explore and use all available tools to
connect with consumers, whether that means social media platforms, personal outreach through farm tours, agri-tourism, farmers’ markets or some combination.” AFBF President Bob Stallman said the annual YF&R survey points out that the future of U.S. agriculture is in good hands. “Our young farmers and ranchers have the know-how and tenacity to ensure that the best days are ahead for our country and agriculture,” Stallman said. “They are the future of American agriculture.” The informal survey of young farmers and ranchers, ages 18-35, was conducted at AFBF’s 2012 YF&R Leadership Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., in midFebruary. The purpose of Farm Bureau’s YF&R program is to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers and become future leaders in agriculture and Farm Bureau.