USDAs chief economist found himself on the spot last Tuesday trying to defend USDAs controversial livestock marketing rule, which senators argued oversteps USDAs authority and will cost the livestock industry dearly.
A jobs and tax-extenders bill that resuscitates the biodiesel tax credit passed the House of Representatives on May 28, but biodiesel producers will still go into June waiting for final action on the credit.
Trying to spur some new blood in farming and ranching, USDA rolled out a program recently to encourage retiring landowners with land leaving the Conservation Reserve Program to sell or rent that land to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.
Attorneys arguing before the Supreme Court to overturn a judges injunction banning the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa told the high court that it will likely be at least a year before USDA completes an environmental impact study that could allow farmers to plant the crop.
Potential cuts to the crop insurance industry would be about 20 percent less than originally proposed, but agent commissions would be capped under a new draft of the standard reinsurance agreement between USDA and the crop insurance industry, USDA officials said last Wednesday.
Like other federal departments, US- DAs discretionary spending likely would be affected by the freeze President Barack Obama proposed last Monday and was set to discuss in his State of the Union speech on Wednesday.
Soybean-based biodiesel production in the U.S. has come to a halt after Congress allowed a $1-per-gallon government tax incentive for the industry to expire on Dec. 31, National Biodiesel Board spokesman Michael Frohlich said last Tuesday.
Commercial farmers are going to have credit options going into 2010, but traditional bankers may not be a lending option, and small farmers could struggle more than larger farmers to get credit, a major leader in the Farm Credit system says.