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.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack found himself walking a tightrope last Tuesday as he addressed a group of community food activists who, on the one hand, praise USDA for some recent initiatives to promote local foods, but on the other, criticize the department for its support of production agriculture.
Farmers, landowners and conservationists are looking at what options may be available for 436,000 acres across the state that will move out of USDAs Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) at the end of this month.
Some agricultural opponents of climate change legislation argue the U.S. could lose significant crop acres to forestry, but others worry about cleaner energy demanding more cropland to grow biofuels and renewable electricity. One of the key battles on climate legislation right now is just how much land shifting would occur.
While Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack maintains there is a positive outlook for fertilizer prices under climate legislation, the Fertilizer Institute is upset that Vilsack wont listen to their view that the bill could hurt the domestic fertilizer industry.
Agricultural groups are doing more forms of outreach on climate change and asking farmers to voice their views on climate legislation and its potential impacts. Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), attended a meeting with international farm leaders in Iceland last week to speak about the climate legislation in Con- gress.
Federal officials told farmers and academics earlier this month that they will take an unprecedented look at market concentration and transparency issues in agriculture through a series of planned workshops by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and USDA.