Thursday, December 18, 2014

Just in


Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Passage of Tax Extenders Bill 


 WASHINGTON – “Passage of H.R. 5771 means farmers and ranchers are one step closer to tax laws that will let them reinvest in their businesses. Farm Bureau now urges the President to sign these temporary provisions into law for 2014.

 “Thanks to tax provisions like Section 179 small business expensing and bonus depreciation, hard-working Americans will be free to put their money directly back to work on their land and in their local communities.

 “The domestic energy market will continue to grow and innovate, thanks to the renewal of fuel and power tax incentives. A boost in our clean, renewable energy market here at home will help farmers, ranchers and consumers alike as more affordable energy is available.

 “Farmers and ranchers need more than just a temporary tax fix, however. They need certainty that these provisions will be there in the coming years as they make long-term business decisions. Farm Bureau looks forward to working with Congress to ensure agriculture can count on these tax provisions not just this year, but every year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Just in

USDA Improves Forest Health by Harvesting Biomass for Energy

2014 Farm Bill Program Generates Renewable Energy, Helps Reduce Forest Fire Threats
WASHINGTON– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that more than
200,000 tons of biomass were removed from federal lands through the Biomass
 Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). BCAP, reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill,
provided incentives for the removal of dead or diseased trees from National Forests
 and Bureau of Land Management lands for renewable energy, while reducing the
risk of forest fire. This summer, 19 energy facilities in 10 states participated
in the program.
"This initiative helps to retrieve forest residues that are a fire risk, but otherwise
 are costly to remove," said Vilsack. "In just three months, working with private
partners across the country, the program helped to reduced fire, disease and
 insect threats while providing more biomass feedstock for advanced energy
 facilities."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency administered
the program earlier this year. Eligible farmers, ranchers or foresters participating
in BCAP received a payment to partially offset the cost of harvesting and delivering forest residues to a qualified energy facility.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Just in



USDA Provides Greater Protection for Fruit, Vegetable and Other Specialty Crop Growers

WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that greater protection is now available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for crops that traditionally have been ineligible for federal crop insurance. The new options, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, provide greater coverage for losses when natural disasters affect specialty crops such as vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, and energy crops.

“These new protections will help ensure that farm families growing crops for food, fiber or livestock consumption will be better able to withstand losses due to natural disasters,” said Vilsack. “For years, commodity crop farmers have had the ability to purchase insurance to keep their crops protected, and it only makes sense that fruit and vegetable, and other specialty crop growers, should be able to purchase similar levels of protection. Ensuring these farmers can adequately protect themselves from factors beyond their control is also critical for consumers who enjoy these products and for communities whose economies depend on them.”

Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Producers can now choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price.

The expanded protection will be especially helpful to beginning and traditionally underserved producers, as well as farmers with limited resources, who will receive fee waivers and premium reductions for expanded coverage. More crops are now eligible for the program, including expanded aquaculture production practices, and sweet and biomass sorghum. For the first time, a range of crops used to produce bioenergy will be eligible as well. 

“If America is to remain food secure and continue exporting food to the world, we need to do everything we can to help new farmers get started and succeed in agriculture,” Vilsack said. “This program will help new and socially disadvantaged farmers affordably manage risk, making farming a much more attractive business proposition.”

To help producers learn more about the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and how it can help them, USDA, in partnership with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois, created an online resource. The Web tool, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/napallows producers to determine whether their crops are eligible for coverage. It also gives them an opportunity to explore a variety of options and levels to determine the best protection level for their operation.

If the application deadline for an eligible crop has already passed, producers will have until Jan. 14, 2015, to choose expanded coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. To learn more, visit the Farm Service Agency (FSA) website at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap or contact your local FSA office at offices.usda.gov. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also wants to hear from producers and other interested stakeholders who may have suggestions or recommendations on the program. Written comments will be accepted until Feb. 13, 2015 and can be submitted through www.regulations.gov.

These new provisions under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program were made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America.  For more information, visitwww.usda.gov/farmbill.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Just in


USDA Seeks Public Comment on New
Environmental Quality Incentives Program Rule

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Agriculture is publishing a rule that outlines how it will improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), one of USDA’s largest conservation programs. The interim final rule includes program changes authorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill.

USDA established a 60-day comment period for the rule. The rule is expected to be available in the Federal Register and regulations.gov on Friday, Dec. 12.  Beginning Friday, the public can submit comments through regulations.gov or by mailing them. Comments are due by Feb. 10, 2015. Full details are in the Federal Register notice. 

“This interim final rule provides a roadmap to help streamline and simplify EQIP for farmers and ranchers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “We strongly encourage agricultural producers, private forest landowners and stakeholders to provide comments on our implementation processes.  This feedback will help us improve our operation and deliver technical and financial assistance more efficiently to our nation’s agricultural producers and forest landowners.”   

The changes are intended to simplify the EQIP regulation regarding conservation practice scheduling, payment limitations and other administrative actions. Vilsack said USDA has enhanced EQIP by streamlining the delivery of technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers and forest landowners nationwide.

Highlights of program changes in this rule include the following:

·        Requires at least 5 percent of available EQIP funds be targeted for conservation practices that promote wildlife habitat;
·        Establishes EQIP as a contributing program for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program;
·        Increases the advanced payment from 30 percent to 50 percent for eligible historically underserved producers, including  beginning farmers, to help purchase material or contract services;
·        Targets assistance to veteran farmers and ranchers including eligibility for the new 50 percent advance payment and up to 90 percent of the cost to implement EQIP conservation practices;
·        Increases the payment limitation for EQIP from $300,000 to a maximum of $450,000 for benefits received during 2014-2018 and removes the option for a waiver to exceed payment limitations;
·        Eliminates the requirement for a program contract to remain in place for one year after the last practice has been implemented, allowing practices to be scheduled through the tenth year of a contract;
·        Includes an option to waive the irrigation history requirement under certain conditions;
·        Incorporates the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program functions into EQIP.  

This rule follows the publication of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) interim final rule in the Federal Register on November 5. USDA is also seeking comments for the CSP rule.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP, a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to eligible agricultural producers and forest landowners to help them address soil, water, air and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. Resulting conservation and environmental benefits include improved water and air quality, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved energy conservation, improved grazing and forest lands, and created or improved wildlife habitat on working farms, ranches and non-industrial forestlands.

EQIP has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of agricultural producers and forest landowners since its launch in 1997. From that time through 2014, USDA has invested in 596,481 contracts for a total of nearly $11 billion on nearly 232 million acres nationwide.

For more information about interim final rules for USDA NRCS’s Farm Bill conservation programs, visit EQIP Rule Page.

For more information on technical and financial assistance available through EQIP, visit the EQIP Web page.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Just in

Farm Bureau member asks House subcommittee to pass Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act




Forshee-Stacy_KFB WashingtonFarm Bureau member Stacey Forshee today called on Congress to help consumers understand the difference between real food safety concerns and marketing ploys by passing the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 4432). Forshee, who is also a Kansas Farm Bureau board member, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.    

“As a hard-working American family who lives off the land and the products it provides, we would never allow a product we grew or raised to enter the food supply unless we knew it was safe,” Forshee said. A farmer and cattle rancher with her husband in north central Kansas, Forshee has seen firsthand the marked benefits of biotechnology crops, including higher yields over fewer tillable acres, reduced pesticide use and improved soil conservation.    

The Forshees are not alone in seeing these benefits. Since 1996, more than 17 million farmers have added in excess of 110 million tons of soybeans and 195 million tons of corn to the world’s food supply. Farmers also avoided using 1.2 billion pounds of pesticide by choosing to grow genetically enhanced crops over conventional corn and soybeans.     
Forshee praised the Food and Drug Administration’s science-based approach to labeling food products for safety, health and nutrition information. Labeling foods with biotechnology traits “will mislead consumers into believing such food products are materially different, create undue risk and should be avoided – all of which are scientifically false,” she said. Veering from FDA’s safe and proven approach would undermine the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers across the country, while doing nothing to further food safety, Forshee said.  


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Just in


Farm Bureau: Significant costs, no meaningful benefits with proposed power plant standard



Washington—EPA’s proposed standard for existing coal-fired power plants will not only jeopardize the reliability and affordability of electricity nationwide, but also punish farmers and ranchers, who are doing more than their part in supporting energy independence and reducing fossil fuel use, Farm Bureau said in recent comments to the agency.   
In the proposed rule, released on June 2, EPA is targeting a 30-percent reduction in GHG emissions (from 2005 levels) by the year 2030 from existing power plants.   

The biggest problem with EPA’s plan is the significant cost for utilities in complying with these planned rules.  Utility companies can and will pass these costs on to their customers, who will then pass the costs down the line.  That’s not an option for farmers and ranchers.  
“Farmers and ranchers are price takers, not price makers, so they lack the ability of many other sectors of recouping their costs by passing them onto customers,” Farm Bureau said. “Higher energy costs for farmers and ranchers mean higher farm input costs.”  

EPA projects the proposed standard will cause electricity prices to go up nationwide between 6 and 7 percent in 2020 and up to 20 percent in some areas. But these high costs don’t come with the benefit of meaningfully reducing carbon dioxide emissions on a global scale.   

“Imposing added energy costs on our own economy while other economies are not held to the same standard not only puts U.S. producers and consumers at a disadvantage, it serves little environmental purpose,” according to Farm Bureau.   

 The proposed standard is expected to eliminate an additional 54,000 megawatts of coal-fired electric generating capacity—greater than the entire electricity supply of New England. Most of these retirements are projected to occur within the next five years. Such a tight timeframe further increases the threat to electric reliability, which is a must for farmers and ranchers who use electricity to care for their animals, irrigate their crops and power many other essential tasks on their farms and ranches.   

Another big problem is that the proposed standard will drive up demand for natural gas, the principal feedstock in the production of nitrogen fertilizer, which many farmers rely on to grow crops. The cost of fertilizer could very well climb right along with the natural gas prices.   
Though this rule specifically targets existing coal-fired power plants, EPA’s assertion that it has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions across the economy means manufacturers, refiners and many other sectors including agriculture could be in the agency’s crosshairs next.    

“Increases in other energy prices, fertilizer and machinery will hold negative consequences for agriculture while at the same time making U.S. farmers and ranchers less competitive internationally. In many cases, higher production costs due to increased energy prices lower net producer returns and farmers will respond by reducing overall production,” Farm Bureau warned.   

EPA in September 2013 released a related rule that addressed new power plants, proposing a standard of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour.  This proposal would basically eliminate the approval of any new coal-fired powered plants in the future.  For farmers and ranchers in a large part of the country, coal supplies all or most of their electricity.  Coal is an inexpensive, abundant and reliable source of energy – the very type of electricity source that agriculture needs in order to remain viable and competitive.   

Monday, December 8, 2014

Just in


Idaho Farm Bureau Observes 75th Anniversary
Boise –The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation celebrated 75 years as an organization during its annual convention in Boise, December 2-4.
The organization got its start back in September of 1939 in Murtaugh.
Delegates representing 41 of Idaho’s 44 counties discussed policy and set the organization’s course for 2014 debating a wide range of agriculture and natural resources matters. 
Delegates to the 75th Annual Convention adopted new policy on fuel taxes to help improve Idaho’s roads and bridges, endangered species with regard to sage grouse, opposed establishment of new free-roaming herds of bison outside Yellowstone Park and adopted new policy language on the establishment of national monuments and wilderness areas.
Idaho Farm Bureau’s annual banquet drew more than 325 members that packed the Riverside Hotel banquet room. The group enjoyed a historical retrospective video spanning the Farm Bureau’s 75 years and another video that featured remembrances from former Farm Bureau Presidents Dale Rockwood, Tom Geary and former first lady, Frances Field. 
President Frank Priestley awarded the President’s Cup Award to Tim and Rosemary Lowry of Owyhee County. Lowry is a lifelong rancher and won a landmark water rights case in the U.S. Supreme Court that preserved stock water rights on public lands throughout the West.
Winner of this year’s Young Farmer and Rancher discussion meet was Lanae Nalder of Minidoka County. Nalder is a cattle rancher. She received a Polaris Trailblazer ATV and an all-expense paid trip to San Diego to compete in the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet in January. 
Shaun and Hattie Blaser of Rexburg won the Young Farmer and Rancher Excellence in Agriculture Award. Ben and Amy Gittins of Weston received the Young Farmer and Rancher Achiever Award. For the past several years Polaris Motorsport dealers of Idaho made a generous donation to the Farm Bureau Achiever Award winner.
Recognized as Women of the Year were Nancy Asay of Malad, Susan Johnson of Leadore, Maria Brown of Burley, Pattie Chandler of Weiser and Sheila Hasselstrom of Winchester.

Luke Pearce of Payette County was elected to the State Board of Directors. Judy Woody of Twin Falls County was elected as the new Women’s Leadership Committee chair. Allis Chandler of Washington County was elected vice chair. Cole Smith of Montpelier was elected Young Farmer and Rancher Committee chairman.

Just in


USDA Joins Global Partners to Kick Off International Year of Soils in 2015
Boise – The USDA joins nations from across the globe to kick off the International Year of Soils, an effort to highlight the importance of soil in everyday life. Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, addressed members of the 68th United Nations General Assembly, which designated 2015 for the yearlong celebration.
“We are pleased to work with the United Nations to help raise awareness and promote the importance of conserving our soil resources,” Bonnie said. “USDA is embracing this unique opportunity to tell the world about the importance of soil conservation and how we’ve worked with private landowners since 1935 to protect and improve this priceless natural resource.”
Congress established the Soil Conservation Service as a permanent USDA agency in 1935. The agency, now called the Natural Resources Conservation Service, works with farmers and ranchers across the country to protect soil and other natural resources on their land.
“Taking care of the soil resource is vital to sustainable agricultural operations and NRCS conservationists offer technical assistance to agricultural producers to ensure that sustainability,” said Jeff Burwell, NRCS State Conservationist in Idaho. “As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance.”
To learn more about the contributions NRCS has provided to the citizens of the U.S. and to the world, visit the newly created International Year of Soils webpage on the NRCS website.”

Friday, December 5, 2014

Just in


USDA Extends Application Deadline for Dairy Margin Protection Program to Dec. 19


WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the application deadline for the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) will be extended until Dec. 19, 2014.  The program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant.

“The 2014 Farm Bill created these safety net programs to provide safeguards against the uncertainty of weather and markets, but this safety net is not automatic. Producers must visit their local Farm Service Agency office to enroll before December 19,” said Vilsack. “Despite the best forecasts, weather and markets can change, so a modest investment today can protect against unexpected losses tomorrow.” 

“For just $100, a farmer can cover 90 percent of production at $4 margin swings, and with affordable incremental premiums, dairy farmers can cover up to $8 margin swings,” said Vilsack. “Those who apply this year will receive a slight increase in production protection that will not be available in the future. Farmers who do not sign up for the Margin Protection Program for 2015 will forfeit the 1 percent base production increase. For a 400 cow operation, this would equate to an additional 80,000 pounds of milk that are eligible for coverage. It's a small step to take to ensure your business is covered.”

Vilsack encourages producers to use the online Web resource at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation. They can type in specific operation data and explore price projections and market scenarios to determine what level of coverage is best for them. They can also compare the data to see how the program would have helped in previous years, such as 2008, when margins dropped from $8 to $3 in just three months. The online resource is on a secure website that can be accessed from computers, mobile phones or tablets, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2014 Annual Meeting

Rancher Tim Lowry awarded the President's Cup

Garden City--Idaho Farm Bureau President Frank Priestley awarded rancher Tim Lowry the Organization's highest honor at Wednesday night's annual banquet.

Lowry joined the Farm Bureau back in 1969.


“I decided to go with the Farm Bureau. I've always been impressed with the Farm Bureau and everything they've accomplished. I was always impressed with their strength, their numbers and their philosophy and positions. You read their policy book and its very proactive with positions in defense of what I call the American System.”

Lowry was a due-paying member of Farm Bureau for a couple of decades when suddenly he found himself in a situation where he needed the organizations help. In the late 90's the BLM challenged his water rights and it not only threatened his ranch but water rights on every ranch across the western US.

"I’ve had help on a number of issues," said Lowry, "But the one I'll never forget is the Farm Bureau's help on the water rights battle. It was great because the Idaho Farm Bureau and various county farm bureaus helped support us financially. Without that kind of backing its very difficult to make a stand. With the backing by the Farm Bureau you have the opportunity to not only stand-up but to prevail."

Lowry won the landmark water rights case with a spirited fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lowry says his years as a Farm Bureau member have paid off many times over and he's not afraid to tell ranchers coming up to get involved.

"A young person can get involved at the county level and work their way up and actually have input and be able to affect the direction of their career," said Lowry

Lowry changed the face of ranching in the United States with that court victory, and many agree that he single-handedly kept ranching alive. But the Owyhee County rancher cautions that the Federal Government will not give up and a new generation will have to step up to keep the nation's rangeland open.




Tuesday, December 2, 2014

YF and R Discussion meet finals


YF and R Discussion Meet Finals: Public Land Management

Garden City--The 2014 YF&R Discussion meet came to a rousing end this evening in Boise with a timeless, controversial, provocative topic:

How would Idaho's federally-owned land would look like if held locally.

Most of the Gem State is owned by the federal government.

"Sixty-three percent of all land in Idaho is owned and managed by the government. One thing is for sure, if some of that land was managed locally agriculture statewide would surge," said Brett Wilder.

The panel seamlessly discussed pros and cons of the controversial issue.

"One thing we must not forget is the Payment in Lieu of Taxes, these small communities, especially where I live in Butte County have no tax money coming in, take away federal PILT payments and these small towns will suffer," said Lanae Nalder.

The panel discussed the problem of a federal government too big, with too much control and yet vulnerable.

"I remember the federal government shut down a few years back, it illustrated the problem of federal ownership of local land, they were completely shut down," said Erica Louder.

One panelist made the point of stewardship.

"Shifting the land, bringing it closer to privatization may not be the best extreme, but it might be better for the land," said Dusty Clark. "We have a vested interest in making the land productive to stay in business, we're the best stewards of the land. We aren't going to let cattle graze down to the dirt."


2014 Annual Meeting underway!

Garden City--The 75th Idaho Farm Bureau Annual Meeting is underway the Ice Cream Social, Monday night at the Riverside Inn in Garden City. More than 250 members and staff are expected to attend the Silver Anniversary of the organization.

Registration gets underway at 9-am, the meeting will wrap up Thursday.

(Steve Ritter photo)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Just in

Farmers disappointed with delay on 2014 renewable fuel standards



Ethanol pumpWashington – The American Farm Bureau Federation registered its disappointment with EPA’s decision to once again delay action on the 2014 standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.    

“Renewable fuels have been a tremendous success story for the nation by reducing our country’s dependence on foreign crude oil, reducing air pollution and providing good-paying jobs within rural America,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.    

“This significant delay and inability of the EPA to set standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program creates unneeded uncertainty in the marketplace,” Stallman continued. “Even though EPA took the appropriate course in reconsidering its proposed rule after receiving substantial pushback from rural America, Farm Bureau continues to believe that adhering to the framework of the RFS2 remains the best approach.”  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Just in


Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative Webinar ‘Finding and 

Keeping Talent’ Slated for Dec. 2

WASHINGTON – The American Farm Bureau Federation, together with the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative, announces the fifth in a series of free online business training webinars for rural entrepreneurs and Farm Bureau members.
“Finding and Keeping Talent” will be presented on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 3:00 p.m. EST. The webinar will focus on growing your team by developing staff in new ways, in addition to recruiting outside expertise for legal, export or marketing assistance.
Featured presenters include Jeff Reid, founding director, Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative; Jody Keenan, state director, Virginia Small Business Development Centers Network; and Tom Mirc, senior manager, Red Hat, business strategist and investor.
Interested Farm Bureau members and others are encouraged to RSVP at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/718549705.
“Recruiting and developing a staff team and securing outside expertise to help grow your business are critical for rural entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Lisa Benson, AFBF’s director of rural development. “This webinar will address some of the unique challenges faced by rural entrepreneurs as they work to find the right experts including marketers, mentors, accountants, lawyers and insurance agents, to help take their businesses to the next level.”
The educational series, with five webinars in 2014, is a key component of the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative, a joint effort between AFBF and GSEI. The series was created to address the major challenges that rural entrepreneurs are likely to face.
About the American Farm Bureau Federation
With family members at the county or parish level in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the American Farm Bureau Federation is the unified national “Voice of Agriculture,” working to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. AFBF is the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots organization of farm and ranch families. Additional information may be found at www.fb.org. Follow AFBF on Twitter: @FarmBureau.
About the Global Social Enterprise Initiative
The Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business aims to prepare current and future leaders to make responsible management decisions that yield both economic and social value. Through practical training for global business leaders, the initiative promotes transformative solutions to and impactful investments in the world’s significant challenges in health and well-being, economic growth, the environment and international development. It is led by Distinguished Professor of the Practice Bill Novelli and Executive Director Ladan Manteghi. Learn more at http://socialenterprise.georgetown.edu.
About the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative
The Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, led by founding director Jeff Reid, inspires Georgetown University students to be entrepreneurial, teaches them the entrepreneurial lessons learned by others before them, connects them to useful resources, and helps them pursue their own unique entrepreneurial interests. The initiative manages an array of courses and extracurricular programs to serve the Georgetown University entrepreneurial community, both within and outside of the McDonough School of Business, and fosters stronger connections to the vibrant Washington, D.C., entrepreneurial community and the Georgetown Alumni Association. Signature programs include the Hoya Challenge Business Pitch Competition, the StartupHoyas Incubator, the MSB Entrepreneurial Fellowship, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Faculty Exchange, Entrepreneurs in Residence, and events such as Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day, the Venture Capital Investment Competition and Global Entrepreneurship Week. Learn more at www.startuphoyas.com.
About Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business provides a transformational education through classroom and experiential learning, preparing students to graduate as principled leaders in the service to business and society. Through numerous centers, initiatives, and partnerships, Georgetown McDonough seeks to create a meaningful impact on business practice through both research and teaching. All academic programs provide a global perspective, woven through the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in a way that is unique to Washington, D.C. – the nexus of world business and policy – and to Georgetown University’s connections to global partner organizations and a world-wide alumni network. Founded in 1957, Georgetown McDonough is home to some 1,400 undergraduates, 1,000 MBA students, and 1,200 participants in executive degree or open enrollment programs. Learn more at http://msb.georgetown.edu.

 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Just in

Cost of Thanksgiving dinner rises, still under $50 for 10



Thanksgiving graphicWashington—The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 29th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.41, a 37-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.04. 

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.65 this year. That’s roughly $1.35 per pound, a decrease of less than 1 cent per pound, or a total of 11 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2013. 

“Turkey production has been somewhat lower this year and wholesale prices are a little higher, but consumers should find an adequate supply of birds at their local grocery store,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. Some grocers may use turkeys as “loss leaders,” a common strategy deployed to entice shoppers to come through the doors and buy other popular Thanksgiving foods.    

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers. 
Foods showing the largest increases this year were sweet potatoes, dairy products and pumpkin pie mix. Sweet potatoes came in at $3.56 for three pounds. A half pint of whipping cream was $2.00; one gallon of whole milk, $3.76; and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.12. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery ($.82) and one pound of green peas ($1.55) also increased in price. A combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) rose to $3.48.   

In addition to the turkey, other items that declined modestly in price included a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.54; 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.34; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.42; and a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.17.
 
The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. 
“America’s farmers and ranchers remain committed to continuously improving the way they grow food for our tables, both for everyday meals and special occasions like Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are blessed to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for about $5.00 per serving – less than the cost of most fast food meals.” 
The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home (available online athttp://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm), which indicates a 3-percent increase compared to a year ago.   

A total of 179 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 35 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey. 
Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.   

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.
   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Item
2013
Price
2014
Price
Difference
Misc. ingredients
3.20
3.48
+.28
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs.
3.36
3.56
+.20
Whipping cream, ½ pint
1.85
2.00
+.15
Milk, 1 gallon whole
3.66
3.76
+.10
Pumpkin pie mix, 30 oz.
3.10
3.12
+.02
1-pound relish tray (carrots and celery)
.81
.82
+.01
Green peas, 1 lb.
1.54
1.55
+.01
Cubed stuffing, 14 oz. 
2.67
2.54
-.13
16-pound turkey
21.76
21.65
-.11
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz.
2.42
2.34
-.08
Pie shells (2)
2.49
2.42
-.07
Rolls, 12
2.18
2.17
-.01
TOTAL
49.04
49.41
+.37
    





Year
Average
1986
$28.74
1987
$24.51
1988
$26.61
1989
$24.70
1990
$28.85
1991
$25.95
1992
$26.39
1993
$27.49
1994
$28.40
1995
$29.64
1996
$31.66
1997
$31.75
1998
$33.09
1999
$33.83
2000
$32.37
2001
$35.04
2002
$34.56
2003
$36.28
2004
$35.68
2005
$36.78
2006
$38.10
2007
$42.26
2008
$44.61
2009
$42.91
2010
$43.47
2011
$49.20
2012
$49.48
2013
$49.04
2014
$49.41

- See more at: http://fbnews.fb.org/FBNews/Top_News/Cost_of_Thanksgiving_dinner_rises,_still_under_$50_for_10.aspx#sthash.JQsPTL1Q.dpuf

Monday, November 24, 2014

Just in


USDA Approves 11,200 More Acres in Idaho for Wildlife Habitat

BOISE — U.S. Department of Agriculture Idaho Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Mark Samson, today announced that an additional 11,200 acres are now available for wildlife habitat improvement incentives. 

“The additional acres have been eagerly anticipated,” said Samson. “Idaho producers are excellent stewards of their lands and work hard to ensure natural areas on their highly erodible acres. Idaho has the largest allocation of enrolled SAFE acres in the United States. The partnership of Idaho FSA and Idaho Fish and Game has increased the number of productive leks (nesting areas) for sharp-tailed grouse in each of the eligible counties.” For more information about the success of Idaho’s SAFE program click here

This opportunity comes from the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program, part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) whereby Farm Service Agency contracts with landowners so that environmentally sensitive land is not farmed or ranched, but instead used for conservation. 

Program participants establish long-term plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality, or strengthen declining wildlife populations. In return, participants receive annual rental payments between 10 and 15 years. 

The SAFE program allows state fish and wildlife agencies, non-profit organizations and other conservation partners to target the Conservation Reserve Program within distinct geographic areas to help wildlife. SAFE is limited to 1.35 million acres nationally, with 97 projects in 36 states and Puerto Rico.