Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Idaho Farm Bureau's 71st Annual Meeting

YF&R Discussion meet, 2nd Round--Shantel Anderson, Stephen Bagley, Shane Stevenson and Luke Pearson discuss technology and agriculture's role in the future. --Putnam photo

Idaho Farm Bureau's 71st Annual Meeting

IFBF President Frank Priestley Addresses 71st Annual Meeting
Boise--Idaho Farm Bureau President Frank Priestley addressed more than 300 Farm Bureau Members at the General Session Luncheon at the DoubleTree Downtowner in Boise Tuesday afternoon.

Priestley says Idaho Farmers have many things to be thankful for after a successful harvest statewide and favorable commodity markets nationwide. "When Idaho Agriculture does well, the state does well despite the sluggish economy," said Priestley. "Agriculture is the jewel in the state's economic crown. We also pay taxes that fund schools, police and fire departments, Agriculture is a big part of Idaho's Economic Foundation."

Priestley told Farm Bureau members that Ag contributes more than $4.4 billion dollars to the state economy each year, and reminded members that over 100,000 Idaho jobs and fuel the economy.

71st Annual Meeting of Idaho Farm Bureau Federation Underway in Boise

Boise--The 71st Annual Meeting of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation is underway at this hour at the DoubleTree Riverside in Boise.
Registration gets underway at 9-am in the Convention Lobby, followed by the General Session lunch at 11:30 and Leadership workshops starting at 1-pm.
"We've been meeting annually since 1939," said Idaho Farm Bureau President Frank Priestley. "We will discuss any and all issues that affect farming and our farm families over the next three days, its an amazing exercise in grassroot politics and there's no other farm organization like it."

Just in from Washington

Rep.Lucas Plans Farm Bill Hearings

Washington--Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla; the next chairman of the House Agriculture Committee plans to hold hearings “looking at how every penny is spent” in anticipation of writing a farm bill in 2012 to replace the current $288 billion, five-year plan.

“The federal budget is still going to be tighter than anything we’ve seen in my 20 years up here,” Lucas said. “It’s going to (take) some tough decisions,” Lucas said. “When we have to write a farm bill, we’re going to have to write it with the money that will be available to us. Who knows what it will be. But I’m almost certain it won’t be as much as the last farm bill.”

Monday, November 29, 2010

Just in

Durbin: Congress Will Tackle Estate Tax This Week

Washington--In a speech to the Illinois Commodity Conference in Bloomington, Ill., last week, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he expects Congress to take on the estate tax this week as part of debate on extending the Bush-era tax cuts.

Durbin said waiting to settle the estate tax issue until after January, when the new Congress is seated, will only cause further delays. “Unfortunately, then it’s gonna take months, and that’s not fair to you,” Durbin said.

The estate tax was on top of the minds of conference attendees. “I get it. I hear what you’re saying,” Durbin said.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just in from Washington

AFBF Urges Repeal of Form 1099 Requirement in Health Law

Washington--American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman wrote to members of the Senate today urging them to support legislation, including pending amendments to S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, to repeal Form 1099 tax reporting requirements that are part of the massive health care law.

“Beginning in 2012, farms, ranches and other businesses will be required to complete an IRS Form 1099 for all payments, including goods and services, aggregating $600 or more in a calendar year to a single non-employee payee. The negative impact of new reporting requirements on farmers and ranchers is further compounded by increased penalties for the failure to comply that were passed as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010,” Stallman wrote.

“Farm and ranch businesses are overburdened with tax paperwork and reporting obligations, and the additional reporting requirements will further increase the cost and complexity of complying with the tax code. In addition to increasing costs, added paperwork will consume valuable time that would be better used to manage farm or ranch businesses,” Stallman wrote.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just in

Milk Production up 6.9%

Boise--Idaho milk production during October 2010 totaled 1.09 billion pounds, a 6.9 percent increase from the same month last year, and up slightly from September 2010 that's according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

September 2010 milk production was revised to 1.09 billion pounds, down 6 million pounds from the preliminary level. Average milk production per cow in October 2010 was 1,910 pounds, up 40 pounds from October 2009. The average number of milk cows during October was 571,000 head, up 25,000 from October 2009 but unchanged from September 2010.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This is the Idaho Farm Bureau

Boise--The Idaho Farm Bureau has just completed production of a new 17 minute film called 'This is the Idaho Farm Bureau.'

The short-film explains the inner-workings of Idaho's largest farm organization, explaining the history, purpose and function of the farm group now in its seventh decade. The release comes just in time for the 71st annual meeting at the Red Lion Riverside November 30th to December 2nd.

"The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation and Insurance always get confused, we wanted to make a distinction between the two," said Jake Putnam who wrote and directed the film. "The Federation was formed by and for farmers, it's one of the great grass root organizations of the state and the impact of the organization on Idaho is incalculable."

In the film, there's little narration, instead members explain in their words how Farm Bureau works. "It's interesting to get all the different takes, one thing is for sure Farm Bureau is bottoms up, all policy decisions come from the members, the Federation is a political force with a mission of letting Idaho Farmers, farm," added Putnam.

The film will premiere at the Annual Meeting, with a version also premiering on the Idaho Farm Bureau Channel on YouTube sometime next week.

Statehouse in snow

Statehouse in November, originally uploaded by Jake Putnam.

Winter storm warning remain in effect across Southern Idaho as a new cold front moves in packing high winds, cool temps and another round of snow. The first single digit temperatures are forecast tomorrow with below zero readings expected in Eastern Idaho.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just in from Milk Producers of Idaho

Dairy Briefs from the Milk Producers of Idaho:

· NEW AG COMMITTEE CHAIRS coming. Senate Ag chair Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) defeated. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) possible Lincoln successor. Republicans to control House. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) likely to head House Ag panel.

· CWT EFFORTS WILL FOCUS solely on export assistance with no more herd retirements. Funding level will be 2 cents per hundredweight. Participation of 75 percent of milk supply needed to make it go. Annual total would be $40 million.

· STILL A BILLION POUNDS of cheese on hand. Stocks up 6.3 percent over 2009. Butter supply down sharply from last year but above 2007 and 2008 levels.

· NEXT YEAR’S ALL-MILK PRICE expected to average about the same as this year’s . . . around $16.50 per hundredweight, says USDA. Class III price expected to average just under $15. Class III futures for 2011 averaged $14.50.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snow across Idaho

Boise in November, originally uploaded by Jake Putnam.

The first major storm has blanketed Southern Idaho with snow. Temperatures were moderate and roads bare, but more snow is the forecast, just in time for the Thanksgiving rush.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just in--

FAO Calls for Significant Increase in Major Food Crops in 2011

Washington--In its latest Food Outlook report, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization warned the international community to prepare for harder times ahead unless production of major food crops increases significantly in 2011.

Food import bills for the world’s poorest countries are predicted to rise 11 percent in 2010 and by 20 percent for low-income food-deficit countries, according to the FAO report. “With the pressure on world prices of most commodities not abating, the international community must remain vigilant against further supply shocks in 2011 and be prepared,” the FAO said.

Contrary to earlier predictions, world cereal production is now forecast to contract by 2 percent rather than to expand by 1.2 percent as anticipated in June. Unexpected supply shortfalls due to unfavorable weather events were responsible for this change in direction, according to the report.

Global cereal stocks are forecast to decline sharply and FAO calls for cereal production to be stepped up to replenish inventories. World cereals stocks are anticipated to shrink by 7 percent, according to the FAO, with barley plunging 35 percent, maize 12 percent and wheat 10 percent.

U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization news release

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Consumer Appetite, Tight Supplies Push Up Turkey Prices

Sacramento--A growing consumer appetite for turkey plus a tighter supply is pushing up producer prices for the turkeys as the holiday season approaches.

Producers cut back production in 2009 when consumer demand slowed, but the market has exhausted supplies in cold storage and processors are now scrambling for turkeys to meet improving demand, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Turkey prices at the producer level are expected to rise 18 percent this year, to 90 cents a pound, compared with 2009, according to USDA’s latest projections released this week.

Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation, said farmers have sold all of their turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday at profitable prices. But he warned that escalating feed costs could dampen the recovery in the turkey business.

Consumers won’t pay a noticeably higher price for turkey at the cash register because retailers are offering discounts on turkeys if shoppers buy a certain amount of other groceries, he said.--California Farm Bureau

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just in from Washington

AFBF Urges President Obama to Push for Tax Relief This Year

Washington--Now is the time for congressional action on estate tax relief, preserving capital gains tax breaks and extending other important tax provisions, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Stallman said, “No matter is more pressing for our nation’s farmers and ranchers than prompt passage of legislation” that extends tax provisions that expired in 2009 or are set to expire at the end of this year.

“Farm Bureau calls on you to work with Congress to enact legislation before the end of the year in order to avoid the economic damages that will be caused by tax increases and the uncertainty that surrounds the tax code,” Stallman told the president.

On Thursday, President Obama is set to meet with congressional leaders from both parties to discuss the legislative agenda for the lame-duck session of Congress.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2011 Idaho Legislature

Idaho Statehouse at dawn--Jake Putnam photo
Budget Shortfalls Could Plague Session

Boise--The Legislature's budget chief warned lawmakers on Monday that the 2011 budget plan they wrote relies on more than $270 million in one-time and temporary funding.

Budget director Cathy Holland-Smith says that money in the budget this year won't be there in 2012. Smith briefed the Senate and House Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee in annual pre-session meetings at the Statehouse.

She says the problem will only get worse because state programs like public schools and Idaho's health insurance programs will need another $70 million to fund growth. Smith says legislators will have to come up with at least $340 million if they want to build a budget for the next fiscal year if they are going to addresses all the budget items for this fiscal year.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Cost of Living

Cost of Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Up Slightly in 2010

WASHINGTON--Menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased about 1.3 percent in price this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

AFBF’s 25th 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 $43.47, a 56-cent price increase from last year’s average of $42.91. This year’s meal is actually $1.14 cheaper than what shoppers paid two years ago, when the total was $44.61.

“While this year’s meal remains a bargain, at less than $4.35 per person, America’s farmers and ranchers are perhaps most proud of the quality and variety of the food they produce for America’s dinner table,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas. “Our farm and ranch families are honored knowing that again this year Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with their families around the traditional feast. It is fitting that the food we produce from our land is a focal point of our nation’s thankful celebration of its collective bounty.”

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.

The big ticket item—a 16-pound turkey—was actually cheaper this year, at $17.66. That was roughly $1.10 per pound, actually a decrease of about 6 cents per pound, or a total of 99 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2009. While the whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, it was also the largest price decline compared to last year.

“Turkey prices are down some this year despite the fact that, according to Agriculture Department estimates, turkey production has been slightly lower in 2010 than in 2009 and supplies of turkey in cold storage are below last year’s level,” said John Anderson, an AFBF economist.

“This suggests that retailers are being fairly aggressive in featuring turkeys in special sales and promotions,” Anderson said. “Overall, the change in the price of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is basically in line with the modest changes that we’ve seen in the overall price level this year. At $4.35 per person, our traditional Thanksgiving feast is still a better deal than most fast-food value meals, plus it’s a wholesome, home cooked meal.”

A gallon of whole milk increased in price by 38 cents per gallon, to $3.24. Other items that showed a price increase from last year were: a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $2.62, up 17 cents; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.46, up 12 cents; ½ pint of whipping cream, $1.70, up 15 cents; three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.19, up 7 cents; a one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery, 77 cents, up 5 cents; a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.12, up 4 cents.

“Some of the Thanksgiving dinner items have rebounded from quite low price levels in 2009,” Anderson said. “For example, last year’s milk price was at its lowest level since 2001. Dairy product prices have climbed some in 2010, largely reflecting better consumer demand as the economy has gradually improved this year.”

Friday, November 12, 2010

Just in from Washington

Near Pocatello, Jake Putnam photo

Farm Groups Urge Estate Tax Relief This Year

Washington--The American Farm Bureau joined a coalition of 29 other agricultural organizations in asking members of the House and Senate to urge congressional leaders to reform current estate tax laws before the end of this year.

“This action will strengthen the business climate for farm and ranch families while ensuring agricultural businesses can be passed to future generations. Allowing estate taxes to be reinstated without an exemption and rate that protects family farms puts many operations at risk and threatens succession to the next generation of farmers,” the coalition of 30 farm groups said in a letter sent to members of Congress on Tuesday.

“If estate taxes are allowed to be reinstated at the beginning of 2011 with only a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55 percent, the negative impact on our industry will be significant. We support permanently raising the exemption to no less than $5 million per person and reducing the top rate to no more than 35 percent. It is also imperative that the exemption be indexed to inflation, provide for spousal transfers and include the stepped-up basis,” according to the letter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just in from Washington

USDA Crop Report Shows Production, Stocks Tightening

Washington--The Agriculture Department’s November crop report released today projects a further tightening of U.S. production and stocks compared to the October report.

Cornproduction is forecast at 12.5 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the October forecast and down 4 percent from last year’s record production of 13.1 billion bushels. As of Nov. 1, yields are expected to average 154.3 bushels per acre, down 1.5 bushels from the previous month and 10.4 bushels below last year’s record of 164.7 bushels.

Crop stocks are projected at low levels across the board. Corn stocks are estimated at 827 million bushels, down about 8.5 percent from the October forecast of 902 million bushels. Soybean stock forecasts of 185 million bushels showed a staggering drop of 30 percent, compared to the October forecast of 265 million bushels of ending stocks.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

25th AFBF Thanksgiving Survey to be Released Friday

Washington--As the American Farm Bureau Federation prepares later this week to release the 2010 survey results of how much the average Thanksgiving dinner will cost, Marsha Purcell, AFBF’s director of membership and program development, who helped created the survey, explains how it all started.

“I’ve always been interested in engaging consumers in what we’re doing in agriculture and that was one of the ways I thought we could really reach out to people who might not understand food and where it came from and have them have a better understanding of what it costs to purchase the food,” Purcell said. “Many times in the shopping cart there were a lot of things other than food items and that was one of the other messages we were trying to deliver.”

The Thanksgiving survey tracks the average prices of a turkey and all the basic fixings submitted by independent shoppers nationwide. This year’s survey will be released Friday.

AFBF Newsline

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just in---

Beef and Pork Exports Edge Higher for the Year

Washington--Combined U.S. beef and pork exports to date in 2010 total roughly $7 billion, up 16 percent in volume and 27 percent in value, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

According to Phil Seng, president and CEO of the USMEF, despite pork being much more competitive, U.S. pork exports are up 3 percent in volume and 9 percent in value. Mexico is the largest market for U.S. pork on a volume basis; Japan is No. 1 on a value basis.

Monday, November 8, 2010

i-phone App

i-phone App, originally uploaded by IdFarmBureau.

The Idaho Farm Bureau unveiled its new i-phone App. The application publishes all of the latest news from the blog, the latest videos, photos and calendar events. The application utilizes push technology, in essence pushing the latest Ag news to users as it happens. The application is free and can be downloaded from the Apple i-tunes store.

Farm Bureau media manager Jake Putnam announced that work has started on the new Droid application.

Just in from MPI

The Idaho Statehouse--Jake Putnam photo
2011 Legislative Session

Boise--The 2011 legislature will have a very distinct challenge in developing a balanced budget. The Governor and most legislators have ruled out any consideration of a tax increase. With an anticipated budget shortfall that could top $300 million; that would mean more cuts to state agency budgets – including education. Sessions that have to tackle that difficult of a task tend to be longer sessions than normal.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

President's Editorial

Bull Trout Designation of Serious Concern to Water Users

by Frank Priestley, Idaho Farm Bureau President

In early October the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized its critical habitat designation for bull trout. The area of designation includes nearly every reservoir, river and stream in Southwest Idaho, including a significant chunk of territory where bull trout don’t even exist.

The Idaho Water Users Association and the Coalition for Idaho Water are opposed and alarmed at the scope and potential costs of this misguided effort. As IWUA Director Norm Semanko stated, “This couldn’t be much worse for Idaho water.”

A critical habitat designation adds another layer of government regulation for water users, livestock operators, logging companies and many others who depend on public lands. This designation requires federal agencies to restrict any activities which could potentially harm bull trout or bull trout habitat. The area under scrutiny includes massive sections of Washington, Oregon, Montana, and especially Idaho. The total area includes 488,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs and 19,700 miles of rivers and streams.

In Idaho it includes 8,772 stream miles and 170,218 acres of lakes and reservoirs. Of that, about 64 percent is on federal land, 33 percent on private land and almost 2 percent on state-owned land. About 823 stream miles and 16,700 acres of lakes and reservoirs included in the designation are not currently occupied by bull trout.

Among the biggest concerns listed in joint comments provided to the USFWS by the Idaho Farm Bureau and the Idaho Water Users Association is the economic analysis used by the federal government to determine the impact on water and natural resource users. While the USFWS used an estimate of $5 million to $7.6 million per year over 20 years, the private sector believes the cost to Idaho’s economy could exceed $1 billion, resulting in devastating consequences.

We believe USFWS failed to properly analyze and calculate the costs that will be borne by irrigators, cities, industry and other water users. Farm Bureau and IWUA have called on the federal government to exclude Southwest Idaho river basins from the designation and the potential for lawsuits is likely.

Other costs the federal analysis missed include higher costs of hydropower due to changes in reservoir operations, lost recreation due to changes in reservoir levels and downstream releases, flood damage as a result of reduction in flood control capacity, attorney fees and other regulatory burdens.

The comments also point out that this designation violates the Nez Perce Water Settlement that went into effect in 2007. The Settlement which the U.S. government agreed to, established that 427,000 acre-feet of water from Idaho reservoirs would be used for flow augmentation for 30 years without the need for additional flows.

Farm Bureau and IWUA submitted 25 pages of comments and information on the potential impact of this designation. Anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to contact the Idaho Farm Bureau in Pocatello.

In conclusion, we believe the negative economic, small business, and social impacts of this designation of critical habitat in water storage reservoirs far outweighs the minor biological benefits to bull trout, if any exist.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Just in from Boise

Grain Prices Up

by Nishi Gupta
Idaho's NewsChannel 7

BOISE -- Dairy and grains are two staples Great Harvest Bread in Boise can't go a day without.

But recently the price of both has gone up.

"We go through 15 to 20 pounds of butter a day and butter's gone up about 30% so we may have to raise some of those prices," said Zach England of Great Harvest.

So far the Boise bakery has held the line and customers aren't paying more.

“We've pretty much absorbed price increases in the last six months," England said.

Jake Putnam of the Idaho Farm Bureau says the higher prices means customers will pay a little bit more for bread and dairy at the check-out line, but the difference will be pennies, if there's a difference at all.

"To the consumer you will see a small increase," said Jake Putnam of the Idaho Farm Bureau.

A bushel of wheat last year was $5.50, now it's about $6.20, it’s predicted it could be $7.00 by early next year.

Putnam says Idaho's wheat farmers are benefitting from the inflated costs caused by conditions overseas.

"In Russia we have a huge drought. All of a sudden on the world market, there's not as much wheat so our farmers here are exporting and all of a sudden, we're making a lot of money," Putnam said.

It's not the same case for bakery owners like Zach England of Great Harvest who would have to buy the more expensive wheat.

He doesn't expect wheat prices to get as high as they did two years ago.

"In 2008, they skyrocketed, they doubled and so we really felt the effects of that and we had to raise our prices then but they have since stabilized a little bit," said England.

Great Harvest Bread buys its grain more than a year in advance, so today's higher prices don't affect them too much.

And they buy a lot of their grain from Montana.

The wet spring also caused a smaller yield on other Idaho crops like potatoes and onions.

The farm bureau says as a result, prices of those will go up too, but it will be just a few cents higher.

Just in from Wall Street

Indexes Rally on Fed Move and Strong Retail Sales; Dow Gains 2%

New York--Stocks rallied strongly in the United States on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve's decision to buy more government securities to stimulate the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 219.71 points, or 1.96 percent, to close at 11,434.84, a two-year high, while the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 23.10 points, or 1.93 percent, in preliminary figures, and the Nasdaq composite gained 37.07, or 1.46 percent.

Equity markets have been rising steadily since early September, partly in anticipation of stimulative steps by the Federal Reserve, which announced on Wednesday that it would purchase $600 billion in Treasuries in an effort to push down long-term interest rates and spark lending. The Dow has risen more than 14 percent in the past two months, retracing its losses since the financial crisis took hold in September 2008, while the Standard & Poor's index is up 16 percent.

Read More:


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just in from Washington

Senate Ag Committee

Stabenow, Lucas Likely Ag Committee Chairs

Washington--With the defeat Tuesday of Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is expected to take over the gavel as chair of the Agriculture Committee in the 112th Congress. And with Republicans gaining control of the House, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who coasted to re-election Tuesday, will likely be the next chair of the House Agriculture Committee.

Lucas would be the first Oklahoman to serve as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Oklahoma Farm Bureau lobbyist Tyler Norvell called the expected move of Lucas to chairman the “story of the night” in Tuesday’s election.

Oklahoma Farm Report article

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Beets back in 2011?

Brian Darrington tops beets last month outside of Burley, Idaho, Jake Putnam photo

USDA Releases Plan to Allow Planting of Biotech Sugarbeets

Washington--The United States Department of Agriculture Department just released plans to allow farmers to plant biotech sugarbeets next year, a move that would nullify a federal court ruling in August that invalidated the original approval issued by USDA five years ago.

Brian Darrington of Burley has anxiously waited for word from the USDA. He says the sugar decision is one of the most critical decisions in agriculture. "I don't know how else to say it, sugar is a national security issue, people survive in the world in part from sugar we produce." Darrington and other farmers will wait and watch this latest development closely and hope for the green light to plant in the spring.

The USDA’s proposal represents the preliminary stage of the process and will be followed by a 30-day comment period before the department makes a final decision. USDA laid out three possible options in the proposal, including an option not to re-approve the sugarbeets, but said its preferred course of action would be to “authorize the commercial production” of genetically modified sugarbeets under strict regulations.

Wall Street Journal article

Idaho Elections

Boise—Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter defeated Democrat Keith Allred in the Governor’s race. Senator Mike Crapo, Representative Mike Simpson and new-comer Raul Labrador won their respective races, in a populist mandate to curb federal spending and address a sluggish U.S. economy.

Otter, 58, won despite sagging approval polls that dipped below 50 percent this fall because of the economy and sharp budget cuts at the Statehouse. Despite the contentious race Allred called Otter before midnight to concede. “I wish Governor Otter all the best as he works to guide our state through a difficult time,” he said.

Idaho’s Congressional Delegation is united once again under the Republican Party with the defeat of 1st term Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick. Labrador pulled in a comfortable 49.7 percent of the vote to Minnick's 42.5 percent.

The Puerto-Rico born immigration attorney came from behind and survived an onslaught of negative campaign advertising. Minnick raised more money, held a coveted seat on the House Agriculture Committee and won the American Farm Bureau’s Friend of Agriculture award for his 100-percent Ag voting record, but couldn’t survive voter dissatisfaction.

Senator Mike Crapo and Representative Mike Simpson were not seriously challenged while Senator Jim Risch was not up for election this cycle. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says the nation’s largest farm organization is ready to get back to work.

"Tuesday’s mid-term elections brought a lot of change to Capitol Hill and Washington," said Stallman. "The American Farm Bureau Federation looks forward to working with new and returning members of Congress on issues that are vital to the nation’s farmers and ranchers.”

Stallman says first and foremost the Farm Bill tops the Ag agenda. “There will be many important legislative issues for agriculture in the 112th Congress. A new farm bill will be written by new agriculture committee members who may not be that familiar with farm policy. Farm Bureau will work with these committee members to help them understand the role of farm programs and develop a bill that provides an effective and responsive safety net for producers across the country,” added Stallman

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just in from Washington

Lugar Sees Farm Program Cuts in New Congress

Washington--Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) believes the expected power shift in Congress after today's election will have a major impact on U.S. farm policy. “We're likely to have curtailment of farm subsidies and other income support programs,” Lugar said.

Lugar said 70 percent of the Agriculture Department’s budget goes to food and nutrition programs and those programs will not be touched. He expects the cuts will come from farm programs.

Because of this, Lugar believes writing the 2012 farm bill will be very contentious. “The South will want to protect the subsidy programs for cotton, rice and sugar. My guess is that at the end of the day the subsidies will be curtailed,” Lugar said.

Hoosier Ag Today article

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just in from Washington

Farm Bureau Asks Senate to Oppose Federal Water Control Bill

Washington--Farmers and ranchers would face burdensome federal regulatory control if provisions of a restrictive Senate water bill make it through the “lame duck” session of Congress, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

AFBF and a coalition of other groups are vowing to oppose any effort to attach the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act (S. 1816) to any bill that might be addressed during the lame duck session.

“While carrying a title that suggests it is limited in scope, provisions of this bill would have drastic negative impacts on agriculture,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “The bill makes sweeping changes to the Clean Water Act and sets adverse water policy precedents that would impact watersheds throughout the nation.”

According to Stallman, the bill strips state and local governments within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed of their authority under the Clean Water Act and grants it instead to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Bigger federal government and expanded federal authority is not in the best interest of our nation,” Stallman said. “By granting EPA the authority to issue what are called Total Maximum Daily Loads without allowing states the opportunity to address water issues, this bill would give EPA greater control over land-use decisions that should be made at the local level.”

Congress considers Farm Bill this week

Washington--House Ag Chairman Mike Conaway finally get the House farm bill to the Senate this week, but it all depends on House Republic...