White House posts text of Pacific trade pact

From Agri-Pulse The White House has posted the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, triggering the start of a public review process. The 30 chapters of the TPP agreement include a sanitary and phytosanitary measures section meant to prevent countries from using standards for food safety and animal and plant health as trade barriers. There are other chapters on ... Read More »

Senate backs resolution to get rid of EPA clean water rules

From the Capital Press Despite White House objections, the Senate voted for a resolution Nov. 4 to scrap new federal rules to protect smaller streams, tributaries and wetlands from development and pollution. Senators voted 53-44 in favor of a “resolution of disapproval,” a measure that would void the regulations if also passed by the House and signed by the president. The ... Read More »

Senate sharply divided over WOTUS rule

From Agri-Pulse Senate Democrats blocked a bill aimed at forcing the Obama administration to replace its Clean Water Act rule, but Republicans quickly advanced a disapproval resolution that would simply kill the rule. The measure aimed at replacing the rule needed 60 votes to advance to a full debate, but just four Democrats supported the cloture motion, leaving the bill ... Read More »

NAWG tackles wheat acreage losses in new action plan.

From Agweek Enough is enough, says the National Association of Wheat Growers, which is working on a new plan to combat the long decline in U.S. wheat acreage. “Wheat is in trouble.” says Brett Blankenship, a wheat farmer from Washtucna, Wash., and president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “There’s been a 20-year decline in productivity and profitability. “Effort ... Read More »

Confused about farm program payment variability?

From Agri-Pulse The days of direct payments are over and so is some of the predictability about whether an individual grower will receive payments. That’s likely to cause some consternation, especially when growers of one crop in one county receive payments while growers in a neighboring county do not. USDA started issuing checks totaling about $3.9 billion last week. How does ... Read More »

Senators forcing vote on WOTUS rule

From Agri-Pulse The Senate could vote as early as next week on a resolution killing the Obama administration’s new rule re-defining what ditches, wetlands and other areas are regulated by the Clean Water Act. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) announced yesterday that she has gathered enough support for a joint resolution of disapproval to overcome a Democratic filibuster. She didn’t say how many senators supported ... Read More »

Ag groups relieved by rail deadline extension

From the Capital Press Congress has extended a deadline for railroads to implement new safety technology, which transportation experts say should avert potential disruptions to commodity markets. Under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, railroads had until the end of 2015 to implement Positive Train Control, designed to automatically prevent derailments and train collisions in the event of operator ... Read More »

Crop insurance cuts reversed

From DTN Plans to make some $3 billion in cuts to the federal crop insurance program in the next eight years were reversed after members of the House Agriculture Committee announced Wednesday an agreement had been made with House leadership to leave the program alone as part of a two-year budget deal. In a press statement issued Wednesday afternoon House ... Read More »

‘Devastating’ crop insurance cut sends lawmakers scrambling

From Agri-Pulse Members of the House Agriculture Committee were waging a last-minute, uphill fight to stop a $3 billion cut to crop insurers that’s contained in a two-year budget agreement between congressional leaders and the White House. House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said he was trying to persuade House GOP leaders to roll back the cut before the House ... Read More »

USDA issues first ARC, PLC payments

From Agri-Pulse Farm program checks totaling nearly $4 billion could start arriving as early as today in farmers’ bank accounts across the country, providing a much needed boost while many commodity prices are falling. However, many of those who signed up for the new farm bill programs will find themselves empty-handed in this first round of payments. The U.S. Department of ... Read More »