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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News as heard inside the BARN for January 16th…

Posted by Brian Allmer on January 16, 2013

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

“Renewable Fuels Wins Again”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Tuesday denied petitions to rehear the case against the Environmental Protection Agency for permitting the commercial use of E-15. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says this order leaves in place an earlier decision by the Court denying challenges to EPA’s decision to allow E-15 to enter the marketplace. Buis says it’s a major victory for the renewable fuels industry – opening the door for further investment in new fueling technology to offer E-15 to consumers. It’s a win-win for American consumers – according to Buis – providing them with both a choice and savings at the pump. He says E-15 will help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and continue to create jobs in the U.S. – while also revitalizing rural economies and improving the environment.

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“Vilsack Remains Ag Secretary, Stresses Importance for New Farm Bill”

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has confirmed he will keep his position at USDA. During his time so far as Ag Secretary – Vilsack says he could list many accomplishments he is proud of – but his greatest disappointment is that there’s no new five-year farm bill. He says it’s important to convince Congress to pass a farm bill this year – with the drought and looming sequester as important reasons for a farm bill to be passed quickly. While there is a farm bill extension to work with – Vilsack says USDA will allow farmers to opt in or opt out of the Average Crop Revenue Election program. The 2008 Farm Bill stipulated farmers who signed up for ACRE had to stay in the program for five years – but Vilsack says there will be flexibility regarding that stipulation. The extension also allows another round of 4.9-billion dollars in direct payments to crop farmers. Vilsack says USDA will make those payments next fall – but he is uncertain the program will still be in place at that time. Ultimately – Vilsack says the ag industry needs a five-year farm bill and needs it now.

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“FDA Releases Rules for Food Safety Modernization Act”

The Food and Drug Administration released two proposed rules to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act – designed to help prevent foodborne illnesses. One proposed rule is on Preventive Controls for Human Food and sets safety requirements for facilities that process, package or store food for people. These facilities would have to implement preventive controls with a written plan that evaluates hazards likely to occur in food, specifies steps to minimize or prevent those hazards, specifies how controls will be monitored, maintains routine monitoring records and specifies actions that will be taken to correct problems. The other proposed rule is on Standards for Produce Safety and implements the food safety law requirements that science-based standards be set for the production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. The rule would cover all fruits and vegetables – except ones rarely consumed raw, produced for personal consumption or destined for commercial processing. The standards include requirements for these areas of agriculture: irrigation and other agricultural water, farm worker hygiene, manure and other soil additions, intrusion of animals in growing fields and sanitation conditions affecting buildings, equipment and tools. These rules are open for public comment for 120 days.

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“Rural School Funding Specifics Announced Through U.S. Forest Service”

Secretary Vilsack announced Tuesday more than 323-million dollars will be paid to 41 states and Puerto Rico in two distributions to support local schools and roads as part of the Congressional one-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. The actual payment amount for each state is determined by various factors – including how many counties decide to share that payment.

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“Smithsonian, AFBF Partner in American Enterprise Exhibition”

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History is partnering with the American Farm Bureau Federation to build a collection reflecting modern agricultural practices – including stories, photographers and ephemera from farmers and ranchers to record and preserve the innovations and experiences of farming and ranching. Museum Curator Peter Liebhold says American agriculture has gone through a tremendous transformation in the last seven decades – deeply affecting every American and the American experience in general. The museum will unveil a web portal on March 19th – National Ag Day – where the public can upload stories about technologies and innovation that have changed their work lives. Museum Director John Gray says the story of agriculture is important and complex – and though less than two-percent of Americans farm today – productivity has skyrocketed since Jefferson’s time and agriculture has evolved into a technology-driven profession with the cab of a tractor akin to a traditional CEO’s office. American Enterprise is scheduled to open in the Mars Hall of American Business in 2015.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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