Plains Ag Notebook: U.S. Cattlemen urge Congress not to intervene in COOL; Common Sense Nebraska challenges EPA water rule

U.S. Cattlemen Urge Congress Not to Intervene in COOL

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, a supporter of U.S. country of origin labeling, recently urged federal policy makers to reject requests for Congress to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to suspend indefinitely the U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL).

USCA expressed disappointment that a number of U.S. trade associations and other groups — led by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Pork Producers Council and the North American Meat Association — are asking Congress to intervene.

NCBA and the other groups sent a joint letter dated June 26 to House and Senate agriculture leadership asking Congress to intervene in COOL before a decision by the World Trade Organization on compliance matters is released publicly, which is expected in September.

“These groups are warning Congress about impending trade retaliation even before we have a decision from the WTO dispute panel about whether the Department of Agriculture’s revised rules bring the program into compliance with trade obligations,” said USCA President Jon Wooster. “U.S. consumers have consistently expressed their desire to know the origin of the food they eat and providing enhanced consumer information is what COOL is about. It is unfathomable why any U.S. group, particularly a cattle or livestock trade association, would want to breach the consumer trust and confidence COOL has established.”

— U.S. Cattlemen’s Association

‘Common Sense Nebraska’ Challenges EPA Water Rule

Nebraska agriculture organizations have joined forces under the umbrella of ‘Common Sense Nebraska’, a new coalition formed to push back on EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rule.

The EPA proposal would vastly expand the federal agency’s authorities over farms and ranches.

The coalition is working to bring attention and awareness about the proposal through its “#DitchTheRule” campaign.

‘Common Sense Nebraska’ members include Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Poultry Industries, Nebraska Soybean Association and the Nebraska State Dairy Association.

EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rule would seek to bring water features like ponds, ditches and other areas where water flows or pools during or after rainfall events, under federal Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction, even if such areas aren’t wet most of the time. EPA’s action to regulate these features would subject farmers and ranchers to EPA’s CWA programs, regulations and permitting requirements.

— Common Sense Nebraska

US farmers plant record soybean crop, less corn

The nation’s farmers planted the largest soybean crop on record this year by devoting millions of acres of land to the crop that had been used for growing corn, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday.

Farmers planted 84.8 million acres of soybeans, which was nearly 11 percent more than last year’s 76.5 million acres. Among the states that planted record amounts of the crop were Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Corn was planted on 91.6 million acres, which was nearly 4 percent less than last year’s 95.4 million acres.

“The increase of soybeans has been dramatic the last couple of years here and I think the increased protein demand worldwide has a lot to do with that,” said Grant Kimberley, a corn and soybean farmer near Maxwell in central Iowa and director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association.

About a third of the U.S. soybean crop is exported to China, where there’s a large demand for soybeans to feed hogs, poultry, and dairy cows.

The change in planting was also due to a drop in corn prices and rise in soybean prices.

— The Associated Press

Nebraska Farm Bureau Backs Sasse in General Election

Ben Sasse has again received the “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement of NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. NFBF-PAC previously endorsed Sasse in the U.S. Senate Republican primary. He will continue to be a “Friend of Agriculture” candidate as he seeks election to the U.S. Senate in the Nov. general election.

Sasse won May’s Republican primary in convincing fashion and continues to run a strong grassroots campaign across Nebraska.

“Ben Sasse has only strengthened his connections and grassroots network of support among Nebraska farm and ranch families. More importantly, he continues to demonstrate a firm grasp of key issues affecting farmers and ranchers,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.

— Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation

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The Fence Post Updated Jul 14, 2014 10:25AM Published Jul 3, 2014 11:16AM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.