Conservation Reserve Program
(October 14, 2011) - In early October, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, author of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in 1985 and Chair of the “Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee in 1996” when Freedom to Farm was adopted, announced the introduction of a farm bill proposal that would save “$40 billion in USDA Cuts to Help Meet Federal Deficit Reduction Goals.” The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Marlin Stutzman, also of Indiana.
According to a Lugar Press release: “The Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger Act (REFRESH) would reform farm programs, cutting $16 billion, a 24.5 percent reduction. Conservation programs would be updated and streamlined for a savings of $11.3 billion, a 17.6 percent reduction. Nutrition program eligibility loopholes would be closed saving $13.9 billion, only a 2 percent reduction. Roughly two-thirds of the savings would come from farm and conservation programs, and a third from nutrition programs, which represent three-fourths of the USDA budget.”
(November 20, 2009) - The Sunday flier for one of the national grocery chains with stores in our community offered boneless pork loins for $1.59 per pound. That same circular had 14-18 pound New York strip loins for sale for $3.99 per pound, only 40 cents lower than a boneless chuck roast.
Over the last eight years, the lowest sale price for boneless pork loins has been $1.99 a pound, and the regular price has been a fairly steady $3.99 per pound. Likewise, the lowest price we have seen for New York strip loins has been an infrequent $5.99 per pound, with the usual price running between $8.99 and $9.99, when they are in the meat counter. Most often all that is available are the packaged steaks at a higher price.
While the temporary low prices are a boon to the consumer, they indicate serious problems in the livestock sector.
In the 1998-2001 period, the crop sector experienced a long period of prices that were well below the cost of production. During that same period, animal agriculture was able to expand based in part on low feed costs.
St. Paul (January 23, 2009) - Benton County Farmers Union President Jon Hansmeier testified before the House Agriculture Finance Committee at the State Capitol in St. Paul in favor of repealing changes made last year to the Green Acres property tax program.
Hansmeier, who farms south of Foley, was joined by his son Josh; Foley-area farmer John Kaproth; and Thom Petersen, Director of Government Relations for the Minnesota Farmers Union.
During his testimony, Hansmeier stated that he had concerns that the changes made last year will have negative impacts on farmers who own what is being called "non-productive" land. He also expressed concern over how transfers are handled; and how the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land is treated.
"Minnesota Farmers Union supports fully repealing the changes made by the legislature in 2008, and forming a task force to address concerns for the future," said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. "The testimony by Hansmeier, and Kaproth puts a face on the Green Acres Program, and their testimony was invaluable."