March 09, 2007

Farm and Biofuel Reports

Washington, D.C! - I've been here in our nation's capital meeting with the farmers and non-profit staffers associated with the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture since Tuesday, listening to what they have to say and shadowing them for some Hill visits. I can say that I'm definitely enjoying my internment internship ;D

Random things I've heard & seen: Agriculture is the biggest U.S. industry. The chicken processing companies own nearly every chicken in the U.S. from hatching to market and the only time the farmer who raises them 'owns' them is if they die before slaughter. Kansas has the most women farmers. The important thing with lobbying visits to the Hill: bring a constituent. Or several. Sen. Cornyn's (R-TX) office provides Skittles to visitors, while Rep. Neugebauer's (R-TX) office has cinammon-flavored hard candy and they offer visitors coffee. Sen. Hagel (R-NE) has an interesting collection of framed art and photos on the wall. The Russell Senate Office building has good chicken curry on the days when they serve hot food and they only take cash. At the bar we were decompressing in the other day, there was a guy who looked like he was fixing to be the next Lee Harvey Oswald/Dick Cheney who entertained a deep emotional involvement with the arcade version of a game called Big Buck Hunter for well over two hours.

So this ag news roundup is coming to you from Way Inside the Beltway. Enjoy, and as Atrios would say, try not to shoot anybody in the face ...

United States

AgWeb with this week in agriculture.

Rep. Pelosi and U.S. Trade Ambassador Susan Schwab speak at the Farmers Union Convention.

The U.S. orange crop will be down 18% from last year following bad weather in Florida and California.

Farm states are hoping for a disaster aid package that's now been attached to the Iraq spending bill.

Noisy equipment puts farm families at a greater risk of hearing loss.

Tom Philpott at Grist talks about why we need more young farmers to revitalize local food systems and combat the disaster of our cheap food policy.

U.S. pork producers testify to Congress in opposition to corn ethanol supports.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture says that corn prices are pushing an increase in meat prices and announces $1.6 billion for renewable energy, with a focus on cellulosic fuel.


Bird flu hits a duck farm in S. Korea, strikes a fifth location in Vietnam, and several new cases have shown up in Afghanistan where several provinces have reported infected poultry.

In other news from Afghanistan, they will have a record 2007 opium crop.

Bush and Lula express support for biofuels like, as should not be surprising, Brazilian ethanol.

A canadian firm plans a a new cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant.

Did you know that Iran has an Agriculture Jihad Minister? Well, they do, and he says that Iran's agricultural sector is doing very well.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) calls for more intensive farming and less meat production, and expresses deep alarm over depletion of world fish stocks.

Natasha is currently an intern with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, an organization dedicated to outreach and education in sustainable agriculture and food systems issues. The opinions expressed in this post are her own and are not representations on behalf of MFAI. For regular legislative alerts about food sustainability issues, sign up with the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture.

Posted by natasha at March 9, 2007 03:12 PM | Agriculture | Technorati links |