2012 US Drought Assistance

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After meeting and updating President Obama,  USDA Secretary Vilsack speaks to press to discuss the Administration’s efforts to respond to the current drought in the US.

July 18, 2012

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

July 18, 2012

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

SECRETARY VILSACK: Jay, thanks very much.

I did have an opportunity to visit with the President. He is very well informed on the circumstances surrounding a very serious drought — the most serious situation we’ve had probably in 25 years — across the country. Sixty-one percent of the land mass of the United States is currently being characterized as being impacted by this drought.

And our hearts go out to the producers, the farm families who are struggling through something that they obviously have no control over and trying to deal with a very difficult circumstance.

There’s no question that this drought is having an impact on our crops: 78 percent of the corn crop is now in an area designated as drought impacted; 77 percent of the soybeans that are being grown in this country also impacted. It also obviously involves other commodities as well — 38 percent of our corn crop as of today is rated poor to very poor; 30 percent of our soybeans poor to very poor.

And this obviously will have an impact on the yields. Right now we have indicated yields will be down about 20 bushels to the acre for corn and about 3 bushels to the acre for beans. That may be adjusted upward or downward as weather conditions dictate.

This will result in significant increases in prices. For corn, we’ve seen a 38 percent increase since June 1st, and the price of a bushel of corn is now at $7.88. A bushel of beans have risen 24 percent.

This administration has taken quick action to try to provide help and assistance. At the instructions of the President, the first thing we did was to streamline the disaster declaration system and process, reducing the amount of time it takes to have a county designated. That means that producers in those counties and adjoining counties are able to access low-interest loans.

The President instructed us to reduce the interest rate on those loans from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent. He also instructed us to open up new opportunities for haying and grazing — our livestock producers are in deep trouble because of the drought. They don’t have anyplace for their cattle. They are looking at very high feed costs. So we are opening up areas under the Conservation Reserve Program for emergency haying and grazing.

Normally when that happens, producers have to return a portion of the CRP payment that they receive. We’ve reduced the portion that they have to return from 25 percent to 10 percent.

Our tools are somewhat limited and so we’re going to need to work with Congress to provide opportunities either through the passage of the Food, Farm and Jobs bill or through additional disaster programs, or perhaps additional flexibility in the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide help and assistance to our farmers.

The question that a lot of folks are asking is what will the impact be on food prices. Because livestock producers will begin the process of potentially reducing their herds in light of higher feed costs, we would anticipate in the short term actually food prices for beef, poultry, pork may go down a bit, but over time they will rise. We will probably see those higher prices later this year, first part of next year. Processed foods obviously impacted by crop yields, and we will likely see the increase of that also in 2013.

It’s important to note that farmers only receive 14 cents of every food dollar that goes through the grocery store, so even though prices on commodities increase significantly, it doesn’t necessarily translate into large increases for food prices. And if, in fact, people are beginning to see food price increases now, it is not in any way, shape, or form, related to the drought. And we should be very careful to keep an eye on that to make sure that people do not take advantage of a very difficult and painful situation.

There is some degree of uncertainty about all of this. Technology has allowed us to have more drought-resistant crops. The spotty nature of drought, the spotty nature of rains can sometimes result in better yields than anticipated. We’re just going to have to see. As of today, 1,297 counties have been designated as Secretarial Disaster Areas. That’s approximately a third of the counties in the United States. We’re adding 39 counties today in eight states — those states are New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Indiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.

We have staff that is now traveling to 12 states significantly impacted by the drought in order to get a firsthand look at conditions, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to help folks. But we’re obviously going to need some help, working with Congress, to create greater flexibility in programs, to revive the disaster programs that were allowed to expire last year, or to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs bill.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/18/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-and-secretary-agriculture-tom-

Contact your legislator Contact your Congress person to TELL THEM TO START WORKING WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA TO HELP AMERICA’S RECOVERY!!

U.S. Senators

U.S. Representatives

Tweet a Message to Your Representatives

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USDA – Drought

Water Availability

Drought and Weather

Drought Prediction and Monitoring Tools

Drought Reports, Papers, Articles and Services

Hurricanes and Extreme Storm Events

State and Regional Information on Drought

Water Conservation

Crop Assistance for Farmers

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

Provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occurs due to natural disasters.

Fact Sheet: NAP Program

Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program

Provides financial assistance for crop production and or quality losses due to a natural disaster.

Fact Sheet: SURE Program

Crop Insurance

Crop insurance is a risk management tool available to agricultural producers providing protection against low yields and/or lost revenue due to natural disasters including drought, excessive moisture, disease and other perils.

Q&A: Crop insurance and drought damaged crops

Fact Sheet: Prevented planting provisions drought

Fact Sheet: Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Pilot Insurance Program

Fact Sheet: Vegetation Index Basic Provisions

Assistance for Livestock Losses

Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)

Provides financial assistance to producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire.

Fact Sheet: LFP

Map of Counties Eligible for LFP

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Emergency Haying and Grazing

Haying and grazing of CRP acreage is authorized under certain conditions to improve the quality and performance of the CRP cover or to provide emergency relief to livestock producers due to certain natural disasters.

Fact Sheet: CRP

Need Help to Get Your Farm up and Running after a Disaster?

Emergency Farm Loans

Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000.

Fact Sheet: Emergency Farm Loan Program

Disaster Designations – What and Where are they?

Emergency Disaster Designation and Declaration Process

DisasterAssistance.gov

Other Resources:

U.S. Drought Monitor

Hay Net

Internet-based service allowing farmers and ranchers to share ‘Need Hay’ ads and ‘Have Hay’ ads online.

Farm Service Agency disaster programs

Risk Management Agency programs

State Farm Service Agency offices

Tree Assistance Program (TAP)

Provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists to replace eligible trees, bushes, and vines damaged by natural disasters.

Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities

The goal of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities grant program is to advance basic research in engineering and in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences to enhance disaster resilience in rural communities.

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The Kochs’ quest

10/13/2012 09:11:44 PM PDT By Bill Wilson and Roy Wenzl – The Wichita Eagle
WICHITA, Kan. — In January 2009, just days after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Charles and David Koch met in their company headquarters in Wichita with their longtime political strategist, Rich Fink.

The country was headed toward bankruptcy, they agreed. Fink told them bluntly that Obama’s administration represented the worst of what Charles and David fear most: a bloated, regulation-heavy, free-spending government that could plunge the country into another deep recession. That day, Fink advised two of the richest men in the nation that it would be the fight of their lives to stop the government spending spree and to change the course of the country, starting with the 2012 election.

“If we are going to do this, we should do it right or not at all,” Fink, 61, recalled telling the brothers. “But if we don’t do it right or if we don’t do it at all, we will be insignificant and we will just waste a lot of time and I would rather play golf.

“And if we do it right, then it is going to get very, very ugly.”

Three and a half years later, Obama accused the Koch brothers of engineering “a corporate takeover of our democracy.”

The brothers’ political spending and the network of conservative political organizations and think tanks they fund have sparked protests. The condemnations and criticism prompted Charles Koch to break his silence about politics. In his most extensive interview in 15 years, Charles Koch talked about why he wants to defeat Obama and elect members of Congress who will stop what he calls catastrophic overspending.

Government recklessness threatens the country and his business, he said.

The Kochs say the price for their involvement has been high: Death threats, cyberattacks on their business, hundreds of news stories criticizing them, calls for boycotts of the company’s consumer goods, and what the brothers see as ongoing and public attacks from the Obama administration.

The Kochs aren’t finished. Win or lose in November, they plan to start a new fight. They are organizing dozens of business and grass roots groups to build support for eliminating all corporate and agricultural subsidies.

For more; http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_21769107/kochs-quest?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

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Ending agricultural subsidies would mean that American businesses would have to raise their prices and USA farmers would not be able to compete with cheap and inferior and unsafe imports.

* American diary farms would be impacted
* American vegetable and fruit farms would would be impacted
* American grain farms for human would be impacted
* American pork, beef and chicken farms would be impacted
* American nut farms would be impacted
* American fiber producers (cotton, wool, wood etc) would be impacted
* American gasoline would be impacted

There are many more that industries that would impacted.

34 Responses to 2012 US Drought Assistance

  1. CR says:

    2012 US Drought

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    • CR says:

      USDA Press Conference with Secretary Tom Vilsack on Improvements to Disaster Assistance

      Wednesday, July 11, 2012 usda.gov

      MODERATOR: Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us for today’s press call. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is here in the studio with me, and he is going to be announcing disaster assistance improvements and support for farmers affected by extreme weather. To get in on this conversation, reporters, please press Star/1 on your touchtone pad.

      Let’s just jump into it. Mr. Secretary, good afternoon.

      SECRETARY VILSACK: Thank you, and thanks to all who are on the call. I am joined today by Juan Garcia, FSA, and Brandon Willis, who is from my office, and if there are very detailed questions, I may ask either one of those gentlemen to help me.

      We just had a crop report today, which indicated a significant reduction in corn production as well as bean production, lower forecast for wheat, soybean, soybean oil, soybean meal, and corn, lower forecast for milk, beef, pork, broilers, and turkey. And it’s obvious that weather is having an impact on the estimates of crops. Despite the fact that we have more acreage planted this year, we still are looking at significant reductions, and despite the fact that we may even with the corn estimates, as they have been reduced, would still have the third largest crop of corn in our history, nearly 13 billion bushels, and a very large soybean crop. We need to be cognizant of the fact that drought and weather conditions have really impacted and affected producers around the country.

      In order for us to respond, we need tools, and frankly, we have a limited set of tools, in light of the fact that disaster programs under the 2008 Farm Bill expired on September 30th of last year, and even if the current Farm Bill were to be extended, they would not revive those extinguished programs. So our team at USDA looked at things that we could do, that we should do in order to assist and help farm families throughout the country deal with difficult weather conditions.

      First of all, I think people need to have, and wanted to have, a much faster process for designating Secretarial disaster areas, so that the relief that’s afforded with a Secretarial disaster designation could be forthcoming more quickly. From time to time, relying upon governors and others in States to get to us timely information and timely requests has resulted, unfortunately, in some counties not being able to be qualified, because the requests were not timely made. We want to avoid that situation.

      So, today, we are announcing a Final Rule, which will streamline the disaster designation process. There are essentially a couple of important steps. First of all, we are providing for an automatic qualification for any county that has been in a Drought Monitor D2 condition for 8 consecutive weeks or a D3 condition anytime during the growing season to be automatically qualified under a Secretarial designation. With that change, effective tomorrow, 1,016 primary counties throughout the United States will be designated under the Secretarial designation for 2012. This is the largest single Secretarial designation in the history of our program.

      We are also providing for areas that have not yet met those thresholds a streamlined process in which requests can be started and reviewed by the County Emergency Board and the State Emergency Board and authorized and recommended by the State Executive Director and come to my office, and we will promptly respond to those requests. The qualifications of the losses that are required, the 30-percent loss threshold still has to be met in those circumstances where the County Emergency Board and the State Emergency Board and the State Executive Director for FSA basically make the request.

      So, effective Thursday, we are going to have over 1,016 primary counties involved. There will be a map on our website that shows those counties that will be fast-tracked because of drought. That is not to say that there won’t be other counties in other States that aren’t so designated at this point, but now they’ll have two opportunities to qualify either under the automatic qualification with drought conditions or under this streamlined process that no longer requires a gubernatorial request.

      For more: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/07/0231.xml&navid=TRANSCRIPT&navtype=RT&parentnav=TRANSCRIPTS_SPEECHES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent

    • CR says:

      USDA Designates an Additional 39 Counties in 8 States as Primary Natural Disaster Areas Due to Worsening Drought
      Producers in 1,297 Counties in 29 States Eligible for Disaster Assistance

      July 18, 2012 usda.gov

      WASHINGTON, —Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today designated 39 additional counties in eight states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat. During the 2012 crop year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 1,297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. The additional counties designated today are in the states of Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. The U.S. Drought Monitor currently reports that 61 percent of the continental United States is in a moderate to exceptional drought.

      “Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this drought,” said Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. That’s why USDA officials are fanning out to affected areas, to let our farmers and ranchers know that we stand with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood. And that is also why it is important that Congress pass a food, farm and jobs bill that ensures a robust safety net for producers in times of need.”

      Earlier in the week, USDA also designated the entire state of Missouri a disaster area due to drought in response to a request from the state’s governor.

      For more: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/07/0243.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent

    • CR says:

      After meeting and updating President Obama, USDA Secretary Vilsack speaks to press to discuss the Administration’s efforts to respond to the current drought in the US.

      July 18, 2012

      Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
      James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

      July 18, 2012

      Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
      James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

      SECRETARY VILSACK: Jay, thanks very much.

      I did have an opportunity to visit with the President. He is very well informed on the circumstances surrounding a very serious drought — the most serious situation we’ve had probably in 25 years — across the country. Sixty-one percent of the land mass of the United States is currently being characterized as being impacted by this drought.

      And our hearts go out to the producers, the farm families who are struggling through something that they obviously have no control over and trying to deal with a very difficult circumstance.

      There’s no question that this drought is having an impact on our crops: 78 percent of the corn crop is now in an area designated as drought impacted; 77 percent of the soybeans that are being grown in this country also impacted. It also obviously involves other commodities as well — 38 percent of our corn crop as of today is rated poor to very poor; 30 percent of our soybeans poor to very poor.

      And this obviously will have an impact on the yields. Right now we have indicated yields will be down about 20 bushels to the acre for corn and about 3 bushels to the acre for beans. That may be adjusted upward or downward as weather conditions dictate.

      This will result in significant increases in prices. For corn, we’ve seen a 38 percent increase since June 1st, and the price of a bushel of corn is now at $7.88. A bushel of beans have risen 24 percent.

      This administration has taken quick action to try to provide help and assistance. At the instructions of the President, the first thing we did was to streamline the disaster declaration system and process, reducing the amount of time it takes to have a county designated. That means that producers in those counties and adjoining counties are able to access low-interest loans.

      The President instructed us to reduce the interest rate on those loans from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent. He also instructed us to open up new opportunities for haying and grazing — our livestock producers are in deep trouble because of the drought. They don’t have anyplace for their cattle. They are looking at very high feed costs. So we are opening up areas under the Conservation Reserve Program for emergency haying and grazing.

      Normally when that happens, producers have to return a portion of the CRP payment that they receive. We’ve reduced the portion that they have to return from 25 percent to 10 percent.

      Our tools are somewhat limited and so we’re going to need to work with Congress to provide opportunities either through the passage of the Food, Farm and Jobs bill or through additional disaster programs, or perhaps additional flexibility in the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide help and assistance to our farmers.

      The question that a lot of folks are asking is what will the impact be on food prices. Because livestock producers will begin the process of potentially reducing their herds in light of higher feed costs, we would anticipate in the short term actually food prices for beef, poultry, pork may go down a bit, but over time they will rise. We will probably see those higher prices later this year, first part of next year. Processed foods obviously impacted by crop yields, and we will likely see the increase of that also in 2013.

      It’s important to note that farmers only receive 14 cents of every food dollar that goes through the grocery store, so even though prices on commodities increase significantly, it doesn’t necessarily translate into large increases for food prices. And if, in fact, people are beginning to see food price increases now, it is not in any way, shape, or form, related to the drought. And we should be very careful to keep an eye on that to make sure that people do not take advantage of a very difficult and painful situation.

      There is some degree of uncertainty about all of this. Technology has allowed us to have more drought-resistant crops. The spotty nature of drought, the spotty nature of rains can sometimes result in better yields than anticipated. We’re just going to have to see. As of today, 1,297 counties have been designated as Secretarial Disaster Areas. That’s approximately a third of the counties in the United States. We’re adding 39 counties today in eight states — those states are New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Indiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.

      We have staff that is now traveling to 12 states significantly impacted by the drought in order to get a firsthand look at conditions, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to help folks. But we’re obviously going to need some help, working with Congress, to create greater flexibility in programs, to revive the disaster programs that were allowed to expire last year, or to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs bill.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/18/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-and-secretary-agriculture-tom-

    • CR says:

      USDA – Drought

      Water Availability
      Drought and Weather
      Drought Prediction and Monitoring Tools
      Drought Reports, Papers, Articles and Services
      Hurricanes and Extreme Storm Events
      State and Regional Information on Drought
      Water Conservation

      Crop Assistance for Farmers
      Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
      Provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occurs due to natural disasters.

      Fact Sheet: NAP Program

      Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program
      Provides financial assistance for crop production and or quality losses due to a natural disaster.

      Fact Sheet: SURE Program

      Crop Insurance
      Crop insurance is a risk management tool available to agricultural producers providing protection against low yields and/or lost revenue due to natural disasters including drought, excessive moisture, disease and other perils.

      Q&A: Crop insurance and drought damaged crops

      Fact Sheet: Prevented planting provisions drought

      Fact Sheet: Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Pilot Insurance Program

      Fact Sheet: Vegetation Index Basic Provisions

      Assistance for Livestock Losses
      Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)
      Provides financial assistance to producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire.

      Fact Sheet: LFP

      Map of Counties Eligible for LFP

      Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Emergency Haying and Grazing
      Haying and grazing of CRP acreage is authorized under certain conditions to improve the quality and performance of the CRP cover or to provide emergency relief to livestock producers due to certain natural disasters.

      Fact Sheet: CRP

      Need Help to Get Your Farm up and Running after a Disaster?

      Emergency Farm Loans
      Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000.

      Fact Sheet: Emergency Farm Loan Program

      Disaster Designations – What and Where are they?
      Emergency Disaster Designation and Declaration Process

      DisasterAssistance.gov

      Other Resources:

      U.S. Drought Monitor

      Hay Net
      Internet-based service allowing farmers and ranchers to share ‘Need Hay’ ads and ‘Have Hay’ ads online.

      Farm Service Agency disaster programs

      Risk Management Agency programs

      State Farm Service Agency offices

      Tree Assistance Program (TAP)
      Provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists to replace eligible trees, bushes, and vines damaged by natural disasters.

      Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities
      The goal of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities grant program is to advance basic research in engineering and in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences to enhance disaster resilience in rural communities.

    • CR says:

      US Drought Linked to Climate Change

      Published on Jul 27, 2012 by VOAvideo

      A severe drought – one of the worst ever – continues to grip major portions of the United States, with the American South hardest hit. And for the first time, climate scientists say they have evidence that this record-setting dry spell and other extreme weather events can be linked to the world’s warming climate. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.

    • CR says:

      Today: President Obama To Discuss Drought Response With White House Rural Council

      AUGUST 07, 2012 obamafoodorama.blogspot

      With drought conditions of varying intensity now covering nearly two-thirds of the continental US, President Obama will meet with members of the White House Rural Council on Tuesday afternoon “to discuss ongoing efforts in response to the drought,” the White House said on Monday evening. The meeting will be at 4:15 PM in the Roosevelt Room. The Rural Council is chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; the President last met with the Secretary for a drought briefing on July 18th.

      In the interim, the Administration has put into place a series of actions to respond to the drought (see below). Members of the Rural Council are staff who work on the White House Domestic Policy Council, including Rural Affairs Senior Policy Advisor Doug McKalip, as well as representatives from agencies across the federal government. But a complete, up-to-date list of all members has not been released for 2012.

      For more: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/08/today-president-obama-to-discuss.html

      • CR says:

        An Administration-Wide Response to the Drought

        Matt Comptonv August 07, 2012 5:19 PM EDT

        Throughout much of the country, communities are struggling with one of the worst droughts to strike the U.S. in decades. The lack of rain and high temperatures have done considerable damage to crops — particularly those in the Midwest.

        Today, President Obama met with the White House Rural Council to discuss the steps being taken to help farmers, ranchers, and small businesses wrestling with this crisis.

        As part of that response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it will provide millions of dollars in assistance to restore livestock lands affected by the drought. The USDA will spend $16 million on technical and financial assistance for those whose crops or herds have suffered.

        The USDA has also reduced interest rates on its emergency loan program and worked with the major crop insurers to allow farmers to forego interest payments on unpaid premiums until November. The National Credit Union Administration also announced that more than 1,000 credit unions are increasing their lending to small businesses — including farmers.

        The Department of the Interior announced a plan to provide more relief and flexibility to ranchers whose livestock grazes on public lands, while the Department of the Transportation is working with state governments to provide emergency waivers of federal truck weight regulations and hours of service requirements to drought-stricken communities.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/08/07/administration-wide-response-drought

      • CR says:

        August 07, 2012

        Fact Sheet: President Obama Leading Administration-wide Drought Response

        As communities across the country struggle with the impacts of one of the worst droughts in decades, President Obama is committed to ensuring that his Administration is doing everything it can help the farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and communities being impacted.

        To respond to immediate needs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies are using their existing authorities wherever possible to address the hardships arising from the lack of water, feed, and forage. Within the last month, USDA has opened the Conservation Reserve Program to emergency haying and grazing, has lowered the borrower interest rate for emergency loans, and has called on crop insurance companies to provide more flexibility to farmers. The Department of the Interior has provided additional grazing flexibility on federal lands and the Small Business Administration is working to help with access to investment capital and credit in affected communities.

        On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, President Obama convened his White House Rural Council for one of a continuing series of policy meetings to review Executive Branch response actions and to develop additional policy initiatives to assist drought-stricken Americans. Following the meeting, the White House announced several new measures the Administration is implementing to help those impacted by the drought, including providing additional assistance for livestock and crop producers, increasing the capacity for lending to small businesses, and waiving certain requirements on trucks helping to provide relief. President Obama also stressed the need for the entire Administration to continue to look at further steps it can take to ease the pain of this historic drought.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/07/fact-sheet-president-obama-leading-administration-wide-drought-response

      • CR says:

        August 07, 2012

        Remarks by the President at Rural Council Meeting

        Roosevelt Room

        Please see below for a correction to a typo, marked with an asterisk, in the transcript.

        4:21 P.M. EDT

        THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I think all of you are aware that we are seeing devastating drought throughout the country. It is a historic drought, and it’s having a profound impact on farmers and ranchers all across many states.

        Now, at my direction, the Department of Agriculture, led by Secretary Vilsack, has been working with every other agency across the federal government to make sure that we are taking every single possible step to help farmers and ranchers to fight back and recover from this disaster.

        We’ve already designated over 1,500 counties across 32 states as disaster areas, which gives qualified farmers access to low-interest emergency loans. We’ve also opened up more land for haying and grazing. And we’ve worked with crop insurance companies to give farmers a short grace period on unpaid insurance premiums, since some families will be struggling to make ends meet at the end of this crop year.

        This has been an all-hands-on-deck response. I want to thank Tom for his leadership. But obviously, we’ve got a lot more to do, because a lot of folks are being affected by this.

        So today, the Department of Agriculture is announcing an additional $30 million to get more water to livestock and restore land impacted by drought. The National Credit Union Administration is allowing an additional thousand credit unions to increase lending to small businesses. The Department of Transportation is ready to help more commercial truck drivers to provide much-needed supplies to farmers and ranchers. And the SBA, the Small Business Administration, is working with other government agencies to connect even more eligible farmers, ranchers and businesses with low-interest emergency loans as well as counseling and workforce programs.

        Now, those are the ideas that have already been presented and are in the process of being implemented, but my instructions to all the agencies is we need to keep working and to see if there is more that we can do. And we’re going to continue to solicit ideas from state and local organizations, state-based [faith-based]* organizations, not-for-profit groups, the private sector, and most of all, the farmers and ranchers that are directly impacted, to find additional ways that we can help — because when there’s a disaster like this, everybody needs to pull together.

        Obviously, Congress has a role. Congress needs to pass a farm bill that will not only provide important disaster relief tools, but also make necessary reforms and give farmers the certainty that they deserve. That’s the single-best way that we can help rural communities both in the short term, but also in the long term. And we’ve already seen some good bipartisan work done in the Senate.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/07/remarks-president-rural-council-meeting

    • CR says:

      Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Obama Administration Deliver New Drought Assistance to America’s Producers

      Vilsack Designates Additional 44 Counties in 12 States as Primary Natural Disaster Areas Due to Drought

      Aug. 8, 2012 usda

      WASHINGTON, —As part of continuing steps by the Obama Administration to assist livestock producers in response to the historic drought, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted that USDA will utilize nearly $16 million in financial and technical assistance to immediately help crop and livestock producers in 19 states cope with the adverse impacts of the historic drought. In addition, USDA will initiate a transfer of $14 million in unobligated program funds into the Emergency Conservation Program. These funds can be used to assist in moving water to livestock in need and rehabilitating lands severely impacted by the drought. Together these efforts should provide nearly $30 million to producers struggling with drought conditions.

      “President Obama and I continue to work across the federal government to provide relief for those farmers and ranchers who are affected by the severe drought conditions impacting many states across our nation,” said Vilsack. “This additional assistance builds on a number of steps USDA has taken over the past few weeks to provide resources and flexibility in our existing programs to help producers endure these serious hardships. As this drought persists, the Obama Administration is committed to using existing authorities wherever possible to help the farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and communities being impacted.”

      Yesterday in Washington, President Obama convened his White House Rural Council to review Executive Branch response actions and to develop additional policy initiatives to assist drought-stricken Americans. Following the meeting, the White House announced a number of new measures the Administration is taking, including USDA’s assistance for livestock and crop producers, the National Credit Union Administration’s increased capacity for lending to customers including farmers, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s emergency waivers for federal truck weight regulations and hours of service requirements to drought-stricken communities. President Obama also stressed the need for the entire Administration to continue to look at further steps it can take to ease the pain of this historic drought.

      Within the last month, USDA has opened the Conservation Reserve Program to emergency haying and grazing, has lowered the borrower interest rate for emergency loans, and has worked with crop insurance companies to provide more flexibility to farmers. USDA has also announced the following:

      * Allowing producers to modify current EQIP contracts to allow for grazing, livestock watering, and other conservation activities to address drought conditions.

      * Authorizing haying and grazing of Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) easement areas in drought-affected areas where haying and grazing is consistent with conservation of wildlife habitat and wetlands.

      * Lowering the reduction in the annual rental payment to producers on CRP acres used for emergency haying or grazing from 25 percent to 10 percent in 2012.

      * Simplifying the Secretarial disaster designation process and reduced the time it takes to designate counties affected by disasters by 40 percent.

      For more: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/08/0265.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent

    • CR says:

      Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Meat Purchase to Assist Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought; Bolster Federal Nutrition Programs

      WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2012 – As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to do everything it can to help farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and communities being impacted by the nation’s persistent drought, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA’s intent to purchase up to $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken, and catfish for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks. The purchase will help relieve pressure on American livestock producers during the drought, while helping to bring the nation’s meat supply in line with demand while providing high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA’s nutrition programs.

      “President Obama and I will continue to take swift action to get help to America’s farmers and ranchers through this difficult time,” said Vilsack. “These purchases will assist pork, catfish, chicken and lamb producers who are currently struggling due to challenging market conditions and the high cost of feed resulting from the widespread drought. The purchases will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA’s nutrition programs.”

      Today, USDA announced its intention to purchase up to $100 million of pork products, up to $10 million of catfish products, up to $50 million in chicken products, and up to $10 million of lamb products for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks. Through the Emergency Surplus Removal Program, USDA can use Section 32 funds to purchase meat and poultry products to assist farmers and ranchers who have been affected by natural disasters. The pork, lamb and catfish purchases are based on analyses of current market conditions. A major factor affecting livestock producers is the value of feed, which is currently running high because of the drought.

      USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year to support the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters. Government food experts work to ensure that all purchased food is healthful and nutritious. Food items are required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must meet specified requirements and be certified to ensure quality. AMS purchases only products of 100 percent domestic origin.

      For more; http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/08/0271.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent

      • CR says:

        Sweet times for cows as gummy worms replace costly corn feed

        9/23/12 By Carey Gillam | Reuters – 12 hrs ago

        KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) – Mike Yoder’s herd of dairy cattle are living the sweet life. With corn feed scarcer and costlier than ever, Yoder increasingly is looking for cheaper alternatives — and this summer he found a good deal on ice cream sprinkles.

        “It’s a pretty colorful load,” said Yoder, who operates about 450 dairy cows on his farm in northern Indiana. “Anything that keeps the feed costs down.”

        As the worst drought in half a century has ravaged this year’s U.S. corn crop and driven corn prices sky high, the market for alternative feed rations for beef and dairy cows has also skyrocketed. Brokers are gathering up discarded food products and putting them out for the highest bid to feed lot operators and dairy producers, who are scrambling to keep their animals fed.

        In the mix are cookies, gummy worms, marshmallows, fruit loops, orange peels, even dried cranberries. Cattlemen are feeding virtually anything they can get their hands on that will replace the starchy sugar content traditionally delivered to the animals through corn.

        “Everybody is looking for alternatives,” said Ki Fanning, a nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting in Eagle, Nebraska. “It’s kind of funny the first time you see it but it works well. The big advantage to that is you can turn something you normally throw away into something that can be consumed. The amazing thing about a ruminant, a cow, you can take those type of ingredients and turn them into food.”

        For more: http://news.yahoo.com/sweet-times-cows-gummy-worms-replace-costly-corn-121437982.html

    • CR says:

      Enduring Drought, Farmers Draw the Line at Congress

      Published: August 12, 2012 By JENNIFER STEINHAUER – nytimes

      THURMAN, Iowa — John Askew pulled at a soybean pod and revealed two anemic beans dappled with stem rot, the harvest of a too hot sun and too little rain. Representative Tom Latham peered in and shook his head.

      “We need a farm bill — that’s the first thing,” said Mr. Askew, whose family has farmed here for six generations. Mr. Latham, a Republican, agrees.

      But House leaders, including Speaker John A. Boehner, who popped into Iowa on Friday night to promote Mr. Latham’s re-election campaign, have been unable to muster the votes.

      A summer drought that has destroyed crops, killed livestock and sent feed prices soaring is now extracting a political price from members of Congress, who failed to agree on a comprehensive agriculture bill or even limited emergency relief before leaving Washington for five weeks.

      Farmers are complaining loudly to their representatives, editorial boards across the heartland are hammering Congress over its inaction, and incumbents from both parties are sparring with their challengers over agricultural policy.

      In Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar and her Republican Party-endorsed opponent, Kurt Bills, disagreed sharply in their first face-to-face debate over what a farm bill should contain. In Missouri, Senator Claire McCaskill and her Republican challenger, Representative Todd Akin, defended their positions before the state farm bureau’s political unit.

      Representative Leonard L. Boswell, Mr. Latham’s Democratic opponent in a newly drawn district, said, “Every time I get out there, people keep asking me: ‘What happened to the farm bill? Why don’t we have a farm bill?’ ”

      In Arkansas, the Democratic Party paid for an automated call by a farmer imploring rural voters to pester Representative Rick Crawford, a Republican, about the unfinished farm business. Representative Kristi Noem, Republican of South Dakota, took heat back home for backing away from a petition sponsored by Democrats that would have forced the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill to the floor.

      “We would have much preferred they pass the House bill,” said Michael Held, the chief executive of the South Dakota Farm Bureau.

      For more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/us/politics/drought-driven-voters-vent-anger-over-farm-bill.html?pagewanted=all

      • CR says:

        Obama Casts Ryan As Face Of Do-Nothing Congress

        AUGUST 13, 2012, 11:09 AM EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO
        – tpm

        Rep. Paul Ryan’s inclusion on the ticket gives Democrats a chance to talk endlessly about Ryan’s budget plan, a prospect they relish. But President Obama is also seizing on another opening: congressional Republicans are immensely unpopular, and he is already using Ryan as an opportunity to highlight the House GOP’s refusal to pass major legislation.

        It’s a point Obama will hammer Monday during an appearance in swing-state Iowa, where he’ll lambast Ryan for “standing in the way” of a farm bill that would bring much-needed drought relief (emphasis added):

        Right now folks here in Iowa and across the heartland are suffering from one of the worst droughts in 50 years. Farmers and ranchers depend on a good crop season to pay the bills and put a roof over their heads, and I know that things are tough right now. “The best way to help these states is for leaders in Congress to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters, but also makes necessary reforms and gives them some long-term certainty. But right now, too many members of Congress are blocking that bill from becoming law. Now, I’m told Governor Romney’s new running mate might be around Iowa these next few days. And he’s one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. It’s time to put politics aside and pass it right away.

        The House GOP’s willingness to obstruct legislation favored by Democrats and even moderate Republicans is one reason why conservatives love Ryan so much. It’s also a reason that Democrats are so ready to run against him. Romney is now not only tied to Ryan’s budget, but the Congress Ryan has a role in leading.

      • CR says:

        Fiscal cliff is now the best shot for farm bill, agriculture lobbyists say

        10/27/12 04:24 PM ET By Erik Wasson – TheHill

        House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) caused a stir on Thursday when he seemed to indicate that a standalone farm bill would come to the House floor after the Nov. 6 election.

        But lobbyists said the remarks mean, at best, that a modified farm bill could be wrapped into a lame-duck bill dealing with expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts.

        “I’m committed to bring the issue to the floor and then to see a way forward so we can get the votes to pass (a bill),” Cantor said at a campaign event in Idaho.

        Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) seized on the remarks, saying, “I’m very pleased to hear that Majority Leader Cantor is now committed to bring the Farm Bill to the floor immediately after the election.”

        Republican aides, however, quickly made clear that Cantor was not expressing any new support for moving the farm bill as reported out of the House Agriculture Committee this summer.

        Washington farm lobbyists said that in the wake of Cantor’s comments, the last best hope for the 2012 farm bill to pass will be if it is riding on fiscal cliff legislation.

        For more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/264393-fiscal-cliff-is-now-best-shot-for-farm-bill-lobbyists-say

    • CR says:

      After drought blights crops, U.S. farmers face toxin threat

      8/15/12 By Michael Hirtzer and Meredith Davis | Reuters – 6 hrs ago

      CHICAGO (Reuters) – The worst U.S. drought in five decades has parched the land and decimated crops. It now threatens to deal a second blow to farmers, who may have to throw out metric tons of toxic feed.

      Growers are rushing to check the nitrate levels of that silage, the stalks and leaves that corn farmers often harvest to feed to locally raised cattle or hogs.

      Agriculture groups are warning farmers that drought-hit plants may have failed to process nitrogen fertilizer due to stunted growth, making them poisonous to livestock.

      Exceptionally early spring planting has caused a crush of early summer requests for the tests. Farmers are also expected to chop down a near-record swathe of their fields for silage to make up for this year’s poor yields.

      “We’ve had a lot of walk-in business and normally we are not a walk-in business,” said Lola Manning, a 30-year employee of Agri-King, a laboratory that tests for nitrates and other toxins. “At this point it’s the busiest I’ve seen it.”

      Manning said the facility, approved by the National Forage Testing Association, checked about 400 samples — roughly double the norm — in July.

      So far, few samples have shown elevated levels of toxins, she said. But late-season rains — far too tardy to help salvage the corn crop — could prompt mostly mature plants to draw even more nitrogen out of the soil and into the stalks.

      “The tests are coming out OK but as soon as they have rain, the situation will change,” Manning said.

      SO FAR, SO GOOD
      Two months of dry weather and high heat that stunted plants and shriveled ears likely caused the absorption of excessive amounts of nitrogen, experts say. Instead of being distributed safely through the plant, the chemical built up in the lower portions of the stalk at potentially toxic levels.

      Kenny Wagler, a dairy farmer in Nashville, Indiana who also farms 2,500 acres of corn and pasture, is testing his corn for the first time since the last major drought in 1988.

      “It’s almost never a factor,” said Wagler, who raises about 1,500 dairy cows and cattle, adding that he is testing this year on recommendation from his farm nutritionist.

      Nearly half of what he typically harvests to sell as a cash corn crop will be cut for silage this year because most of the plants had no ears of grain.

      In the worst-case scenario, silage with high levels of nitrate can be absorbed into an animal’s bloodstream, causing poisoning leading to death.

      The absorption causes hemoglobin to be converted to methemoglobin, which is incapable of transporting oxygen and so can be fatal to the animal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Symptoms of nitrate poisoning include labored breathing, rapid heartbeat, weakness, lack of coordination and blue-gray discolored skin.

      Extensive losses of livestock are an unlikely, extreme scenario, beef and dairy experts say.

      “Certainly there are instances of dead cattle from nitrate,” said Chris Hurt, agriculture economist at Purdue University. “Widespread education has helped reduce the problem.”

      But nitrate-laced silage would force those farmers to buy extra feed grains in order to sustain their animals.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/drought-blights-crops-u-farmers-face-toxin-threat-174815557.html

    • CR says:

      California drought: High-bidding farmers battle in water auctions

      7/19/14 By Lisa M. Krieger – mercurynews.com

      NEWMAN — Rumors drifted across the parched Central Valley that a bidding war for water might push auction prices as high as $3,000 an acre-foot, up from $60 in a normal year.

      Yet, Ray Flanders needed water to keep his orchards alive. So this spring he sealed his bid in an envelope, climbed into his truck and drove 70 miles to hand-deliver it to the Madera Irrigation District, which had water saved from 2013.

      And he waited, along with 71 neighboring drought-damaged farmers, to learn his fate in a year that has made water a precious crop for those whose supplies have been cut off and the lucky few who have some to spare.

      “If I didn’t buy that water, we’d have 800 acres of dead trees,” said Flanders, who manages the generations-old Nunes Farms outside Modesto.

      One of the worst droughts in state history is pushing water prices to record levels — fraying nerves, eroding bank accounts and stress-testing the state’s “water market,” an informal and largely hidden network of buyers and sellers.

      Water is essential to life. But it’s also a commodity, like oil or gold, and its prices swing in response to supply and demand, geography and decisions out of Sacramento.

      Market-driven “water trading” is helpful in a drought, say experts, because it is an agile way to move water from the haves to have-nots, and from lower-value to high-value uses. For those with water, it may be more profitable to sell it than grow crops; in fact, it may be their only way of paying their bills.

      “The market helps California’s overall water use become more economically efficient … People are looking for creative ways to meet their needs,” said Ellen Hanak, a water policy expert at the Public Policy Institute of California. It also spurs conservation, she said: As water prices rise, demand will fall.

      But the contentious water market can pit neighbor against neighbor, favoring those with the oldest rights to water, the most underground water or the deepest pockets.

      The Delta-Mendota Canal is photographed on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Newman, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)
      The Delta-Mendota Canal is photographed on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Newman, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) ( ARIC CRABB )
      The suddenly volatile water market is spurring new trends:

      Pumping groundwater for profit. Stanislaus County farmers want to pay Merced farmers Steve Sloan and Stephen Smith $1,000 per acre-foot for their well water. The $11.5 million to $14 million offer has divided the agricultural community. Some fear that selling groundwater will accelerate depletion of the wells all depend on; others say the pumping, which will be monitored, is essential to their survival.

      For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/drought/ci_26181042/high-bidding-farmers-battle-water-auctions

  2. CR says:

    know-your-farmer-know-your-food

    Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) is a USDA-wide effort to carry out President Obama’s commitment to strengthening local and regional food systems.

    We know that demand for local and regional foods is strong, as consumers across the country are looking to connect with their food and the people who grow and raise it:

    * The number of farmers markets has more than tripled in the past 15 years and there are now more than 7,175 around the country;

    * In 1986 there were two community supported agriculture operations, today there are over 4,000;

    * There are farm to school programs in 48 states, totaling more than 2,200 and up from two in 1996;

    * All 50 states in the U.S. have agricultural branding programs, such as “Jersey Fresh” or “Simply Kansas;”

    * As Governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack started one of the first food policy councils. Today there are over 100 food policy councils;

    * And the National Restaurant Association declared “locally sourced meats and seafood” and “locally grown produce” as the top two trends for 2011.

    Local and regional markets often provide farmers with a higher share of the food dollar, and money spent at a local business often continues to circulate within community, creating a multiplier effect and providing greater economic benefits to the area.

    For more; http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=KYF_MISSION

    ——–

    USDA ENCOURAGES AMERICANS TO KNOW THEIR FARMERS

    • CR says:

      Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
      Grants, Loans & Support

      Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) is helping communities scale up local and regional food systems and strengthen their economies. Not every community will need the same assistance; and navigating USDA’s offerings is no small task.

      We want to simplify the process and help communities put USDA programs to work for them, so we’re playing matchmaker. This page lists over two dozen programs at USDA that can help build local and regional food systems. This list is not the entirety of USDA’s offerings, but it is a great starting place.

      Whether you are an individual farmer looking to extend your growing season, a cooperative of growers looking to rebuild a food hub, a farmers’ market that wants to accept SNAP benefits, a community kitchen that needs cold storage to store locally procured meat, or anyone in between, this short guide to our programs might come in handy.

      Also, for more details on how these programs can be put to work in your community, check out our blog and our program memos. In our program memos, USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan mixes program information with real stories about how communities have successfully partnered with USDA to scale up local food systems and address challenges facing their communities. For the latest updates and announcements regarding programs, make sure to check out our blog’s Grants and Loans & Support , Tools and Resources

      To learn more: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=KNOWYOURFARMER

      To learn more: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=KNOWYOURFARMER

  3. CR says:

    Manufacturers press for lowering corporate tax rate

    July 19, 2012, 12:39 PM marketwatch

    Representatives of Ford Motor Co., 3M Co. and other companies went before a House panel on Thursday to press for lower corporate taxes, but differed on how to pay for a change.

    “First and foremost, we recommend that the corporate tax rate be reduced,” 3M Vice President of Tax Henry Gjersdal told the House Ways and Means Committee, adding that he supports committee Chair Dave Camp’s proposal to cut the rate to 25% from 39.2%.

    Several companies and lawmakers agree that the U.S.’s corporate rate — the world’s highest — should come down. But the tricky part is what breaks firms will give up in return. In 3M’s case, Gjersdal said the company could live without a deduction for manufacturers and a research and development credit if it paid a 25% rate.

    Ford’s chief tax officer Diane Dossin sang a much different tune in her testimony, however, saying that the automaker benefits from both of those incentives.

    “The U.S. should not put itself at a competitive disadvantage in this critical area by heading too far in the opposite direction,” she told lawmakers when discussing the research credit.

    Supporters of lowering the rate agree that it would make it more attractive to build and invest in the U.S. Earlier this year, the Obama administration unveiled a proposal for reforming the corporate tax code. Since then, however, election-year politics appear to have gotten in the way of much more progress on the issue.

    For more: http://blogs.marketwatch.com/election/2012/07/19/manufacturers-press-for-lowering-corporate-tax-rate/

    • CR says:

      Reforming the Tax Code

      The tax code has become increasingly complicated and unfair. Under today’s tax laws, those who can afford expert advice can avoid paying their fair share and interests with the most connected lobbyists can get exemptions and special treatment written into our tax code. While many of the tax incentives serve important purposes, taken together the tax expenditures in the law are inefficient, unfair, duplicative, or even unnecessary. In fact, because our corporate tax system is so riddled with special interest loopholes, our system has one of the highest statutory tax rates among developed countries to generate about the same amount of corporate tax revenue as our developed country partners as a share of our economy; this, in turn, hurts our competitiveness in the world economy.

      That is why the President is calling on the Congress to enact comprehensive tax reform that meets the following five principles:

      To begin the national conversation about tax reform, the President has offered a detailed set of tax loophole closers and measures to broaden the tax base that. These measures include: cutting tax preferences for high-income households; eliminating special tax breaks for oil and gas companies; closing the carried interest loophole for investment fund managers; and eliminating benefits for those who buy corporate jets.

      Tax reform should draw on these items, together with the elimination of additional inefficient tax breaks, to finance the reduction of marginal rates and meet the President’s other tax principles, including the Buffett Rule. In the absence of fundamental tax reform, the President believes these measures should be enacted on a standalone basis, along with permanent extension of the middle class 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. This would be an important step toward a tax system that is consistent with the President’s principles.

      1. Lower tax rates.Lower tax rates.
      The tax system should be simplified and work for all Americans with lower individual and corporate tax rates and fewer brackets.

      2. Cut the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade through tax reform, including the expiration of tax cuts for single taxpayers making over $200,000 and married couples making over $250,000.

      2. Increase job creation and growth in the United States.

      4. Make America stronger at home and more competitive globally by increasing the incentive to work and invest in the United States.

      5. Observe the Buffett Rule.
      As multi-billionaire Warren Buffet has pointed out, his average tax rate is lower than his secretary’s. No household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of their total income in taxes than middle-class families. This rule will be achieved as part of overall reform that increases the progressivity of the tax code.

      Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy/reform/tax-reform

  4. CR says:

    In a drought, even irrigation isn’t a savior

    July 19, 2012 by Eve Troeh – marketplace

    TRANSCRIPT
    Kai Ryssdal: The story of the day is one most of the Midwest has been dealing with for a couple of months now: The worst drought they’ve had in decades.

    But here’s the thing with water. There’s not much farmers can do to get more of it, because drought’s one problem you just can’t buy your way out of.

    From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Eve Troeh reports.

    Eve Troeh: There are two types of farmers in the Midwest. The first, called dry land farmers, are actually in the wetter places. They rely on rich soil, and rainfall. When the ground’s dry, and it doesn’t rain, what’s their backup?

    Darin Newsom: Well, there really isn’t one.

    Darin Newsom is an agriculture analyst with DNT in Iowa. He says for those farmers:

    Newsom: It’s over. There’s just no chance that the crop’s going to be salvageable.

    Watering from above won’t cut it. And there’s no underground irrigation in place. Now, other farmers in drier parts of the corn belt have had elaborate irrigation and pumping systems for decades.

    Newsom: Where you actually have to pull the water out of some source.

    Like a creek, or aquifer. Those water supplies are managed by state or local government. Farmers hooked up to irrigation can get more water, technically.

    George Rafetlis: But the amount that is allowed to the agricultural section might be limited.

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/sustainability/drought-even-irrigation-isnt-savior

  5. CR says:

    Climate Change Strikes Especially Hard Blow to Native Americans

    July 19, 2012 at 3:42 PM EDT BY: SASKIA DE MELKER AND REBECCA JACOBSON – pbs

    On Wednesday, NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan moderated a panel discussion on the subject, specifically focused on how Native American tribes are coping with climate change. We’ll air part of that discussion on the NewsHour tonight. For a preview, the video above is an excerpt from that panel, featuring Kitty Simonds, executive director of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council and a native Hawaiian, and Jeff Mears from the Oneida Nation tribe in Wisconsin.

    When we began our NewsHour coverage on communities across the United States coping with climate change, we didn’t plan to focus on Native American tribes. But we soon realized that indigenous communities are on the frontlines of America’s climate-related dangers.

    Native Americans make up about one percent of the United States population, but they manage more than 95 million acres of land. Their reservations lie in some of the most diverse ecosystems in the country, ranging from Alaska to the coasts of Florida. That diversity – both geographically and culturally – makes them a sort of demographic microcosm of the United States. That means the climate shifts that they are feeling now could give clues to what other Americans can expect might see in the near future.

    Recent studies, including those from the National Wildlife Federation , the EPA, and the USDA, highlight the disproportionate vulnerability of tribes to climate-related hazards such as coastal erosion, rising temperatures and extreme weather. Tribes depend on the land and natural resources for their culture and livelihood. What’s more, reservations often have high rates of poverty, unemployment and a lack of resources that would allow them to adapt to long-term climate changes.

    For more: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/07/climate-change-strikes-hard-blow-to-native-americans.html

  6. CR says:

    President Obama Calls for a Simpler Refinancing Process
    Reforming Wall Street, Protecting Main Street: An Update on Wall Street Reform

    Anthony Reyes July 19, 2012 03:40 PM EDT

    Two years ago this week, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — the most significant set of financial reforms since the Great Depression. The landmark law is designed to help protect Americans from the excessive risk, fragmented oversight, and poor consumer protections that played leading roles in bringing about the recent financial crisis.

    Treasury and the independent regulators have made meaningful progress implementing the law, which is vital to restoring trust in the underlying safety, stability, and integrity of the financial system, and to rebuilding a pro-growth, pro-investment environment. To outline the progress made, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has developed an overview of where reform stands and the changes it has effected on the financial system to date. For a copy of the overview, please click here​.

  7. CR says:

    July 19, 2012

    Presidential Memorandum — Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

    MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

    SUBJECT: Ensuring the Uniformed Services Employment and

    Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Protections

    The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) protects individuals performing, or who performed, uniformed service in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 4301-4335 from adverse employment discrimination on the basis of their uniformed service, and provides for their prompt restoration to civilian employment when they return to civilian life.

    USERRA is intended to ensure that these service members are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service; are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty; and are not discriminated against in employment because of their military status or obligations. This memorandum will help ensure that Federal agencies improve compliance with USERRA through outreach, education, and oversight.

    The Administration strongly believes that every man or woman who has served in our country’s uniformed services deserves the full protection of our employment laws, including USERRA. No discrimination or unfair treatment based on one’s service will be tolerated. We must do our utmost to ensure that all service members’ employment and reemployment rights are respected.

    The Federal Government, as our Nation’s largest employer, has a responsibility to adopt best practices with respect to employing returning service members. Attracting and retaining the best talent means ensuring fair treatment for individuals who have served our country. Close attention must be paid to our returning service members to ensure that we protect their reemployment rights, and effectively manage their reintegration when they return from service.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/19/presidential-memorandum-uniformed-services-employment-and-reemployment-r

  8. CR says:

    July 19, 2012

    Fact Sheet: Presidential Memorandum Supporting Veterans’ Employment and Reemployment Across the Federal Workforce

    President Obama has made helping veterans find civilian employment and reintegrate into our nation’s workforce and economy a top priority. In November 2011, the President signed into law the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans with a credit of up to $5,600 per veteran, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit, which offers businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a credit of up to $9,600 per veteran. The First Lady and Dr. Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative has helped 90,000 veterans and military spouses find jobs. And we have developed online tools to help connect veterans to employers

    The federal government has led efforts to recruit and retain individuals who have served our country in the armed forces. In Executive Order 13518, the President established the Veterans Employment Initiative to bolster recruitment and retention of veterans in the federal workforce. This initiative has been extraordinarily successful, ushering in 200,000 new veteran hires and at least 25,000 new Reservists to the federal workforce. Veterans comprise more than one-fourth (27.3% in FY2011) of the federal workforce, the highest share in 15 years. Our service members, their families, and our country all benefit from veterans’ talents, experience, and dedication.

    Federal laws, including the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provide critical protections to those who have served our country, including veterans and Guard and Reserve members. To ensure that returning service members have the fair opportunity guaranteed under the law, the President and his Administration have articulated a zero-tolerance policy for USERRA violations across the federal government. Today, in order to ensure that directive is carried out, President Obama issued a Memorandum that calls on agencies across the entire federal government to intensify their efforts to ensure fair treatment and equal opportunity for service members in federal employment. Specifically, the Memorandum calls on all agencies in the federal government to:

    • Identify Best Practices
    • Improve Information about those Serving in the Federal Workforce
    • Better Information and Services for those who Serve

    For more; http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/19/fact-sheet-presidential-memorandum-supporting-veterans-employment-and-re

    • CR says:

      July 23, 2012

      Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 4155

      On Monday, July 23, 2012, the President signed into law:

      H.R. 4155, the “Veterans Skills to Jobs Act,” which requires Federal agencies, when considering applicants for Federal licensure or certification, to consider relevant training that applicants may have received during service in the Armed Forces.

  9. CR says:

    July 20, 2012

    Statement by President Barack Obama on the Shooting in Colorado

    Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.

    • CR says:

      July 20, 2012

      Remarks by the President on the Shootings in Aurora, Colorado

      Harborside Event Center
      Fort Myers, Florida

      10:44 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me, first of all, say how grateful I am for all of you being here, and how much we appreciate everything that you’ve done. I know that there are a lot of people here who have been so engaged in the campaign, have sacrificed so much, people who’ve been involved back since 2007. (Applause.) And so I want all of you to know how appreciative I am.

      And I know many of you came here today for a campaign event. I was looking forward to having a fun conversation with you about some really important matters that we face as a country and the differences between myself and my opponent in this election. But this morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family.

      By now, many of you know, many of you have heard that a few miles outside of Denver in a town call Aurora, at least 12 people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater, and dozens more are being treated for injuries at a local hospital. Some of the victims are being treated at a children’s hospital.

      We’re still gathering all the facts about what happened in Aurora, but what we do know is that the police have one suspect in custody. And the federal government stands ready to do whatever is necessary to bring whoever is responsible for this heinous crime to justice. (Applause.) And we will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all of our people.

      We’re going to stand by our neighbors in Colorado during this extraordinarily difficult time. And I had a chance to speak with the Mayor of Aurora as well as the Governor of Colorado to express, not just on behalf of Michelle and myself, but the entire American family, how heartbroken we are.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/20/remarks-president-shootings-aurora-colorado

    • CR says:

      Obama on Shooting Spree

      Published on Jul 20, 2012 by WSJDigitalNetwork

      President Barack Obama put aside politics as he addressed a crowd here, following the overnight shooting overnight at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Photo: AP.

    • CR says:

      July 20, 2012

      Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on the Shooting in Colorado

      Jill and I were shocked to learn of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado this morning. The reason this is so deeply felt by all Americans is that, but for the grace of God, the victims could have been any one of our children, in any one of our towns. It is every parent’s worst nightmare to receive ‘that phone call’ and to sit by their child’s bedside, praying. We know what it’s like to wait and wonder and the helplessness a parent feels at this moment. Our hearts go out to each and every person who is suffering right now as a result of this terrible event. The prayers of an entire nation are with the victims and their families. We stand with the city of Aurora and the state of Colorado in mourning.

  10. CR says:

    July 19, 2012

    Op-ed by President Obama: Taking the Cyberattack Threat Seriously

    The full text of the op-ed by President Barack Obama is printed below. The piece will be published tomorrow in The Wall Street Journal and can be found HERE.

    Taking the Cyberattack Threat Seriously
    By President Obama

    Last month I convened an emergency meeting of my cabinet and top homeland security, intelligence and defense officials. Across the country trains had derailed, including one carrying industrial chemicals that exploded into a toxic cloud. Water treatment plants in several states had shut down, contaminating drinking water and causing Americans to fall ill.

    Our nation, it appeared, was under cyber attack. Unknown hackers, perhaps a world away, had inserted malicious software into the computer networks of private-sector companies that operate most of our transportation, water and other critical infrastructure systems.

    Fortunately, last month’s scenario was just a simulation—an exercise to test how well federal, state and local governments and the private sector can work together in a crisis. But it was a sobering reminder that the cyber threat to our nation is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face.

    So far, no one has managed to seriously damage or disrupt our critical infrastructure networks. But foreign governments, criminal syndicates and lone individuals are probing our financial, energy and public safety systems every day. Last year, a water plant in Texas disconnected its control system from the Internet after a hacker posted pictures of the facility’s internal controls. More recently, hackers penetrated the networks of companies that operate our natural-gas pipelines. Computer systems in critical sectors of our economy—including the nuclear and chemical industries—are being increasingly targeted.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/19/op-ed-president-obama-taking-cyberattack-threat-seriously

  11. CR says:

    *********************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “Bring Jobs Home Act ”
    **********************

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