• Rod Swoboda

    Iowans Fight Big Oil's Effort To Dismantle RFS

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 31, 2014

    A group of Iowans went to Washington D.C. last week to speak with members of Congress about the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard or RFS. Lobbying for ethanol and biodiesel, the Iowa group also met with top officials at EPA and USDA and visited other offices in the nation's capital. "We hit a home run in D.C.," says Bill Couser, a Story County farmer, cattle feeder and board member of Lincolnway Energy. Lincolnway has a corn ethanol plant at Nevada, Iowa, not far from the…

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  • John Vogel

    Help! We're Overrun By Wanna-be Farm Regulators -- Parasites!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 8, 2014

    Before heading home for supper the other night, my phone jingled with a call from Broken Bow, Neb. And I had a long friendly discussion with a Corn Husker about how farmers are being over-run by wanna-be regulators. And I thought to myself: “Golly whiz, I oughta blog about this!” So here it is. He thanked Farm Progress for Harold Harpster’s straight-up analyses of "UN still shadows animal ag" and "Sustainable livestock – or else!" That led to a far…

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  • John Vogel

    What's In The Farm Bill 'Bag' For You

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 11, 2014

    Congress finally got the Agricultural Act of 2014 done – more than two years late! Just maybe it happened for fear that President Obama would write a Farm Bill via executive order. That threat may still come, as some critics hope and suggest. In the last two weeks, I've received hundreds of emails praising Congress and outlining their favorite pieces of "bacon" in the bill – and some panning it. So here's a quick look at some of what might be most tasty to…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Big Hurdles For Industrial Beets

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 10, 2014

    What the heck are the industrial beet guys smoking? They’re proposing farmers grow beets as a feedstock for ethanol at a time when the EPA is proposing to cut the amount of renewable fuel sold in the U.S., and when the ethanol industry is still reeling from the food-versus-fuel debate. It makes no sense to me to try to produce more ethanol if the Renewable Fuel Standard is cut. New beet ethanol plants would have to compete with existing corn ethanol refineries. Also, ethanol’s…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Farmers Like the New Farm Bill; Activists Cry Foul

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 10, 2014

    Anyone who pretends they're an expert on the 2014 Farm Bill that just passed just might be pulling your leg. The bill is full of details, and Purdue University ag economists say that how the rules are fleshed out will go a long way toward determining the impact of the bill. Direct payments were eliminated, but crop insurance was "strengthened," or at least that's what the buzz on the Internet says. The 800-pound gorilla that the House wanted to take out, food stamps, is still…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Ethanol Industry Set To Fight EPA On Blend Rule

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on February 7, 2014

    The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association's annual meeting last week at Altoona was sharply focused on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to reduce the volume requirements in the Renewable Fuel Standard. EPA wants to reduce the amount of ethanol and biodiesel required to be blended into the nation's gasoline and diesel fuel supply.  The RFS, a federal law passed by Congress in 2007, sets annual volume requirements for biofuels. Congress enacted the RFS to increase…

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  • Don McCabe

    State Senators In Nebraska Unicameral Need Your Input

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on February 6, 2014

    What was called the "Nebraska Experiment" in the mid-1930s and ultimately implemented in 1937 remains with us today, 77 years later. The Nebraska Unicameral, a one-house legislature, is the only state legislative structure like it in the nation. For all intense and purposes, a single body of 49 senators is still generally supported across the state. Nebraskans were practical and conservative then, even during an era of new federal programs designed to pull the country out of the…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Good call, Governor and Minnesota Lawmakers

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on January 31, 2014

    Last weekend, a letter signed by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, U.S. Representatives Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, Tim Walz, and Rick Nolan, and Governor Mark Dayton was sent to President Obama, asking for immediate help to address the critical propane shortage in Minnesota. They asked for several things, including emergency funding available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. After sending another letter Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Tell Legislators to Stand Firm In Support of Agriculture

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 27, 2014

    Indiana has a Right to Farm law. For various reasons and because of rumblings about opposition to animal confinement units around the state, Senate Bill 186 was introduced to further clarify the importance of agriculture and animal production. This language would be added to existing law. The House companion bill is Bill 1200. Senate Bill 186 passed out of the Senate Committee hearing the bill unanimously in mid-January. Indiana Farm Bureau is on record applauding the efforts of the lawmakers…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    You Had Better Speak Up on the Renewable Fuel Standard

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 23, 2014

    “Please don’t allow corn to be used for gas, we need it for food…” “We must not increase ethanol to E15 level. Ethanol is hard on machinery…” “Use of corn and soybean (for fuel) should be lowered or completed ended. They are planting on marginal land, wasting comondities (sic) for no good reason, driving up prices for food and land…” “Do not change the amount of ethenol (sic) put in gasoline. This is working…

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