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                                            Farm Bureau                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          American Farm Bureau Federation ®




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                                                        April 5, 2004                                                                                                                                       http://www.fb.org/fbn/                                                                                                                   Vol. 83, No. 7



In This Issue
○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○       ○       ○       ○       ○       ○       ○       ○       ○       ○       ○       Farmers need energy bill to reduce costs
The Ag Agenda: Death and                                                                                                            In the persistent call for the Senate to                                                            all nitrogen fertilizers in the United                                                           cost of operating their natural-gas-pow-
taxes: A double whammy                                                                                                              pass the energy bill, another Farm                                                                  States.                                                                                          ered irrigation pumps increased more
for farm families
 .............................................
                                                                                                            2                       Bureau member testified before Con-
                                                                                                                                    gress about why farmers need the bill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Drake said that farmers in Okla-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        homa’s panhandle region report the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         than 70 percent in 2003 over the previ-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           See Energy bill, page 3
                                                                                                                                    to help ease their energy costs.
Weight ‘til you hear this:                                                                                                            Bob Drake, vice president of the
                                                                                                                                    Oklahoma Farm Bureau (OFB), said the
thoughts on obesity
 .............................................                                                              3                       energy bill (S. 2095) would boost do-
                                                                                                                                    mestic energy supplies by encouraging
                                                                                                                                    development of renewable sources
Regional priorities section:                                                                                                        such as ethanol, biodiesel and wind,
Bird flu, property taxes are                                                                                                        and increasing supplies of domestic
top issues
 .............................................                                                              4                       traditional energy sources such as
                                                                                                                                    natural gas, oil and coal. He testified
                                                                                                                                    on behalf of the American Farm Bu-
Regional priorities section:                                                                                                        reau Federation and OFB.
Two states deal with CAFOs,                                                                                                           The Senate energy bill has been held
                                                                                                                                    up most recently because Democrats
‘outmigration’
 .............................................                                                              5                       and Republicans haven’t agreed on
                                                                                                                                    how much time to allow for the floor
                                                                                                                                    debate and for amendments to be of-
EPA to assess the health of                                                                                                         fered. Democrats reportedly want to
the nation’s streams
 .............................................                                                              6                       offer as many as 100 amendments.
                                                                                                                                      The bill would help quell the natural
                                                                                                                                    gas price volatility of the last couple of
North Carolina farmers get                                                                                                          years by providing royalty relief and                                                               Letters, we get letters
involved in gleaning
 .............................................                                                              7                       other incentives for exploration. Drake
                                                                                                                                    said natural gas is perhaps the most
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The American Farm Bureau Federation has received around 15,000 letters and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        postcards from farmers and ranchers in support of the federal government’s
                                                                                                                                    important energy source to production                                                               decision to streamline the pesticide approval process and eliminate a proce-
Food prices rise in first                                                                                                           agriculture, and the cost has more                                                                  dural issue that environmental groups have used to sue the government over
                                                                                                                                    than doubled since 2000. Farmers use
quarter
.............................................                                                               8                       natural gas to power traditional farm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        pesticide registrations. AFBF will deliver the letters and postcards to the Fish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and Wildlife Service this week, adding to the thousands the agency has al-
                                                                                                                                    equipment, and it’s the primary raw                                                                 ready received. The deadline to comment is April 16.
                                                                                                                                    material for the production of virtually
Corner Post
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                                                                                                                                    New tobacco buyout bill introduced
                                                                                                                                    Two more members of Congress have                                                                   the tobacco industry and need federal                                                            the tobacco buyout for years, so we
                                                                                                                                    introduced a bill to compensate to-                                                                 assistance. We believe the Fair and                                                              welcome almost any proposal that
                                                                                                                                    bacco quota owners for giving up their                                                              Equitable Tobacco Reform bill effec-                                                             brings more supporters and momen-
                                                                                                                                    quota and make it easier for them to                                                                tively helps those who need it most.”                                                            tum to the buyout.”
                                                                                                                                    switch to other crops or land uses.                                                                   AFBF policy supports a buyout pro-                                                               The new bill does not include a pro-
                                                                                                                                    Farm Bureau says tobacco quota own-                                                                 gram that would pay $8 per pound to                                                              vision to move regulation of tobacco
                                                                                                                                    ers can’t afford to give up their quota,                                                            quota holders and $4 per pound as a                                                              products from the state level to the
                                                                                                                                    a major investment, without federal                                                                 transition payment for tobacco grow-                                                             federal Food and Drug Administration,
                                                                                                                                    help.                                                                                               ers. The Jenkins-McIntyre bill would                                                             something that the Phillip Morris com-
                                                                                                                                      The new bill, the Fair and Equitable                                                              pay $7 per pound to quota holders and                                                            pany insists must be included for it to
                                                                                                                                    Tobacco Reform Act, joins several                                                                   $3 per pound to growers. The pay-                                                                support a buyout. The company pre-
                                                                                                                                    other tobacco buyout bills introduced                                                               ments would be spread over five years.                                                           fers one federal regulatory structure
                                                                                                                                    in the 108th Congress. The American                                                                   Despite the slightly lower payments                                                            over the patchwork of state regula-
                                                                                                                                    Farm Bureau Federation has notified                                                                 in the new bill, AFBF still supports it                                                          tions. Other cigarette makers, how-
                                                                                                                                    the bill’s sponsors, Reps. William Jen-                                                             because “we just need to get a buy-                                                              ever, do not want to give FDA any new
                                                                                                                                    kins (R-Tenn.) and Mike McIntyre (D-                                                                out,” according to Dana Brooks, AFBF                                                             authority over the industry. The dis-
                                                                                                                                    N.C.), that it supports their legislation.                                                          commodity specialist.                                                                            agreement over the regulation of ciga-
                                                                                                                                      “AFBF believes your bill equitably                                                                  “Every piece of buyout legislation                                                             rettes has been a major impediment to
                                                                                                                                    compensates tobacco quota owners                                                                    that is introduced advances the debate                                                           moving a buyout bill.
                                                                                                                                    and growers,” wrote AFBF President                                                                  and, if any of them pass, moves things                                                             Buyout supporters are hoping to at-
                                                                                                                                    Bob Stallman. “Tobacco-producing                                                                    forward,” Brooks explained. “We’ve                                                               tach legislation to a must-pass bill such
                                                                                                                                    states are reeling from the changes in                                                              been trying to get some movement on                                                                          See Tobacco buyout, page 6
Page 2                                                                 Farm Bureau            news                                                                                                  April 5, 2004

        VIEWPOINT

Death and taxes: A double whammy for farm families
It’s that time of year again ... tax time.                                                                                             that 98 percent of Americans pass their
  As the old cliché goes, in this world                                                                                                estates on tax-free, and that all of the
nothing is certain but death and taxes.                                                                                                estate taxes in 2000 were paid by Amer-
Unfortunately, this double whammy                                                                                                      icans with estates larger than $5 mil-
hits many Americans at precisely the                                                                                                   lion. Tell that to Neil Westfall.
same time in the form of estate taxes,                                                                                                    Gates has repeatedly, publicly at-
or as we farmers call it—the death tax.                                                                                                tacked Farm Bureau for its stance on
                                                                                                                                       repealing the death tax. He suggests
The hardest hit                                                                                                                        that farmers are being used, held hos-
   Farm Bureau supports full and final                                                                                                 tage by advocates of the repeal. He has
repeal of the death tax. Year after year,                                                                                              gone as far as to insult the intelligence
Farm Bureau members consistently list                                                                                                  of farmers by suggesting they are not
it as the organization’s top tax priority                                                                                              informed about the issue. I bet Mr.
because of the tax’s potential to pre-                                                                                                 Gates would be hard pressed to find a
vent families from passing their farms       of our convincing case against the           Americans who fare better with a             group of Americans more informed
on to their children.                        death tax. They want victims.                death tax in place.                          about the unjust consequences of
   Regrettably, many farm families bare-        Here is a prime example. Farm Bu-                                                      death taxes than those farmers living
ly have a chance to mourn the loss of        reau member and Oregon tree farmer           Some don’t get it                            with its ramifications.
their loved one before they are hit with     and rancher Neil Westfall was willed,           I recently read a parable by Bill Gates      For myself, along with the farm and
exorbitant taxes that can force farmers      along with his father and brother, his       Sr. (You may recognize his name; his         ranch families of Farm Bureau, being
to sell off chunks of their land, the very   great aunt’s ranch, valued at around         son is the founder of Microsoft.) In his     American does not mean forfeiting the
land that is used for their livelihood.      $900,000. During the following 15            parable, Gates told of two souls in line     family farm to the government. In-
   Farm and ranch estates face heavier       years, the Westfalls paid estate taxes       for birth who were told one would be         stead, it is knowing that every Ameri-
and potentially more disruptive death        and interest totaling $750,000. Later,       American and one would not. God              can can contribute to their country
tax burdens than other estates. In the       upon Neil’s father’s death, the West-        asked them to think about how much           without being penalized for their hard
late 1990s, roughly twice as many            falls shelled out another $200,000 to        of their accumulated wealth they were        work and success. It is the reassurance
farm estates paid federal death taxes        settle the estate for a grand total of       prepared to give back at the end of          that when our life on Earth is com-
compared to estates in general, and          $950,000—$50,000 more than the               their lives to earn that right. Gates sug-   plete, our years of hard work and way
the average tax paid by farmers was          original worth of the ranch! In effect,      gested the correct answer was all of it,     of life will be passed on to our children
larger than what was paid by most            the Westfall family ended up buying          saying, “That’s what it’s worth to be        so that they can follow in our foot-
other estates. Unlike wealthy Ameri-         from the government their fourth-gen-        American.”                                   steps, just as many of us followed in
cans who set up trusts and sell off          eration ranch that was given to them.           Gates and his group, Responsible          our parents’ footsteps.
stock to pay estate taxes, farmers lose         There are more examples of farmers        Wealth, believe the tax promotes equal-         For Neil Westfall and other farmers
their land.                                  like Neil Westfall. Unfortunately, that      ity and supports democracy by slowing        and ranchers, being able to pass along
   Yet, even with that evidence, critics     doesn’t appear to be enough for a            the accumulation of wealth and power         that dream to future generations is
continue to question the authenticity        number of powerful and wealthy               in the hands of the few. They argue          what it’s worth to be an American.



Farmers must speak up and tell agriculture’s story
By Matt Lohr                                 pen very often in the mainstream             that PAL provided us a unique oppor-            While farming is often a perilous
                                             media.                                       tunity to grow and develop the tools         business, some think it is more risky to
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Like many seg-                                  Fifty years ago, almost all Americans     we need to more effectively reach out        speak out. I believe exactly the oppo-
ments of society,                            had a tie to farming. If a person didn’t     to our urban neighbors to set the            site is true. Silence is no longer a risk
farmers and                                  live on a farm, chances are he or she        record straight.                             we can afford to take.
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ranchers are con-                            lived near one or had a relative who            PAL is just one example of a new
cerned and dis-                              made a living off the land. More             way to spread agriculture’s positive         Matt Lohr, a graduate of the inaugural
mayed with how                               people were exposed to agriculture ev-       message. But, to really do the job effec-    PAL class, is a fifth-generation farmer in
the news media                               ery day, and had a basic understanding       tively, everyone must become even            Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
portray them.                                of how the industry worked. When we          more involved. Some steps may re-
                                             are completely removed from it, how-         quire a huge commitment, like run-
And who could
blame them? In-                              ever, we lose that focus. That’s what        ning for political office. Right now in
                                                                                                                                                       Farm Bureau
stead of reporting how it is possible for
fewer than 2 percent of our citizens to
feed the other 98 percent and millions
more overseas, the media tend to con-
                                             has happened in today’s America.
                                             Farmers have done such a great job be-
                                             hind the scenes that the public takes
                                             us for granted. Today, we must con-
                                                                                          Virginia, not one of our 140 state legis-
                                                                                          lative delegates and senators claim
                                                                                          farming as his or her profession. Other
                                                                                          actions require less time, but that does
                                                                                                                                                   news            (ISSN 0197-5617)
centrate on sensational, but negative,       sciously step forward to tell our stories    not diminish the need to make a per-                          Joseph S. Fields,
stories about agriculture that are, at       as “advocates for agriculture.”              sonal commitment to get involved.                        Public Relations Director
best, inaccurate.                               Over the past year, I was part of the        I am proud to be a farmer. Our fam-                 Don Lipton, Deputy Director
  As a farmer, I know that kind of re-       inaugural Partners in Agricultural Lead-     ily farm began more than 100 years                        Lynne Finnerty, Editor
porting paints a distorted portrait. At      ership (PAL) class. I was selected, with     ago with my great-grandfather, and I                 Terrence Nowlin, Assistant Editor
best, it leads to a collective apathy        nine others, to participate in this excit-   am blessed to carry on the tradition of               Phyllis Brown, Assistant Editor
about what should be viewed as a             ing program. The American Farm Bu-           living off the land. At age 32, I am ex-
                                                                                                                                            Published semimonthly, except monthly in
modern miracle. I also believe, how-         reau Federation and the Altria Family        cited about the future of our industry.          August and December, by the American Farm
ever, that my fellow citizens, if ex-        of Companies developed a rigorous            There is no greater responsibility than           Bureau Federation, 600 Maryland Ave., SW,
                                                                                                                                                Suite 800, Washington, DC 20024.
posed to the facts, would agree that         curriculum designed to give us hands-        producing the food, fiber and fuel that          Phone: 202-406-3600. E-mail: fbnews@fb.com.
farmers are the backbone that keeps          on training in telling agriculture’s         sustain our society. Farmers must share                  Web site: http://www.fb.org.
our nation strong.                           story. Boot-camp-like training was of-       that story of success. The time is now        Periodical postage paid at Washington, D.C., and
                                                                                                                                          additional mailing offices. Subscription rate for
  Americans are blessed with the saf-        fered in areas such as media relations,      to advocate our cause to those around          officers and board members of county and state
est, cheapest and most abundant food         speech writing, legislative affairs, form-   us. If they don’t hear our story,            Farm Bureaus—$6, which is deducted from dues. For
                                                                                                                                                      other subscribers—$10.
supply anywhere in the world. Farmers        ing partnerships and becoming stron-         chances are someone else will tell the
and ranchers need to be commended            ger leaders in our states and communi-       story for us and it may be the wrong                    Postmaster: Send address changes to
                                                                                                                                               Farm Bureau News, 600 Maryland Ave., SW,
for their efforts, but that doesn’t hap-     ties. Having just graduated, I can attest    story.                                                   Suite 800, Washington, DC 20024.
April 5, 2004                                                         Farm Bureau            news                                                                                                             Page 3

                                                                                                                                                                      VIEWPOINT
Weight ’til you hear this: thoughts on obesity
By Jack Fisher
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                                            gist said food advertisements on televi-      And the trend-line is going up. Beyond        Which brings me back to who’s to
                                            sion make it impossible for me to stay        the physical and emotional damage to        blame for our ever-expanding national
I looked at one of                          thin. Heck, I think I’ll even blame my        individuals, there’s an economic con-       waistline. A Consumer Reports article
those charts the                            mom. She must have told me a thou-            sequence as well. A USDA report esti-       said farmers are at fault because—get
other day that                              sand times when I was a kid, “Clean           mates that between health care expen-       this—they raise food that’s too cheap!
tells you your                              your plate—there are children starving        ditures and lost productivity, our over-    Now there’s the ultimate in blame-
ideal weight for                            in China!”                                    weight society is costing us nearly         shifting.
your height. I dis-                           Just in case you were wondering, I’m        $123 billion a year. Passing the blame        Yes, food in America is inexpensive.
covered that I’m                            not really blaming mom, or govern-            won’t control this growing problem.         But that doesn’t make us fat. Our
too short.                                  ment, or restaurants or television. I’m       The only way we’ll resolve it is by tak-    meats, grains, dairy products, fruits
   OK, I suppose                            blaming me. To pretend I’m not ac-            ing personal responsibility.                and vegetables, produced safely and
what I should                               countable for my own weight is an               I’m certainly not the one to give         efficiently, make us the most well-
have learned is that I’m carrying an        exercise in willful denial. And when          guidance on how to control weight. I’ll     nourished people in the history of the
extra pound or two. I’d feel bad about      the media or activists tell all of us “it’s   rely on the experts. The American Di-       world.
it, but I don’t have to. It’s not my        not our fault,” they’re serving us a          etetic Association said when consid-          Farmers provide us with abundant,
fault.                                      super-sized portion of delusion. We           ering proper nutrition, “There are no       affordable food. What we choose to do
   Peter Jennings of ABC News said I        don’t need excuses. We need solutions         good or bad foods, only good or bad         with that blessing is no one’s
can blame the government because its        to a severe national problem.                 diets and eating styles.” And it added,     responsibility but our own.
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policies encourage farmers to grow too        The U.S. Department of Agriculture          “If consumed in moderation with ap-
much food. The New York Times told          said nearly two-thirds of American            propriate portion size and combined         John C. (Jack) Fisher is executive vice pres-
me to fault restaurants for serving por-    adults are overweight. Approximately          with regular physical activity, all foods   ident of the Ohio Farm Bureau
tions that are too big. A Yale psycholo-    15 percent of our children are, too.          can fit into a healthful diet.”             Federation.


                                                                                                                                              CAPITAL UPDATE

FB member tells Congress about wetland woes
Federal wetlands regulations enforced       said to be a tributary to the non-navi-
by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers         gable upper reach of the Minnesota
(Corps) are confusing and burdensome        River,” Luthi testified. “If my land can
to farmers and other landowners, ac-        be regulated as navigable waters, just
cording to Aldean Luthi, Minnesota          about any land can.”
Farm Bureau member.                           The Corps said that in order for
   Luthi testified at a March 30 congres-   Luthi to get a permit to improve
sional hearing about the problems he        around 11 of his 130 acres, he would
experienced when he proposed improv-        have to restore or create 17.7 acres of
ing the drainage on part of his land.       wetlands somewhere else. Luthi said
The Corps determined that the land          that was prohibitively expensive.
was subject to regulation as a wetland        “That kind of increase in my cost of
connected to “navigable water,” even        production would have a huge impact
though Luthi’s farm is 160 miles from       on my farm’s viability,” said Luthi.
navigable water, and after the U.S. Agri-     Also, he said, taking the land out of
culture Department and the Minnesota        production and enrolling it in a federal
government had told him his land was        conservation program would hamper
not considered a wetland. He said the       his ability to maintain a viable farming
connection between his land and navi-       operation to pass along to his children
gable water was tenuous at best.            someday.
   “The Corps’ claim of jurisdiction          “I appreciate that incentive-based          The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is restricting what landowners with wetlands
over my property is based upon a re-        alternatives exist. I know that I could       can do with their property, even though the wetlands are isolated, meaning
mote hydrologic connection of my            place these 11.8 acres in the Conserva-       not directly connected to navigable waters, and even though the Supreme
field to an unnamed wetland, which is       tion Reserve Program, the Wetland             Court has ruled that the Corps doesn’t have jurisdiction over isolated wetlands.
adjacent to another unnamed wetland,        Reserve Program or the Wildlife Habi-
which is adjacent to an unnamed tri-        tat Incentives Program,” Luthi said.          production.... If I have to give up bits    islation soon to clear up the federal
butary, which is adjacent to the non-       “But, Mr. Chairman, I am a farmer. I          and pieces, soon my operation will run      government’s jurisdiction.
navigable Chippewa River, which is          am interested in keeping my land in           out of land and not be a viable and            The Supreme Court ruled in 2001
                                                                                          economic operation.”                        that the Corps and the Environmental
                                                                                             Luthi also questioned why the            Protection Agency had overreached

    Farmers need energy bill                                                              project he proposed would not fall
                                                                                          under an agricultural exemption in the
                                                                                                                                      their authority under the Clean Water
                                                                                                                                      Act in trying to regulate isolated wet-
    continued from page 1                   porting Countries plans to cut oil            Clean Water Act, the law that deals         lands that do not have a clear connec-
    ous year. One producer, in Beaver       production.                                   with protecting and restoring wet-          tion to navigable waters. The court said
    County, Okla., reported to Drake that     If the Senate passes its energy bill,       lands. He said the confusion over what      a mere hydrological connection wasn’t
    those costs were solely responsible     a slimmed-down version of the en-             is a wetland in the first place, as well    enough to justify federal regulation.
    for a $26,000 drop in his net income.   ergy bill it passed last year (H.R. 6),       as the definition of normal farming ex-        The Bush administration proposed
      “In addition, farmers and ranchers    a House-Senate conference commit-             emptions, demonstrates that there is        new regulations in line with the court
    have experienced diesel fuel price      tee will have to reconcile differ-            too much room for different interpre-       ruling. Farm Bureau members sent
    increases 40 percent above historical   ences between it and the bill al-             tations of the law.                         thousands of comments in favor of the
    averages,” Drake said.                  ready passed in the House. Then,                 “This just shows that there is a great   proposed new regulations, but they
      Rising fuel costs have become a       the conference report would need              need for Congress to clarify these is-      were overwhelmed by comments
    hot issue lately upon news that         to go back to both houses for one             sues,” he said.                             against the change. In the end, the
    the Organization of Petroleum Ex-       last vote.                                       Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.) wants to      agencies decided to leave the old regu-
                                                                                          do just that. He plans to introduce leg-    lations intact.
Page 4                                                               Farm Bureau            news                                                                April 5, 2004




                                                                                        NORTHEAST

                             Bird flu, property taxes are top issues
                                            have banned imports from the affected       program is doing what we thought it         save more than $4 billion a year.
                                            states. None of the strains found in the    should do.”                                   Counties are required to pay for 25
                                            United States affect human health.             Farmers in New York are concerned        percent of the Medicaid services pro-
                                               Connecticut has not had a case of        about rising property taxes. New York       vided in the county, but the state gov-
                                            avian influenza this year. That may be      has the fourth highest property tax in      ernment has the option of deciding
The discovery of avian influenza in a       because the state instituted a pilot vac-   the country, according to the Business      which Medicaid services to offer.
few northeastern and mid-Atlantic           cination program at its largest poultry     Council of New York State, primarily        Unfortunately for local governments
states in recent months has the region      operation, Kofkoff Egg Farm, after an       to cover the costs of Medicaid. New         and property tax payers, the state has
worried about maintaining not only          avian influenza outbreak there last         York Farm Bureau said a disproportion-      opted into the full array of services.
the health of chickens, turkeys and         year. The operation has multiple facili-    ate percentage of the property tax bur-       State legislators have introduced four
ducks that can get the virus, but also      ties and accounts for as much as 99         den falls on farmers.                       different proposals to address the prop-
the health of the region’s poultry in-      percent of the state’s poultry industry.       “Unlike other small businesses, farm-    erty tax problem, either by setting a
dustry and agricultural economy.               State animal health officials believe    ers bear the brunt of local property        monetary cap on the amount counties
  While the bird flu strain found in        the vaccination program is doing its        taxes due to the necessity of owning        have to pay for Medicaid or by limit-
the region is low pathogenic and,           job.                                        land to farm—and New York’s prop-           ing the Medicaid programs in which
therefore, less serious than a high-           “To date, we feel that it’s on the       erty taxes are already 50 percent high-     the state participates.
pathogenic strain found last month in       right course,” said Mary Jane Lis, state    er than the national average,” said a         “We’re encouraged to see them pay-
Texas, it can still affect the industry’s   veterinarian with the Connecticut           NYFB statement on its priority issues.      ing attention to this issue,” said Chris
ability to export poultry. Nineteen         Agriculture Department. “We have not           NYFB said that if the state reduced      LaRoe, NYFB spokesman. “We hope
countries so far have closed their bor-     been able to isolate any incidents of       its Medicaid spending to twice the          they will come together soon and
ders to all U.S. poultry, and 16 others     avian influenza at the facilities, so the   national average, taxpayers would           reach a compromise.”



                                                                                              WEST

                             Water, salmon protection concern raised
                                            University of Washington professor          (on the Columbia River), and with           porting waters,” a term that doesn’t
The prevalence of species protected         contend that releasing water from the       those kinds of numbers how can the          mean salmon actually live in the wa-
under the Endangered Species Act            reservoirs would do little to boost         fish be threatened in light of this court   ters, only that they could do so. The
(ESA) and water quantity and quality        salmon numbers, but would take hun-         decision,” Bartlett said.                   ruling establishes 60- to 300-foot buff-
issues in the West have combined to         dreds of thousands of farmland acres           Frank Priestley, Idaho Farm Bureau       ers between rivers and streams and
create big headaches for farmers and        out of production.                          president, said environmentalists           land where the pesticides can be used.
ranchers in the region.                        Several environmental groups have        might even be fishing the wrong wa-           Washington Farm Bureau (WFB) has
   Idaho farmers are fighting to main-      turned to the courts to force the fed-      ters for a solution to the salmon prob-     appealed the ruling. The U.S. Agricul-
tain dams and reservoirs that provide       eral government to release water from       lem. Favorable ocean conditions over        ture Department estimates that 85 per-
much-needed irrigation water, water         the reservoirs. They claim the govern-      the last three years have increased the     cent of the ruling’s $100 million to
that has become especially dear in re-      ment is violating the ESA by not pro-       numbers of salmon returning to Idaho,       $600 million impact—revenue losses
cent years due to a prolonged drought.      viding more water for the fish.             he said. Environmental groups might         due to reduced yields and the higher
   Environmental groups have sued the          A federal appeals court in February      do well to focus on the reasons behind      cost of alternative pest control meth-
federal government over the dams and        upheld a lower court ruling that the        the recent turnaround, rather than in-      ods—will be felt in Washington.
reservoirs, claiming that the structures    federal government’s listing of coho        sisting on a change that won’t really         Although there is no proof that the
make it more difficult for endangered       salmon as a threatened species in parts     help the salmon, he said.                   pesticides harm salmon, environmen-
Pacific salmon to migrate down the          of California and Oregon was invalid.          If the West doesn’t get more rain        tal groups sued the federal government
Snake and Columbia Rivers and out to        The National Oceanic and Atmo-              and snow, there may not be any water        because the Environmental Protection
the ocean. The environmental groups         spheric Administration (NOAA) Fisher-       in the reservoirs to fight over. Water      Agency had not consulted with federal
said that releasing water from the reser-   ies (formerly the National Marine Fish-     levels in most reservoirs remain below      wildlife agencies as required by the
voirs would help flush newly hatched        eries Service) had only counted wild        average because of four to five years of    ESA. WFB said the judge who issued
fish over the dams and down the rivers.     fish and not hatchery fish. The ruling      warmer- and drier-than-normal weath-        the ruling failed to balance the “irrepa-
   The Idaho Farm Bureau and other          does not necessarily reverse the listing,   er in much of the region.                   rable harm the order would have on
groups that want to maintain enough         but it prevents NOAA-Fisheries from            Other western states also are dealing    farmers with little to no potential risk
water for farmers to irrigate their crops   enforcing it. Judy Bartlett, Idaho Farm     with their share of endangered species      that proper use of the chemicals poses
said there’s no proof that releasing wa-    Bureau director of public affairs, said     issues. Thousands of farmers in Cali-       for salmon.”
ter for salmon would help the fish, so      the ruling sets a good precedent for        fornia, Oregon and Washington can             WFB estimates the buffers would
why endanger farmers in the process?        the Idaho salmon case.                      no longer use certain common pesti-         consume up to half of some farmers’
   Indeed, two separate studies by the         “Last year there were a million sal-     cides because of a court ruling that        orchards or cropland, making it hard
federal Bureau of Reclamation and by a      mon that came over Bonneville dam           bans applications near “salmon-sup-         for them to continue farming.
April 5, 2004                                                          Farm Bureau             news                                                                        Page 5




                                                                MIDWEST

Two states deal with CAFOs, ‘outmigration’
In February, Michigan began requiring         provide no such exemption for new            doing all it can to be a good, environ-
more animal farms to submit nutrient          animal facilities with at least double       mentally responsible neighbor.”
management plans and obtain permits           the number of animals that is the fed-         Figuring out which operations are          2002, the state lost about 8,000 people
for their operations. The requirement         eral threshold for classification as a       affected by the new rules and what’s         to other states. While fewer people,
applies to new and expanding opera-           large CAFO. The federal threshold is         required of them can be confusing,           only 74, left North Dakota last year, it
tions that exceed certain numbers of          1,000 cattle, or 2,500 hogs weighing         said Pigott. “We’re putting together         was the only state in the nation to lose
cattle, pigs, chickens and other ani-         55 pounds or more.                           information materials so they know           rather than gain population.
mals. Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB)                MFB is concerned about the impact          exactly what’s going on,” he said.             The state is looking at, among other
opposes the change.                           the new state regulations could have           Each permit application will be the        things, creating more value-added agri-
  The state’s permitting requirements         on farmers’ willingness to participate       subject of a public meeting where            culture to incorporate more of a pro-
stem from the federal rule finalized in       in the Michigan Agricultural Environ-        members of the community can speak           duction chain into farms and ranches,
late 2002 that changed the definition         mental Assurance Program (MAEAP).            for or against approving the permit.         according to Dawn Smith-Pfeifer of
of a large concentrated animal feeding          “Our concern is that, for new opera-         “The environmental community will          North Dakota Farm Bureau.
operation (CAFO).                             tions over a certain size, there is no       utilize the public meetings because it         “We and other groups are working
  Under Michigan’s old rules, farms           incentive to participate in MAEAP on         provides a good podium,” explained           with the universities in our state to
that had not discharged wastewater in         top of having to get a permit anyway,”       Pigott. “But the state has to base its de-   explore what it would take to create
the past could go through a voluntary         explained Scott Pigott, agricultural         cisions on the science and actual data.”     more opportunities on the farm and in
environmental assurance program and           ecology department manager for MFB.            A catchword in North Dakota these          our rural areas in general,” Smith-
didn’t have to get a National Pollutant       “We want to see continued MAEAP              days is “outmigration.” Many North           Pfeifer said. “There’s a feeling that we
Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)          participation because it sends a good        Dakotans are worried about their state’s     need to address this problem to ensure
permit. But the state’s new CAFO rules        message to the public that the farm is       declining population. From 2000 to           that there will be a future for our state.”



                                                                   SOUTH

States deal with ballot, water rights issues
Florida voters two years ago amended          grassroots movements has been turned         Alabama and Florida have sued the            River. Mexico is behind on its debt of
the state’s constitution to ban the use       into a political weapon for anyone           Corps to keep it from allocating more        billions of gallons of water it owes the
of gestation crates to confine pregnant       with a personal agenda and the check-        water for Atlanta. Georgia has joined        United States under a 1944 water treaty.
pigs, after animal rights activists se-       book to back it up.”                         the lawsuit on the side of the Corps.           That treaty commits the United
cured enough signatures to put the ini-          FFBF said such ballot initiatives by-       Meanwhile, in Oklahoma and sev-            States to allocate water to Mexico from
tiative on the ballot. The success of         pass the normal legislative process,         eral other states, the enemy is not          the Colorado River, which it continues
that effort, led by a group called Farm       where the true impact, rationale and         other water uses, but an ornamental,         to do, and commits Mexico to provide
Sanctuary, has the Florida Farm Bureau        costs of a constitutional amendment          invasive tree that is soaking up water       a third of the water in the Rio Grande
Federation (FFBF) working to “raise the       must be taken into account.                  from streams, lakes and rivers. Salt ce-     to the United States, something Mex-
bar” for passing such ballot initiatives         Water quantity remains a top issue        dar, or tamarisk, trees were planted in      ico has failed to do since 1992. South
in the future.                                in many parts of the South where             the early 1900s to prevent erosion of        Texas farmers depend on water from
   FFBF supports requiring at least 60        water was once considered plentiful.         streambanks due to flooding. The             the Rio Grande for irrigation, and sev-
percent of state voters to approve a bal-     Farmers are in a fight for their share       hardy trees have done their job all too      eral of the last few years have been dif-
lot initiative in order to pass it, up from   of a shrinking resource as drought           well, and have multiplied aggressively       ficult for them because of drought.
the simple majority required now.             and development have drawn down              over the years.                                 Kenneth Dierschke, TFB president,
   Voters will sign just about any peti-      reservoirs.                                    Because a single tree can absorb as        said recently that Mexico clearly “in-
tion if supporters show it in a positive         For example, the city of Atlanta, Ga.,    much as 200 gallons of water a day,          tends to ignore this treaty for as long
light, without disclosing any of the          a few years back asked the Corps of          several states have made it a priority to    as they are allowed to.” He said the
potential downsides, according to             Engineers to increase withdrawals from       eradicate them.                              U.S. government has not been aggres-
FFBF. And, because professional signa-        the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint           Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Sen.        sive enough in requiring Mexico to
ture gatherers hired by special interests     Rivers Basin to satisfy demand by            Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) want to give          make good on its water debt. Negotia-
get paid to collect as many signatures        Atlanta’s booming population. Florida        them some help. They have each intro-        tions to resolve the dispute have been
as possible, there’s an incentive for         and Alabama oppose the increase, fear-       duced bills authorizing federal funds        fruitless.
them to misrepresent the content of a         ing it would reduce oyster and fish har-     for salt cedar eradication projects. The        Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)
petition if that’s what it takes to get       vests for commercial and recreational        House passed its bill, H.R. 2707, in Feb-    has secured $20 million in federal
the job done, Farm Bureau said.               fishing, and reduce the amount of wa-        ruary. The Senate could take up its ver-     assistance for Texas farmers who have
   “The system has been hijacked,” said       ter available for agricultural irrigation.   sion, S. 1516, soon.                         been harmed by the loss of irrigation
Lee Ann Fisch, FFBF assistant director           The states used to share water in the       Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) is keeping         water. TFB has expressed appreciation
for state legislative affairs. “What          basin under a tri-state compact. How-        an eye on an ongoing dispute with            to Hutchison for focusing on the
started out as a tool for authentic           ever, the compact expired last year.         Mexico over water in the Rio Grande          problem.
Page 6                                                                    Farm Bureau             news                                                                April 5, 2004

   CAPITAL UPDATE

EPA to assess the health of the nation’s streams
The Environmental Protection Agency            would like EPA to explain to agriculture       in-stream water quality, but when it        entific instrument down into a stream
plans to test 600 streams around the           how it plans to do the assessment and          comes to measuring human-induced            and know for sure where a particle of
country over the next year to deter-           how it plans to report the results.”           stresses, “the plan fails the scientific    sediment came from? The answer is
mine their ecological condition. The              EPA’s goal is to generate a statistically   test big time,” he said.                    no. So it’s unclear how EPA is going to
result will be a report on stream health       valid estimate of the quality of the             Parrish said EPA’s plan neglects to       tell the difference.”
nationwide, sometime in 2005.                  nation’s waters. To do so, the agency          define the “human-induced stresses”           He said Farm Bureau’s concern is
   The agency already tested, from 2000        plans to measure: (1) the biological in-       or the extent to which they can be          that the people who do the tests could
until now, nearly half the streams it          tegrity of the assessed waters by com-         measured. Even more troubling, he           assume that just because a farm is near
plans to sample. The remainder will be         paring each monitoring site to “natural,       said, is the fact that EPA’s plan does      a stream it must be the source of any
sampled throughout this year, prob-            unmanaged sites;” (2) the health of            not distinguish between natural and         pollution. One way AFBF hopes to
ably beginning in May.                         aquatic ecosystems by assessing the im-        human stresses.                             avoid that is by finding out when and
   The American Farm Bureau Federa-            pacts that chemical and physical                 “That means in-stream water quality       where the assessments will occur and
tion wants to ensure that EPA’s testing        changes such as contamination by toxic         will be related to land use and eco-        having individual Farm Bureau mem-
is done correctly and scientifically, and      waste, acidification, sedimentation,           nomic activity, without any meaning-        bers observe the process. Parrish said
that the agency informs the agriculture        salinization and temperature have on           ful measure of how to relate the activ-     that would also help farmers and
industry about what is being tested            aquatic life; and (3) the ability to catch     ity to water quality,” Parrish explained.   ranchers see what they are dealing
and how the testing will be done.              fish and the ability of humans and ani-        “For example, my grandfather had a          with in their local water bodies.
AFBF is asking EPA to brief the indus-         mals to safely eat the harvested fish.         cornfield that consistently produced          “Most farmers want to know about
try about its plans.                              The initiative is designed to take a        over 150 bushels of corn per acre and       the health of the natural resources in
   “We believe that scientific monitor-        one-time snapshot of in-stream water           that cornfield just happened to border      their area,” he said.
ing of streams is a good thing,” said          quality and associate it with human-           his cow pasture. If he had used EPA’s         Other Farm Bureau concerns include
Don Parrish, AFBF senior director of           induced stresses. Parrish said his re-         methodology, he could have concluded        who is going to be doing the testing,
regulatory relations. “Whether there is        view of the agency’s project plan indi-        that his cow pasture was the reason his     whether they will use the same meth-
good news or bad news about a stream’s         cates that the streams assessment can          cornfield was so productive when, in        ods and the fact that there is little to
health, we think farmers would rather          scientifically achieve one of those two        fact, the cow pasture probably had          no baseline data to indicate whether
know about it. We are just learning,           goals. EPA has detailed the scientific         nothing to do with it.                      stream health is improving, getting
however, about this initiative and             procedures it plans to use to measure            “Can anyone reach his hand or sci-        worse or staying about the same.



Budget should lead to death tax repeal; protect farm bill
The next federal budget should ensure             Protecting or extending planned tax            House leaders, meanwhile, sup-           limitations in mid-season would be
that the federal death tax gets perma-         cuts was the major point of contention         ported pay-go enforcement for spend-        unfair and harmful to farm families
nently repealed and leave the 2002             in the budget negotiations. In crafting        ing increases, but not tax cuts. But the    and rural communities.”
farm bill and other agricultural pro-          its version of the spending plan, the          gap between the two chambers was               Stallman also urged the conferees to
grams intact, Farm Bureau told con-            Senate approved an amendment reviv-            not all procedural: the House voted for     reject the House provision that would
gressional negotiators who were trying         ing the “pay-go” (pay-as-you-go) provi-        $138 billion in tax cuts; the Senate        cut agricultural spending by $371 mil-
to reach agreement on the fiscal 2005          sion of the ’90s, which means lawmak-          voted for just $80.6 billion.               lion. The proposed cut, he noted,
budget resolution last week.                   ers are supposed to provide offsets for           If the final spend-and-tax blueprint     would threaten conservation pro-
  “Permanent death tax repeal is a pri-        any spending increase or tax cut that          tilts toward the Senate figure, it will     grams, ag research, rural development
ority for Farm Bureau,” said American          could increase the deficit.                    make it difficult to enact all the hoped-   and global hunger relief efforts.
Farm Bureau Federation President                  In other words, if you want a tax           for tax cuts, such as full and perma-          Congress is supposed to produce a
Bob Stallman in a letter to the House-         cut, you must cut spending elsewhere.          nent death tax repeal.                      final budget resolution by April 15,
Senate conference committee work-              Or if you want to increase spending,              On the farm program front, Farm          although it often misses the deadline.
ing on the budget. “We urge a budget           raise taxes somewhere else. To com-            Bureau urged the budget conferees to        Since it serves as the roadmap for con-
resolution that sets aside funds for           pound the problem, the amendment               reject tighter payment limitations that     gressional actions on appropriations
death tax repeal legislation under             requires 60 senators to vote to override       were included in the Senate version.        and taxes, it does not have to be
reconciliation.”                               the pay-go rule.                               Stallman said that “changing payment        signed by the president.




New tobacco buyout bill
continued from page 1                          said earlier this year. “North Carolina’s
as the agriculture appropriations bill         rural economy is seeing millions of dol-
this year.                                     lars in tobacco income disappear over-
   “They realize it will be difficult if not   seas—primarily to Brazil. It is out of
impossible to pass stand-alone legisla-        control, and it hurts family farms, rural
tion in an election year, when mem-            communities and North Carolina’s eco-
bers are anxious to get out and cam-           nomic recovery. The only realistic an-
paign,” Brooks said. “There are only           swer to this crisis is a complete buyout
four months until the August recess, so        of the existing program.”
time is running out.”                            Domestic and export demand for
   North Carolina is the nation’s top          U.S. tobacco has been declining for
tobacco production state, and Larry            decades. Higher cigarette taxes due to
Wooten, North Carolina Farm Bureau             the settlement of several states’ lawsuit
president, said a tobacco quota buyout         against the tobacco industry have
is needed sooner rather than later. The        made U.S. cigarettes more expensive
federal government cut the number of           and lowered consumption.
tobacco quota acres by more than 10              Meanwhile, the cost for producers to
percent for 2004 because of sluggish           buy or lease quota is rising as the Agri-
industry demand for U.S. tobacco.              culture Department cuts the demand-
   “It’s crisis time on the farm,” Wooten      based quota each year.                                                                                           Source: USDA, FSA
April 5, 2004                                                          Farm Bureau            news                                                                            Page 7

                                                                                                                                               STATE FB LINKS

North Carolina farmers get involved in gleaning
One organization has found a way to          involvement of its own Sen. Elizabeth        food insecurity among U.S. house-              trying to reverse those figures.
salvage millions of tons of food to give     Dole. Having gleaned alongside other         holds rose from 10.7 percent to 11.1             SoSA organizes gleaning events in 18
to the poor at no cost, using the an-        volunteers on North Carolina farms,          percent from 2001 to 2002. The same            states. Volunteers with churches and
cient method of gleaning. The Society        she understands and supports SoSA’s          time frame also revealed an increase of        civic groups comprise the bulk of the
of Saint Andrew (SoSA) heads up a            mission to salvage food for the benefit      food insecurity associated with hunger         workers. Events include picking berries
project that retrieves leftover produce      of the needy.                                from 3.3 percent to 3.5 percent.               at pick-it-yourself patches after the
from harvested fields and delivers it to        “Instead of allowing this food to go        For example, on a typical day in             picking season. One event harvested
the needy.                                   to waste, the Society of St. Andrew, a       November 2002, between 517,000                 citrus fruit from the backyards of Flor-
  This month’s North Carolina Farm           national faith-based non-profit organi-      and 775,000 households contained at            ida residents, who otherwise found the
Bureau Leader features a story on            zation, is using it to feed the hungry.      least one person hungry because the            fallen fruits on their lawn a nuisance.
SoSA’s “The Gleaning Network” and            The Society of St. Andrew is incredibly      household could not afford food.               SoSA salvaged 60,000 pounds of citrus
how North Carolinians have been in-          efficient and provides for one of our        Meanwhile, USDA reported that up to            with this event alone.
volved with the organization since           most basic human needs,” Sen. Dole           one-fifth of America’s food goes to              The Society of Saint Andrew is a
1992. Farmers allow volunteers with          said.                                        waste each year. The Journal of the            Christian ministry created in 1979
the project to take the produce that            According to SoSA, millions of tons       American Dietetic Association said in          with goals of delivering food and serv-
remains in their fields after a harvest.     of edible produce are left in fields after   2002 that of all the food wasted in            ing the hungry. “The Gleaning Net-
The Leader says that the economy is          harvesting for a number of market rea-       the United States, approximately 20            work” is one of three hunger-advocacy
affected by the project because not          sons. “The Gleaning Network” sal-            percent was fresh produce. SoSA is             projects undertaken by SoSA.
only do the needy benefit by receiv-         vaged and delivered 28.5 million serv-
ing the free food, but farmers, pack-        ings of that produce to 900,000 fami-
ers and shippers save the cost of            lies in 2003 alone.                          FB NEWSMAKERS
                                                                                                 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○
dumping their excess produce and                The Agriculture Department’s Eco-
materials.                                   nomic Research Service said in its most      Hiram E. Davis Jr., vice president of          vice president of Associated Country
  Important to North Carolina is the         recent report on U.S. food security that     Mississippi Farm Bureau since 1996,            Women of the World. She also served
                                                                                          died March 10 at the age of 56. Davis          in the Mississippi legislature. She
                                                                                          was an active Farm Bureau member, the          received the MFBF Distinguished Ser-
AFBF welcomes new staff, promotes Wolff                                                   first vice president of Mississippi Farm       vice Award in 1992 and the American
Julie Anna Potts                             tion that Bob Shepard is leaving in or-      Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., a district        Farm Bureau Federation Distinguished
joined the                                   der to become Minnesota Farm Bu-             director for three years, president of Gre-    Service Award in 1993. AFBF has cre-
American Farm                                reau’s chief administrator. Wolff has        nada County Farm Bureau and was                ated an agricultural education fund in
Bureau Federa-                               served as senior                             serving on the county’s Farm Bureau            honor of White and Linda Reinhardt of
tion April 5 as                              director of lead-                            Board and on the board of Southern             Kansas, and the MFBF board of direc-
general counsel.                             ership develop-                              Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co.             tors has established a Berta Lee White
She replaced                                 ment for the                                 Davis was also a member of the Missis-         Scholarship fund.
John Rade-                                   last seven years.                            sippi Cattlemen’s Association, the Amer-
                                                                                                                                         The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has
macher, who re-                                Prior to join-                             ican Soybean Association and the Delta
                                                                                                                                         named Rocky Black as director of
tired in January.                            ing AFBF, Wolff                              Council.
                                                                                                                                         state legislative affairs. Black will
   For the last                              was the director                             Chair of the Mississippi Farm Bureau           represent the interests of Farm Bureau
four years, Potts           Potts            of training at                               Federation Women’s Committee, Berta            members with the Ohio General Assem-
was an associate                             Pennsylvania                                 Lee White, 89, died March 9. White held        bly and state government agencies. He
with the law firm Mayer, Brown, Rowe         Farm Bureau for                              her chair position for 47 years and was        was previously managing owner of
and Maw, where she represented AFBF          two years.                                   chair of the American Farm Bureau              Public Policy Solutions, a government
                                                                        Wolff
on federal regulations concerning con-         Wolff earned                               Federation Women’s Committee for 12            affairs consulting company, and has
centrated animal feeding operations,         a master’s degree in organization de-        years. She also served as a chair of the       served as Gov. George Voinovich’s chief
water quality and other environmental        velopment from Loyola University and         Country Women’s Council U.S.A. and as          liaison with the General Assembly.
issues. She also advised clients on legis-   a bachelor’s degree in English from
lative, regulatory and public relations      Penn State University. She grew up on
strategies concerning the regulatory ac-     a dairy farm in western Pennsylvania.
tions of the Environmental Protection        She and her husband, Marty, live in
Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engi-         the Washington, D.C., area.
neers and the Surface Transportation           Terrence
Board.                                       Nowlin joined
   Prior to joining Mayer, Brown, Potts      AFBF April 1 as
served as an associate in the environ-       assistant editor
mental and litigation practice groups        of Farm Bureau
with the Sonnenschein, Nath and              News.
Rosenthal law firm and as a law clerk          Nowlin will
in the U.S. District Court for the Dis-      be responsible
trict of Columbia.                           for writing and
   Potts will represent AFBF in judicial,    photography, as
administrative and regulatory matters,       well as assisting
and she will serve as a member of the        with the layout          Nowlin
AFBF management team. She earned             of the paper.
her law degree from George Washing-            Prior to joining AFBF, Nowlin
ton University in Washington, D.C.           worked on the public affairs staff of
She is a native of Alabama, where her        the University of Georgia, where he re-
family continues to own farmland. She        ceived his master’s degree in mass           State visits
and her husband, Parks Shackelford,          communication last December.                 A group of New York Farm Bureau leaders visited Washington, D.C., last week
have 13-month-old twin daughters               Nowlin is a native of Stuart, Va., and     to lobby their congressional delegation and hear the latest information about
and live in Arlington, Va.                   earned his bachelor’s degree in media        a range of agricultural issues. NYFB is one of several state Farm Bureaus that
   Effective May 1, AFBF is promoting        arts and design from James Madison           are sending members to the nation’s capital for this year’s American Farm
Margee Wolff to the position of direc-       University in May 2002. He currently         Bureau Federation “state visits.”
tor of leadership development, a posi-       resides in Alexandria, Va.
Page 8                                                                Farm Bureau            news                                                                     April 5, 2004

  GRASSROOTS

Food prices rise in first quarter                                                                                                           Corn plantings
Retail prices for food at the supermar-                                                    • Bacon, up 9 cents to $3.00 per                 flat, soybeans up
ket rose in the first quarter of 2004,                                                   pound;                                             The number of acres the Agricul-
according to the latest American Farm                                                      • Mayonnaise, up 7 cents to $3.27                ture Department expects farmers
Bureau Federation marketbasket                                                           per 32-oz. jar;                                    to plant in corn this year is up
survey.                                                                                    • Russet potatoes, up 6 cents to                 only about 250,000 acres from
   The informal survey on the total cost                                                 $1.96 per pound;                                   2003, compared with earlier esti-
of 16 basic grocery items showed an                                                        • Bread, up 5 cents to $1.36 per 20-             mates that corn plantings would
increase of $2.41 from the 2003 fourth                                                   oz. loaf; and                                      increase by more than 1 million
quarter survey. The $39.84 average                                                         • Sirloin tip roast, up 2 cents to               acres.
paid by volunteer shoppers for the 16                                                    $3.52 per pound.                                      Meanwhile, USDA estimates this
items is also $3.78 higher than the                                                        Two items showed decreases in aver-              year’s soybean acreage at 2 million
2003 first quarter survey average of                                                     age price. After rising 26 cents in the            higher than last year’s acreage.
$36.06.                                                                                  fourth quarter of 2003, milk dropped 2                Even with good yield, corn pro-
   While survey averages have in-                                                        cents to $2.87 per gallon. After rising            duction is likely to be less than
creased over the last year, food re-                                                     29 cents in the fourth quarter of 2003,            current projected demand for
mains affordable overall. Since its in-                                                  ground chuck dropped 1 cent to $2.48               2004-2005. Carryover stocks in the
ception in 1989, the AFBF marketbask-                                                    per pound.                                         next crop year are expected to
et survey average has increased at a                                                       After dropping 1 cent in the fourth              drop by another 140 million bush-
rate lower than other cost-of-living                                                     quarter of 2003, toasted oat cereal re-            els from already tight stocks pro-
increases.                                                                               mained the same in price, at $3.00 per             jections. That means prices for all
   Of the 16 items surveyed, 13 in-             Francl said a substantial portion of     10-oz. box.                                        feed grains could go up, according
creased, two decreased and one re-            the increase in overall food prices can      Despite steady increases in grocery              to an American Farm Bureau Fed-
mained the same in average price              be attributed to the general upward        store average prices over time, the                eration analysis of USDA’s quar-
compared to the 2003 fourth quarter           trend in energy prices, which directly     share of the average food dollar re-               terly grain stocks report, released
survey.                                       affects costs associated with food proc-   ceived by America’s farm and ranch                 March 31.
   Vegetable oil showed the largest in-       essing and distribution.                   families has actually dropped.                        Terry Francl, AFBF senior econo-
crease, up 48 cents to $2.76 per 32-oz.         After falling 21 cents in the fourth       “This reflects a long-standing trend,”           mist, the author of the analysis,
bottle, followed closely by corn oil, up      quarter of 2003, flour rose 28 cents, to   said Francl. “Thirty years ago farmers             said the latest projections are a bit
46 cents to $3.09 per 32-oz. bottle.          $1.62 per 5-pound bag.                     received one-third of consumer retail              surprising, since corn has set yield
   “The higher vegetable oil prices re-         Other items that increased in price      food expenditures.”                                records lately while soybean yields
flect the impact of drastically reduced       included:                                    According to the most recent Agri-               have been below par. But, he said,
domestic and international stocks of            • Apples, up 24 cents to $1.22 per       culture Department statistics, Amer-               one reason for the relatively flat
soybeans and the resulting upward             pound;                                     ica’s farmers and ranchers receive just            corn plantings could be the higher
pressure on soybean oil prices,” said           • Whole fryers, up 22 cents to $1.24     19 cents out of every dollar spent for             cost of fuel and anhydrous ammo-
AFBF Senior Economist Terry Francl.           per pound;                                 food. Using that across-the-board per-             nia fertilizer. Natural gas, which is
“This upward trend in vegetable oil             • Pork chops, up 19 cents to $3.42       centage, the farmer’s share of this                in short supply, is the main com-
prices at the retail level will likely con-   per pound;                                 quarter’s marketbasket average total               ponent of nitrogen fertilizer. Farm-
tinue, as carry-over soybean stocks at          • Eggs, up 19 cents to $1.57 per         would be about $7.57.                              ers can switch to soybeans, which
the end of this crop year (Sept. 1) are       dozen;                                       AFBF conducts its informal quarterly             don’t need nitrogen fertilizer and
projected to be the lowest in more              • Cheddar cheese, up 9 cents to          marketbasket survey as a tool to reflect           require less fuel to complete the
than 25 years.”                               $3.46 per pound;                           retail food price trends.                          growing cycle.
                                                                                                                                               Other findings in USDA’s report

USDA unveils rural outreach initiative                                                                                                      include 900,000 more cotton acres
                                                                                                                                            than projected earlier and 2.2 mil-
                                                                                                                                            lion fewer acres of wheat.
The Agriculture Department recently                                                      on its programs. The department
unveiled a new branding strategy to                                                      hopes its new branding strategy will
help the public identify its rural devel-                                                remedy that problem.
                                                                                                                                    NEWSPAPER HANDLING




opment agencies and programs. The de-                                                       John Dorr, the department’s former
partment is applying one brand, USDA                                                     under secretary for rural development,
Rural Development, to the agencies                                                       last year hosted a meeting of 600 of
that provide some $17 billion a year in                                                  the agency’s managers to talk about
loans, grants and technical assistance           Both REA and FmHA used to have          the importance of marketing to the
for the development of rural housing,         strong identities. REA is known for        agency’s outreach efforts. They devel-
business and community infrastructure.        bringing electricity to some of the        oped a new branding strategy and a
  While the rural development mis-            nation’s most rural areas from the         new logo for the agency. The logo has
sion area at the department will con-         1940s through the 1960s. FmHA,             a new tagline, “Committed to the fu-
tinue to consist of a handful of indi-        which provided financing for low-in-       ture of rural communities.” The new
vidual agencies—the Rural Housing             come people to buy homes, used to          logo and tagline communicate a “clear,
Service, the Rural Business-Cooperative       have offices in 1,700 of the 3,000         clean and positive brand position for
Service and the Rural Utilities Service—      counties in the country and was a very     USDA Rural Development and our mis-
they will now have a more unified             recognizable brand, according to           sion to increase economic opportunity
identity for outreach purposes.               USDA. FmHA also provided farm              and improve the quality of life in rural
  The department’s current rural de-          loans, but the Farm Service Agency         America,” the agency said.
velopment agencies and programs               took over that responsibility as part of     An agency guide on the new brand-
                                                                                                                                    FARM BUREAU NEWS




have had a somewhat fragmented                the reorganization.                        ing strategy states, “By helping evoke
identity since they were created during          Today’s 800 Rural Development of-       images of idyllic small towns, where
a reorganization of USDA 10 years ago.        fices are located in what’s called         people pursue a quality of life based on
Before then, the agencies were known          “USDA Service Centers,” with little or     trust, honesty, family, a strong work
as the Farmers Home Administration            no identification specific to the mis-     ethic and respect, being Committed to
(FmHA), the Rural Development Ad-             sion area. The department said that        the Future of Rural Communities is
ministration and the Rural Electrifica-       lack of identity has created challenges    being committed to basic American
tion Administration (REA).                    in providing information and outreach      values worth protecting.”

				
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