Charles's Feed
Feb 25, 2013

White House mulls new global food aid approach: send cash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House may soon propose the biggest change in U.S. food aid since the programs were created during the Cold War – donating cash for hunger relief instead of shipping American-grown food thousands of miles to global trouble spots, say farm groups and charities.

Reformers have argued for years that cash donations, the method used by most nations, are more efficient and speedier. But food donation has been the favored U.S. approach since the Food for Peace program was enacted in 1954.

Feb 22, 2013

USDA forecasts record U.S. corn and soy, lower prices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday projected a rebound in U.S. corn and soybean yields in 2013 that, along with high planted acreage, opens the door to record-large crops and for prices to tumble from 2012/13 levels.

The USDA forecast the U.S. corn crop at 14.350 billion bushels, up 35 percent on the year, and soybean output at 3.405 billion bushels, up 13 percent.

Feb 21, 2013

USDA forecasts record U.S. corn and soy crops, lower prices

WASHINGTON, Feb 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture on
Thursday projected a rebound in U.S. corn and soybean yields in 2013 that, along
with high planted acreage, opens the door to record-large crops and for prices
to tumble from 2012/13 levels.

The USDA forecast the U.S. corn crop at 14.350 billion bushels, up 35
percent on the year, and soybean output at 3.405 billion bushels, up 13 percent.

Feb 21, 2013

Budget cuts won’t hit meat inspectors immediately: USDA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Although federal budget cuts are scheduled for March 1, it could be months before a threatened shutdown of U.S. meat plants would occur because of a furlough of meat inspectors, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday.

Vilsack said work rules vary for USDA employees, who get from 30 to as many as 120 days, or four months, notice of impending layoffs.

Feb 21, 2013

U.S. deserves top mad-cow rating, health officials say

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The United States is expected
to get the top safety rating for mad cow disease in spring,
under a recommendation from international livestock health
experts that was greeted on Wednesday as a sure-fire boost to
U.S. beef exports.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the recommended
upgrade, to “negligible” from “controlled” risk, was proof that
U.S. beef meets the highest safety standards in the world. A
trade group, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, said the move was
“a big step forward towards enhancing our export opportunities.”

Feb 19, 2013

Budget cuts would close meat plants and parks, cause layoffs-USDA

WASHINGTON, Feb 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. Agriculture
Department would furlough up to one-third of its workers if
automatic spending cuts take effect at the end of the month, the
agency warned, with effects ranging from a two-week shutdown of
meat plants to summertime closure of hundreds of national forest
campgrounds.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described the impact of
the cuts, amounting to $2 billion, in a letter that warned
“these furloughs and other actions would severely disrupt our
ability to provide a broad range of public services.”

Feb 14, 2013

Drought joins U.S. farmers in the field for spring planting

WASHINGTON, Feb 14 (Reuters) – U.S. farmers will plant crops
this spring under the shadow of a persistent drought that grips
prime farmland from the Mississippi River to the Rocky
Mountains, with grain supplies already tight from drought losses
in 2012.

In all, 56 percent of the contiguous United States is under
moderate to exceptional drought, twice the usual amount, the
Senate Agriculture Committee was told on Thursday.

Feb 8, 2013

Budget cuts may shut down meatpackers -White House

WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) – The Obama administration
warned on Friday that across-the-board spending cuts set to take
effect in March may result in furloughing every U.S. meat and
poultry inspector for two weeks, causing the meat industry to
shut down.

By law, meatpackers and processors are not allowed to ship
beef, pork, lamb and poultry meat without the Agriculture
Department’s inspection seal.

Feb 5, 2013

U.S. CBO projects record 2013 corn crop

WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) – U.S. farmers will plant huge
amounts corn and soybeans this year, producing a record corn
crop and ending three years of razor-thin supplies barring
weather problems, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office projected
on Tuesday.

The CBO projected a corn crop of 14.454 billion bushels,
which would be the biggest ever, and a soybean crop of 3.306
billion bushels, the third-largest on record.

Feb 1, 2013

Rules call for swing to healthier snacks in schools

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Snacks sold in U.S. schools would need to be lower in fat, salt and sugar and include more nutritious items like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, under standards proposed on Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The proposal, more than a year overdue, also calls for a limit of 200 calories on items sold during the school day at vending machines or other venues outside the school lunch line.