Charles's Feed
Sep 30, 2013

USDA will mostly “go dark” in case of federal shutdown

WASHINGTON, Sept 30 (Reuters) – The U.S. Agriculture
Department will shut off its gusher of statistical reports in
the event of a federal government shutdown, leaving traders and
food producers in the dark about most activities in the world’s
largest farm exporter.

But inspections of meat are considered among essential
services that will continue even if most workers are idled.

Sep 27, 2013

Analysis: U.S. farm bill, a year overdue, still rolling on slow track

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The new U.S. farm bill, already a year behind schedule, is on the congressional equivalent of a slow freight train – rolling from acrimony to limbo with a layover in stalemate. And Washington’s disputes over the federal budget and national debt could mean further delays.

A stopgap extension of current law runs out on Monday. Negotiators from the House of Representatives and the Senate may take up the bill in the next week or two.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S. tries to pare sugar surplus as high subsidies loom

WASHINGTON, Sept 26 (Reuters) – The Agriculture Department
trimmed the mammoth U.S. sugar surplus marginally on Thursday
and said it would make a final effort to avert nearly $250
million in subsidy costs that are set to arise next week.

USDA said it reduced the sugar supply by 39,833 tonnes
(43,896 tons) through a swap of surplus sugar for retired
credits held by processors that allow importation of sugar for
refining and re-export.

Sep 24, 2013

U.S. senator asks CFTC to look into biofuel credit pricing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the Senate Agriculture Committee asked the regulator of U.S. futures markets on Tuesday to probe whether traders manipulated the price of biofuel credits that soared over the summer and were blamed for raising gasoline prices.

In a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said she was concerned about “possible manipulation of the markets for Renewable Identification Numbers,” the formal name for RINs.

Sep 20, 2013

House approves bill with deep food stamp spending cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-run House of Representatives voted to cut spending on food stamps for the poor by $40 billion over 10 years on Thursday, defying a veto threat from the White House in the name of fiscal reform.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the driving force behind the legislation, said it was “wrong for working, middle-class people to pay” for abuse of the program, whose costs have skyrocketed in recent years.

Sep 19, 2013

House approves $40 billion cut in food stamps over 10 years

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-run House of Representatives voted to cut spending on food stamps for the poor by $40 billion over 10 years on Thursday, defying a veto threat from the White House in the name of fiscal reform.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the driving force behind the legislation, said it was “wrong for working, middle-class people to pay” for abuse of the program, whose costs have skyrocketed in recent years.

Sep 18, 2013

Make healthy food cool to kids, Michelle Obama asks TV executives

WASHINGTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – First Lady Michelle Obama
asked television and food company executives at a White House
gathering on Wednesday to sell youngsters on healthy food with
the pitch: “If anyone can make our kids eat their vegetables,
it’s all of you.”

Mrs. Obama cited the power of advertising, now a torrent
touting salty, fatty and sugary goodies, in calling for a switch
to marketing, “foods that have real nutritional value, foods
that are fortified with real fruit and vegetables, whole grains
and low-fat dairy.”

Sep 18, 2013

White House vows to veto Republican bill to cut food stamps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Wednesday threatened to veto a Republican-written bill nearing a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives that would cut food stamps for the poor by $40 billion over a decade and end benefits for an estimated 4 million people.

Representatives are likely to vote on the bill on Thursday. A close vote is expected. The White House threat capped a day of high-decibel opposition by congressional Democrats and antihunger groups who called the cuts harsh and heartless.

Sep 18, 2013

U.S. offers to sell surplus sugar for biofuel at a loss

WASHINGTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. government offered
on Wednesday to sell surplus sugar to biofuel makers, turning to
an initiative created during the early days of the ethanol boom
in an effort to alleviate the highest sugar subsidy costs in a
decade.

The Agriculture Department has tried repeatedly since June
to whittle down an oversupply that has depressed futures prices
and created the possibility of a default on $258.7
million in USDA price support loans on Sept. 30.

Sep 16, 2013

Farm bill might violate trade rules: U.S. business groups

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The new U.S. farm bill might violate World Trade Organization rules against trade-distorting subsidies, major U.S. business groups said on Monday in an appeal to lawmakers to revamp the bill, which is already facing slim odds of passage.

An adverse decision by the WTO could expose U.S. exports to retaliatory tariffs if there is a challenge. It would be an ironic turn, since the farm bill was intended in part to resolve a WTO ruling against U.S. cotton subsidies.