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  • Cattle industry fighting to bar "meat" and "beef" from plant-based protein packaging | CBS

    The nation's largest cattle industry lobby group is fighting to defend the traditional meaning of the word "meat." The U.S. Cattlemen's Association filed a petition last month with the Department of Agriculture arguing that "lab-grown and plant-based products should not use the terms 'meat' or 'beef'" on their labels. Kelly Fogarty, whose family has raised Black Angus cattle for five generations, represents hundreds of ranchers as the executive vice president of the U.S. Cattlemen's Association. For them, defining meat is easy. "We don't want them to think of a laboratory. We don't want them to think of something that's created under a microscope," Fogarty told CBS News' Jamie Yuccas.The association is concerned about the increase of animal-free products that have names like beef-less ground beef. The Cattlemen's federal petition argues "the labels of 'beef' or 'meat' should inform consumers that the product is derived naturally from animals as opposed to alternative proteins such as plants…artificially grown in a laboratory."But Ethan Brown, the CEO of Beyond Meat says it's time to rethink that definition. This isn't the first fight over food labeling. Dairy farmers have, so far, been unsuccessful in their battle to make the word "milk" exclusive to products from cows. In some stores, these animal-free alternatives are currently sold alongside their competitors. 

    Post date: Fri, 03/16/2018 - 12:57
  • Bill looks to legalize industrial hemp in Illinois | Illinois News

    Hemp could be in play as a new crop option for farmers in Illinois if a bill expanding its production passes the General Assembly. Bill Bodine, associate director of state legislation for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said Senate Bill 2298 would allow farmers to begin growing industrial hemp.“It is a bill that the Illinois Farm Bureau supports, though it is not our initiative,” Bodine said. “It would authorize the state Department of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp in the state of Illinois.”

    Post date: Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:01
  • Syngenta Agrees to Pay More Than $1.4 Billion in Corn Accord | Bloomberg

    Syngenta AG agreed to pay more than $1.4 billion to U.S. farmers who complained that the marketing of the company’s genetically modified corn seeds shut them out of the Chinese market, according to people familiar with the deal. The settlement with more than 100,000 farmers was announced Tuesday in a Minnesota class-action trial. It resolves all farmers’ litigation in the U.S. but doesn’t include Canadian lawsuits, according to Paul Minehart, a Syngenta spokesman. Minehart wouldn’t confirm the amount of the settlement, saying the terms will be made public when the deal is presented to a judge.The pact resulted from months of negotiations between a four-lawyer team representing farmers and Syngenta’s attorneys, according to the people familiar, who said they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the settlement. Syngenta halted the trial involving about 22,000 Minnesota farmers to announce the deal. Those farmers were seeking more than $400 million in damages over their corn losses.

    Post date: Thu, 03/15/2018 - 16:55
  • Michigan proposes partnership to help pay for new Asian carp controls | CSG Midwest

    Michigan has 3,000 miles of coastline and more Great Lakes water within its jurisdiction than any other state or province in the basin. But one of the big ecological threats to this freshwater system is well outside the state’s borders — in Illinois and Indiana, where invasive species of Asian carp would be most likely to enter the Great Lakes basin, via the Chicago Area Waterway System.Gov. Rick Snyder proposed that all of the Great Lakes states (along with Ontario) collectively pay for that $8 million in operations costs. His idea is for each jurisdiction to pitch in a percentage equal to its share of total Great Lakes surface water (see table). For example, 40.7 percent of the lakes’ surface water is in Michigan; that state would, in turn, provide $3.3 million of the $8 million.

    Post date: Thu, 03/15/2018 - 16:53
  • Obstacles to new NAFTA deal include process for resolving disputes, ‘rules of origin’ for autos | CSG Midwest

    Negotiators from Canada, Mexico and the United States have begun their seventh round of discussions for a new, or modernized, North American Free Trade Agreement. And while the dissolution of NAFTA seemed very likely several months ago, negotiations are still alive. To this point, results of the trilateral discussions have been mixed — consensus on some changes, but continued disagreement on issues such as dispute resolution and “rules of origin” that could ultimately block a new deal from being reached. According to Scotty Greenwood, CEO of the Canadian American Business Council, the big question right now is this: “Do the political leaders want to come to an agreement by late March?” If not, NAFTA discussions may halt because of Mexico’s pending presidential election. Greenwood sees three possible scenarios.1) Reach an agreement in the areas in most need of change, declare that NAFTA has been modernized, and conclude discussions. 2) Announce that there are no plans to tear up NAFTA, but that the agreement needs a comprehensive review and update. Under this scenario, negotiators would continue at their own pace. 
    3) The United States withdraws from NAFT0317-MI-brownfieldsA and tries to reach separate bilateral trade agreements.

    Post date: Thu, 03/15/2018 - 16:52

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Talk to your governor about the Opportunity Zones in your state

30 January, 2018

Qualified Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017


Farmland Taxes Under Discussion in the Midwest Again

23 January, 2017

Senator Jean Leising knows it’s going to be another tough year for beef and hog producers, and 2016’s record national yields for corn and soybeans indicate that farm profitability will decline for the third straight year.  She is convinced that “the drop in net farm income again this year makes the changes Indiana made to the farmland taxation calculation in 2016 even more important.”  


Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices.