April 17, 2014

North Dakota Congressman Cramer To Host Farm Bill Seminar

Congressman Kevin Cramer announced he will bring two senior staff members of the House Agriculture Committee to Fargo for a public Farm Bill seminar and question-and-answer session. Matt Schertz, senior professional staff member, and Bart Fischer, chief economist of the Committee, will answer questions on the implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill for agriculture representatives, crop insurance agents, and the public.

“Since the farm bill was signed into law, many agriculture professionals have questions on how it is being implemented. With the expanded crop insurance options presented in the new Farm Bill, farmers are confronted with decisions which will have multi-year consequences. In bringing to North Dakota two of the experts most involved in drafting and negotiating the Farm Bill, my hope is to provide answers and guidance,” said Cramer.

Event details are below:

Friday, May 2

 Seminar and Q&A Session with Senior Agriculture Committee Staff

10:00am to 12:00pm

Auditorium, Room 100

1305 19th Ave North



Food Safety Modernization Act Poses Challenges For Livestock

Many industries are asking the Food and Drug Administration to exempt American brewers from draft regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act – according to DTN. The groups believe proposed livestock feed regulations would impose additional costs and make it difficult for producers to use spent grains for animal feed. The Beer Institute – one of the organizations opposing the rule – has worked for more than a year to present scientific-based arguments on this issue.

Beer Institute Vice President of Communications Chris Thorne says the marketing of spent grains has been used for centuries. Since humans already consume beer – Thorne says the production is held to exceptionally high standards. He says the grains are produced in a swift, sanitary and safe manner – and often are consumed by animals within 24 hours of being separated from the beer. The institute has calculated the proposed rule would cost a single large brewery as much as 13.6-million dollars per year to comply.

The National Milk Producers Federation argues the proposed rule incorrectly imposes safety standards on animal feed similar to those for human food. NMPF Senior Vice President of Communications Chris Galen says the proposal is something FDA is creating when there isn’t a problem to correct – as feeding spent grains to cattle has never been demonstrated as a health concern. The deadline for a final, published rule is August 30, 2015.


Ag Organizations Testify On Rail Issues

Several agricultural organizations had representatives speak before the Surface Transportation Board at a public hearing on rail service issues yesterday (Thursday). Minnesota soybean farmer Lance Peterson told the board how soybeans are being impacted by transportation costs as more than 50-percent of U.S. soybeans are exported – with a value of more than 28-billion dollars in 2013. Peterson says many in the world rely on U.S. soybean farmers to meet their protein and vegetable oil demands – and farmers rely on trucks, rail and barges to move products to those markets. He says the real issue is the shifting of rail assets to the rapidly expanding oil industry occurring at the expense of longstanding shippers who rely on rail movement to conduct business.

Growth Energy Director of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley testified ethanol price spikes have not been caused by a lack of ethanol production or supply – but purely because of an inability to get timely rail transportation. Bliley says many plants have reduced – or halted – production because their storage capacity is fully utilized. On top of that – he says the ethanol industry has seen increased tariff rates on certain routes with very little notice. The bottom line – according to Bliley – is the railroad industry has failed in its sole responsibility to transport goods in a timely and effective manner – which has had a ripple effect on American consumers.