May 23, 2015

Trade Promotion Authority Passes Major Senate Hurdle

mitch-mcconnell-floor-speech-conTwelve Democrats joined 50 Republicans to end a Senate filibuster of President Obama’s top domestic priority – trade promotion authority. The vote greased the skids for final Senate passage of TPA – needed to secure a Trans Pacific trade deal among the U.S. and 11 Pacific nations – which could dramatically boost U.S. farm exports to Asia. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the Senate floor…

McConnell

Finance Chair Orrin Hatch crafted the TPA bill and stressed the importance of the latest vote as debate wound down on TPA…

Hatch

The Democrats’ filibuster was broken by a deal to vote on a measure to renew the controversial export import bank. Top Finance Democrat Ron Wyden…

Wyden

Thursday’s vote was seen giving TPA supporters the votes needed for final Senate passage of fast track – a huge win for major farm groups. An even tougher battle still looms in the U.S. House.

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CommonGround North Dakota Aims To Connect Consumers With Their Food

From left to right, top row: Joey Tigges, Durbin, ND; Annie White Carlson, Mercer, ND; Ronda Throener, Cogswell, ND; Front Row, left to right Julie Peterson, Harwood, ND; Vanessa Kummer, Colfax, ND

From left to right, top row: Joey Tigges, Durbin, ND; Annie White Carlson, Mercer, ND; Ronda Throener, Cogswell, ND; Front Row, left to right Julie Peterson, Harwood, ND; Vanessa Kummer, Colfax, ND

 

Conversations about farming and food.  That’s the motto of the CommonGround   group tasked with connecting consumers with the farmers who grow their food.  Their goal is to show that food comes from people, not factories and to educate consumers about production methods and practices.  Those efforts couldn’t have been more evident than it was Monday at the Women’s Health Conference in Fargo, North Dakota.  GMO’s, Corporate Farming, and Pollinator Health may all seem like unusual topics for such an event, but they took center stage at the Clarity in Food Choices panel put on by CommonGround ND.

 

 

 

The panel consisted of five women of varying agricultural backgrounds from across the state, all of whom were more than willing to discuss their respective industries.  Commonground  Volunteer and panel member Vanessa Kummer, a farmer from Colfax, ND:

Kummer 1

The North Dakota group is a member of a larger, national movement:

Kummer 2

As part of CommonGround ND efforts to connect consumers with their food, the group has created its signature event, banquet in a field.  Last year’s event was hosted by Peterson Farm Seeds.  Commonground volunteer Vanessa Kummer:

Kummer 3

Anyone interested in learning more about where their food comes from, or anyone interested in volunteering their time to help educate consumers on their farming methods, can visit www.findourcommonground.com.  If you’re looking for your state specific group, click on the Your Community tab.

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House Ag Committee Votes To Repeal COOL

Vote

With that, The House Ag Committee passed a bill this morning that would repeal the now offending Country of Origin labeling law.  The move is meant to preempt any retaliation measures by Canada or Mexico now that the U.S. is found to be out of compliance with international trade laws.  Not everyone is on board.  House Ag Ranking Member Colin Peterson of Minnesota:

Peterson 1

Peterson also saw other challenges ahead :

Peterson 2

Peterson was in the minority.  Livestock Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim Costa, Democrat out of California cautioned against the repercussions if Country of Origin Labeling were to remain the law of the land:

Costa 1

Schedules are such that the bill is unlikely to make it to the full House floor until June.   No word on when the Senate might consider a similar measure.

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