Need to catch up? Here are some stories you might have missed this week.
1. White House farm bill report pressures lawmakers. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday echoed previous statements regarding the impact of the farm bill on rural America, this time unveiling a White House Rural Council report to back up his call for a bill by the end of the year. See the report's findings.
2. Farm bill timeline shrinking. Legislators failed to strike a deal on the farm bill prior to Thanksgiving recess, though negotiations are expected to continue next month. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday a key issue is the reversion to 1940s law that could push double milk prices at the grocery store, if a bill is not passed.
3. Why can't we be friends? We need farms of all sizes, of all management styles, of all production niches, says The Farmer editor Paula Mohr. So why do some "labels" imply good and bad for marketing purposes? (In related news, Gold N' Plump was purchased this week by family-owned hog operation The Maschoffs. Check out the blog. You'll see why I mention this.)
4. New organizations join the RFS fight. Americans United for Change and VoteVets.org, two groups primarily involved in advocacy campaigns outside of renewable energy this week unveiled a campaign countering Renewable Fuel Standard opponents.
5. Panel confirms abuse at Oklahoma farm. A panel organized by the Center for Food Integrity to review cases of alleged animal abuses said Thursday that undercover video collected at an Oklahoma hog farm this fall did indicate inhumane practices. The video was released by activist group Mercy for Animals.
6. Rural residents' economic outlook lacking enthusiasm. According to the Wall Street Journal, a measure of Americans' sentiment regarding the future of the economy is up slightly, rural Americans aren't as enthusiastic. (Maybe passing a farm bill would help…?)
7. Names of farmers in ag documentary released. Do you recognize any names? Director James Moll hand-picked the young farmers and ranchers based on geographic location, farming enterprise and production methods. The idea was to get together a diverse group of producers.
And your bonus:
What would Siri say? Apple's automated voice Siri hasn't upped her game any in the agriculture department with the latest revamp, says Farm Press' Cary Blake. In fact, her ag knowledge is lacking in most areas – but she did score a few points with her answers on alfalfa.