Need to catch up? Here's a few things you might have missed this week.
1. Ag immigration proposal welcomed. The Agriculture Workforce Coalition Wednesday came out in support of the Senate "gang of eight" immigration proposal, released April 16. The group, comprised of representatives from several farm and agriculture organizations, said the proposal was an "important balance of interests" and a welcome next step.
2. Is Kristi Noem ag's rising star? Blogger and Farm Futures editor Mike Wilson seems to think so. Wilson says as an avid hunter, 4-H leader and rancher, Congresswoman Kristi Noem, R-S.D., knows farming from real life experience. And she's one of a dwindling number of Representatives who hail from a farm background. Check out her Q&A on the farm bill, sequester cuts and the EPA.
3. Wait, so climate change isn't to blame? There's been some flip-flopping and strong debate on what climate change means for agriculture – and even if it's a "real thing." Earlier this year, a big USDA push brought university and federal leaders together on the issue. But a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report says climate change isn't to blame for the 2012 drought. The report doesn't take a stance on the climate change issue, but does rule it out as a cause, characterizing the 2012 drought as a "flash drought."
4. Antibiotic use under the gun again. The Environmental Working Group this week said an analysis of a report issued by the Food and Drug Administration in February actually points to "startlingly high percentages of supermarket meat containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria." The cause, they say, is "unnecessary antibiotic usage by factory farms." The National Pork Producers say the EWG analysis is just in time for discussions on the reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act.
5. Mississippi River flooding. Traffic will be halted on the Mississippi River over the weekend as water is projected to rise above the flood stage at locks and dams 16-22. According to 2012 data from the United Soybean Board, the average monthly value of corn and soybeans handled at each lock during 2000–2010 was $40.3 million for the Upper Mississippi River.
6. EPA becoming farmer-friendly? On Tuesday, the EPA’s senior agricultural counsel said clean energy and building bridges with the farming/ranching community will be priorities going forward. “I am here to advance the President’s priority of a clean energy future,” said EPA's Sarah Bittleman, during a conference call. “We can do that with agriculture as a partner."
7. FDA clarifies milk labeling petition: According to the FDA, consumers commenting in response to proposed changes to milk labeling standards appear to be under the impression it would allow non-nutritive ingredients, such as sweeteners, to not be listed anywhere on the product. However, FDA says if they granted the petition, non-nutritive ingredients would still appear on the ingredient list, though not necessarily be included in the name of the product.
And a bonus for a good laugh:
Roxanne the cattle dog has a dandy work ethic. Country veterinarian Steve McDonald ponders the attitude of a good farm dog: "If we humans could share ... most every dog's attitude toward work, little of the world's work would go undone," he says.