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On Wednesday, the House and Senate will be back in session — and big funding packages for the U.S. Ebola response ($6 billion) and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fight (reportedly $3.2 billion) are first on the agenda.
Now that they’ve secured the Senate, Republicans have a clear avenue for doing away with EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule and the USDA’s new school lunch standards: spending legislation.
American Farm Bureau Survey Shows Big Data Use Increasing, Big Questions Remain
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 21, 2014 – A survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows more farmers are reaping the benefits of the latest agricultural technologies, but most remain wary of risks involved with big data collection.
EPA registers Enlist Duo herbicide; Enlist™ is now approved in U.S.
WASHINGTON--The EPA is registering the herbicide, Enlist Duo with first-time ever restrictions to manage the problem of resistant weeds. The pesticide is for use in controlling weeds in corn and soybeans genetically-engineered (GE) to tolerate 2,4-D and glyphosate.
Farm Bill Tools: Deciding Between ARC-CO and PLC
New webtools for making 2014 Farm Bill decisions were released by USDA on Thursday, September 25. Join us as we review these tools, as well as the Farm Bill Toolbox which includes 7 steps for making FSA farm decisions.
Farm Bureau Urges Senate to Ditch Proposed Water Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 7, 2014 -- The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging the Senate to tell the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule and restore the integrity of the rulemaking process.
Comment Period Extended for Waters of the U.S. Rule
The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have extended the comment period on the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule to Nov. 14.
New Farm Program Dates Announced
The Agriculture Department has formally announced dates associated with new farm programs authorized by the 2014 farm bill that are important for farm owners and farmers to know. Announced dates include: Sept. 29, 2014, to Feb. 27, 2015, landowners may visit their local Farm Service Agency office to update yield history and/or reallocate base acres; Nov. 17, 2014, to March 31, 2015, farmers make a one-time election of either Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage for the 2014 through 2018 crop years; mid-April 2015 through summer 2015, farmers sign contracts for the 2014 and 2015 crop years; and in October 2015, payments for the 2014 crop year will be made, if needed.
Cline Discusses International Trade Policy
Indiana Farm Bureau’s national policy advisor, Kyle Cline, participated in a panel discussion last week as part of Jobs and Economic Growth for Indianapolis: How the TTIP Will Help, a program sponsored by Eli Lilly and the Trans-Atlantic Business Council.
Waters rule attacked by small businesses:
Waters rule attacked by small businesses: The Small Business Administration office of Advocacy is raising concerns that EPA’s proposed Waters of the United States rule is in violation of laws aimed at protecting small businesses. In comments submitted to EPA Wednesday, the office argues that the agency should withdraw the rule as small businesses were not consulted over its provisions, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
Farm Bill Decision Deadlines and the Farm Bill Toolbox
In an interview with the Red River Farm Network, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the following time frame for making the three sets of decisions for each Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm.
USDA deregulates Dow AgroSciences' Enlist corn & soybean traits
GMO CROPS GET USDA’S OK: The Agriculture Department has given the green light to Dow AgroSciences’ 2, 4-D- and glyphosate-resistant corn and soybeans, a nod of approval for the first crop to be genetically modified to be resistant to more than one herbicide.
Cash Accounting Helps Farmers and Ranchers
Cash Accounting Helps Farmers and Ranchers The American Farm Bureau Federation hailed the strong bi-partisan effort by members of Congress as they urged Senate and House leadership to preserve the cash accounting system farmers and ranchers rely on to grow their businesses.
Farm Bureau on USDA Report: Worldwide Corn Yields Up: Wheat, Cotton and Soybeans, too
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 12, 2014 -- The USDA’s latest report on agricultural supply and demand for the 2014-2015 marketing year suggests supplies will continue to be on the tight side for key U.S. crops despite record harvests, the American Farm Bureau Federation said today.
Area farmers worried about proposed EPA rules
TIPTON – A vast expansion of waterways regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency in new proposed legislation has area farmers concerned about what the future may hold for agricultural practices
Biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard
Biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard During the past year, there have been some attempts to change, weaken or dismantle the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by “big oil” interests, the EPA and some members of Congress.
GMO labeling
A bill to create a national labeling program for foods made with genetically modified organisms was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 9 called The Safe and Accurate  Food Labeling Act (H.R. 4432). 
Waters of the United States (WOTUS)
In April, the EPA and Army Corps released a proposed rule known as Waters of the U.S. that will expand federal jurisdiction over both wet and dry land features by declaring them “waters of the U.S.” 
Town Hall Schedules
Farm Bureau advocates policies that will create a diverse, domestic energy supply to fuel America’s economic growth and prosperity while strengthening our energy security and rural economies. Further development and use of renewable energy sources such as ethanol, biodiesel, biomass, solar and wind are critical to our nation’s energy future and will help further strengthen the overall national security of the United States.
Congressional Resources
August Recess Resources During the month of August, members of congress will be on their annual recess and available to meet with constituents in their communities.
Agriculture Launches #IFarmImmigration Campaign for Immigration Reform
New York, NY — The Partnership for a New American Economy and the American Farm Bureau Federation today released a new ad calling on Congress to pass immigration reform now. The ad features Bernie Thiel, a Texas farmer who has had to destroy some of his own crops for two years in a row because he has been unable to find the workers he needs to harvest.
National Day of Action for Immigration Reform
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for a New American Economy, American Farm Bureau Federation, Business Roundtable, AmericanHort, Western Growers, and the National Association of Manufacturers today urged Congress and the administration to work together to enact immigration reform during a Day of Action with events in Washington, DC and in more than 60 congressional districts across 25 states.
Public Policy Bulletins
Last night, the House Rules Committee voted to bring the Fiscal Year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill to floor under a modified open rule. This means that amendments can be offered from the floor if they are in line with House rules and preference will be given to amendments that are preprinted in the Congressional Record.
EPA Greenhouse Gas Plan Harmful to Economy, Agriculture
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 2, 2014—The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest greenhouse gas proposal will harm the nation’s economy, rural communities and America’s farm and ranch families if implemented, the American Farm Bureau Federation said today.
Farm Bureau ELECT successful in the 2014 primary
Farm Bureau ELECT (Indiana Farm Bureau’s political action committee) made endorsements this year in three congressional primaries and 12 Statehouse primary races, and the ELECT-endorsed candidate was successful in all but four of those races.
Farmer takes to the air with UAVs
KENDRICK, Idaho — The president of the Idaho Grain Producers Association hopes to be among the first to commercially use unmanned aerial systems to monitor farm fields.
AFBF Comments on EPA Spray Drift Guidance
On Jan. 29, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency published in the Federal Register two draft guidance documents and requested public comments on those papers. The comment deadline on the two documents, “Guidance on Modeling Offsite Deposition of Pesticides via Spray Drift for Ecological and Drinking Water Assessments for the Environmental Fate and Effects Division” and “Residential Exposure Assessment Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Addenda 1: Consideration of Spray Drift,” ended Thursday. AFBF filed comments on both documents.
USDA announces $386 million in funding for new conservation efforts
ORRTANNA, Pa., May 1, 2014—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that applications are now being accepted for new, landmark conservation initiatives created by the 2014 Farm Bill. The programs will provide up to $386 million to help farmers restore wetlands, protect working agriculture lands, support outdoor recreation activities and boost the economy.
Cline adds IFB voice to ethanol talks
Indiana Farm Bureau national policy advisor Kyle Cline was in Washington, D.C., April 8-10 to meet with congressional leaders to highlight the important role ethanol plays in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and providing new economic opportunities for farmers, rural communities, and the entire nation.
Farm bill implementation roll-out continues
Nearly three months have passed since the long-awaited passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014, which was signed into law in early February.  Since then, the USDA has been working to define and write the rules and program parameters for each farm bill title.
EPA proposes extensive revisions to agricultural worker protection standards
EPA's Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (or WPS) is a regulation aimed at reducing the risk of pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.
Congress takes on expired “tax extenders” among broader reform efforts
More than three months following the expiration of around 50 tax credits and deductions commonly known as “tax extenders,” momentum is picking up in Congress to address the issue in the context of a broader tax reform discussion.
House Members Urge EPA and Corps to Withdraw WOTUS Rule

House Members Urge EPA and Corps to Withdraw WOTUS Rule Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) are circulating a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers requesting that the agencies withdraw the proposed rule expanding jurisdiction over federally regulated waters. The American Farm Bureau Federation has strongly endorsed the Collins-Schrader letter

Federal GMO Labeling Standards
H.R. 4432, known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, amends the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to establish a federal labeling standard for food and beverage products made with genetically modified organisms.
USDA announces $19 million in grant money to help train beginning farmers
The USDA announced today it is making $19 million available for grants to “help train, educate and enhance the sustainability of” beginning farmers in an effort to counteract the increasing average age of agriculture producers in the U.S.
Diversified agriculture: New rules make it easier to sell some Indiana ag products
HEA 1039 (Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne) creates an initiative to market and promote Indiana-grown products to users such as residents, retailers, restaurants, grocery stores and farmer markets
Regulatory reform: IDEM, DNR to make changes in some permitting programs
The development of a deliberate and comprehensive water plan is a top priority of Indiana Farm Bureau. SEA 271(Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso) moves that goal further down the line by authorizing a study of the water resources in the state and the impact they have on economic development and rural Indiana, in particular agriculture.
Farm protections: Ag trespass bill passes with broad support
After the issue drew considerable controversy last year, legislation dealing with ag trespass cleared the General Assembly with broad support. SEA 101 (Travis Holdman, R-Markle) adds causing property damage to an agricultural operation to the existing crime of institutional criminal mischief.
Taxes: Compromise measures on soil productivity factors, personal property taxes win approval
Passage of SEA 111 seems like déjà vu all over again. In the final days of the session, there were competing ideas about how to handle the yet-to-be justified increases in the February 2012 version of soil productivity factors proposed by the DLGF. The great news is that a one-year delay was again passed, protecting farmland owners from an unjustified tax shift of about $57.4 million.
Grassroots action, cooperation with ag partners result in legislative success for I
In spite of major legislative initiatives undertaken this session, the 2014 session of the General Assembly ended one day early with very high levels of success for farmers across the state.
New farm bill includes disaster assistance for livestock producers
Among the changes made to the federal farm program by the 2014 farm bill are two programs of particular interest to livestock and forage producers: the Livestock Forage Disaster Program and Livestock Indemnity Payments.
New Report Shows Labor Challenges Lead to Loss in GDP
The Partnership for a New American Economy and the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform today released a new report showing how American families are eating more imported fresh produce today than ever before, in substantial part because U.S. fresh produce growers lack enough labor to expand their production and compete with foreign importers.
Water Rights Bill Prohibits Federal Takings
"The Water Rights Protection Act does not expand rights for individuals at the expense of any federal agency, nor does it in any way limit or constrain existing rights held by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management," noted Ryan Yates, American Farm Bureau Federation water rights specialist.
Farm Bill Signed Into Law, USDA Turns to Implementation
After nearly three years of stalled discussions and debate, the U.S. Senate approved the new 5-year farm bill, known as the Agricultural Act of 2014, by a margin of 68-32 on February 4.
Dow Enlist technology advances in USDA regulatory process
Dow Enlist technology advances in USDA regulatory process, comment period now open until Feb. 24 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the completion of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Dow AgroSciences new Enlist™ corn, Enlist soybean and Enlist E3™ soybean traits and notice has been published in the Federal Register announcing the opening of a public comment period for the DEIS.
IFB pleased with Congress’ passage of a new farm bill
IFB pleased with Congress’ passage of a new farm bill It is with relief that Indiana Farm Bureau’s 70,000 farmer members salute Congress’ passage of a new farm bill, which passed the Senate today on a 68-32 vote after earlier passing the House 251-166. It will now to go President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
House Republican Conference Releases Principles for Immigration Reform
During a retreat this week, the House GOP Conference released its Principles for Immigration Reform. You can read the principles here. The GOP is also currently discussing how they will move forward immigration reform this year.
AFBF Joins Forces with PNAE on Immigration Reform Efforts
There is a window of opportunity in the House to move immigration reform in 2014. To educate and advocate for agricultural labor reform, Farm Bureau has partnered with Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) in the #IFarmImmigration campaign.
Congresswoman Walorski Visits with Local Farmers about Proposed Reynolds/Topeka Transmission Line
Congresswoman Walorski Visits with Local Farmers about Proposed Reynolds/Topeka Transmission Line Congresswoman Jackie Walorski recently met with a group of farmers and Farm Bureau members in Marshall and Kosciusko counties regarding the proposed Reynolds/Topeka Transmission Line being developed by the utility NIPSCO.
Donnelly Sends Letter to EPA Administrator
Senator Joe Donnelly, a member of the Senate Ag Committee, today sent a bipartisan letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing his concerns regarding the EPA’s proposal for the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Farm Bill Enters Final Push
After months of the latest negotiations, a 5-year farm bill appears to be nearing the home stretch for completion. Farm bill conferee staff worked through the weekend in an effort to allow the 41 conference committee members to approve a farm bill on Monday or Tuesday of this week, just in time for President Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday.
Reynolds/Topeka Transmission Line Frequently Asked Questions
This information has been compiled by Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc. staff based upon questions received from members. Some of the information was acquired through discussions with representatives of NIPSCO. For answers to specific questions about the project, please contact a NIPSCO representative or your own counsel.
Amy Cornell, state government relations policy advisor, counsel
Hardly a novice to Indiana Farm Bureau, Amy Cornell has joined the public policy team as state government relations policy advisor and counsel.

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