Monday, April 7th 2014
--The annual Minnesota Grown Directory is now available, just in time for spring. The directory is a statewide guide to purchasing directly from local producers. The 2014 edition boasts a record setting 978 farms and includes the most Community Supported Agriculture farms and farmers markets. The 2014 directory turns a new page by featuring spokeswoman and Minnesota Olympian Carrie Tollefson’s family by her side. The Tollefsons’ also exemplify the directory’s growing number of family friendly activities, recipes and educational agriculture facts and trivia. Parents and educators can use these exciting activities as a tool to introduce and attract kids to agriculture. The directory also contains ideas for dining out or crafting a Minnesota Cooks inspired recipe in your kitchen. You can order free, printed copies of the Minnesota Grown Directory by calling Explore Minnesota Tourism at 1-888-TOURISM. You can also order your copy online or look up local farms at www.minnesotagrown.com. The online directory makes it easy to find farms via product, city, zip code, or the interactive map.
--Farmers and ranchers can sign-up for livestock disaster assistance programs that were reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 farm bill starting April 15, USDA said. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014. The LIP program especially will help ranchers in South Dakota and eastern Wyoming who lost tens of thousands of cattle in a surprise early October blizzard. Enrollment also begins on April 15 for producers with losses covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture. LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible livestock include beef cattle, dairy cattle, bison, poultry, sheep, swine, horses, and other livestock as determined by the Secretary. LFP provides compensation to producers for grazing losses due to drought or fire on publicly managed land. An eligible producer must own, cash lease, or be a contract grower of eligible livestock during the 60 calendar days before the beginning date of the qualifying drought TAP provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. To expedite applications, producers should collect records documenting losses in preparation for enrollment in the assistance programs. Local Farm Service Agency offices can provide information on the types of records needed.
--Lawmakers will focus this week on discussions about the fiscal year 2015 budget, tax reform, EPA, and nominees for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The House is expected to consider a budget proposal that aims to reduce federal spending by $5.1 trillion over 10 years and includes spending cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and mandatory agricultural outlays, as well as policy recommendations in regards to EPA regulations. The House Budget Committee approved the plan on a 22-16 party-line vote. The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday to discuss expired business tax provisions with an emphasis on how permanent tax policy can promote certainty for businesses and generate additional economic growth. The hearing comes after the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to renew various expired tax provisions, known as “tax extenders,” and to provide assistance for biodiesel, cellulosic biofuel and other renewable fuels. The package includes provisions that aim to benefit individuals, families, and small businesses, incentivize innovative research and development, and promote alternative and renewable energy initiatives. The bill also includes an extension of a conservation easement-related tax incentive. Meanwhile, the Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to hold a business meeting Tuesday to vote on three nominees for the CFTC, including Timothy Massad to serve as chairman, and J. Christopher Giancarlo and Sharon Y. Bowen to serve as commissioners. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., have expressed concerns about the lack of agricultural experience among the nominees, but are not expected to hold up their confirmations.
--The State of Water: Minnesotans Protecting Our Lakes and Rivers" will be May 1 and 2 at Cragun's Resort in Brainerd. The conference is designed to offer attendees the latest updates and information on challenges and opportunities facing Minnesota's waters. It will bring together a host of speakers, including representatives of state agencies and leading experts on varying topics. The event offers a five-track series of workshops and breakout sessions designed to cover a wide range of significant issues: including aquatic invasive species ,groundwater, nutrient management and run-off among other topics. For more information or to register, visit www.conservationminnesota.org/state-of-water-conference/. The conference costs $155, with lower rates for one-day attendees. Registration closes on April 18th.
--The Center for Science in the Public Interest says that an analysis of thousands of food poisoning cases over a 10-year period shows that Americans are twice as likely to get sick from food prepared in restaurants than from food prepared in the home. The nonprofit food safety watchdog looked at “solved” outbreaks of foodborne illnesses - where both a food and a pathogen were identified by investigators -- from 2002 through 2011. It found that 1,610 outbreaks in restaurants sickened more than 28,000 people, while 893 outbreaks linked to private homes caused nearly 13,000 cases of foodborne illness. The data also back up those who want to keep restrictions on the sale of raw milk. Of 104 outbreaks of illness linked to milk, 70 percent were caused by raw milk, CSPI said. In other words, although less than 1 percent of consumers drink raw milk, they bear 70 percent of the burden of illnesses caused by milk-borne outbreaks. CSPI also said that reports of foodborne illnesses have fallen over the years, with states reporting 42 percent fewer outbreaks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011 than in 2002.
Friday, April 4th 2014
--The House Budget Committee approved, on a 22-16 party-line vote, a fiscal year 2015 budget proposal late Wednesday that aims to reduce federal spending by $5.1 trillion over 10 years and includes spending cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and mandatory agricultural outlays, as well as policy recommendations on EPA regulations.
Copyright . Little Falls Radio. All rights reserved.
16405 Haven Road
Little Falls, MN 56345
Phone Number (320) 632-2992
Fax Number (320) 632-2571