Tag Archives: Farm Bureau

A Simple Idea! How Cool is That!!

It’s such a simple idea.   Let’s label our food so that we know where it comes from. Well—- apparently not. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) has been a hot topic for the past 20 years. Yes, 20 years!! I was a younger woman back then. Slow walk forward to 2002 and Congress actually included provisions mandating COOL for all U.S. commodities. Simple, the label, “Product of the U.S.A.”, would be stamped on agricultural commodities and products raised and processed in the United States. Let the fireworks begin.   Canada and Mexico go before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and claim the U.S. labeling law and regulations for beef and pork were not compliant with WTO rules. 6 years of fighting later, the WTO has made it clear they agree with Canada and Mexico. Now the U.S. has to make changes or face sanctioned retaliation by Canada and Mexico. What now? In the past few months the House Agriculture Committee has completed action to repeal the offensive sections of COOL, but the debate still continues in the Senate. And we wait …” watching for the white smoke to come out of the chimney at the WTO to see what they have decided about …

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Update Planning Unit Meeting – May 14, 2014

WRIA 1 Management Team Meeting / Wednesday / May 14th, 2014 / 10 AM / Bellingham Public Library If you are a member of a local water association or other non-government water system, ask your board of directors to join the Whatcom Water Systems Caucus as a system member. Dues are one dollar per year per connection, minimum of $50. Make checks payable to WWSC, mail to Larry Helm 2660 E 41st Terrace Bellingham WA 98226. If you want to be involved in water resource issues and appreciate the work you see here and what WWSC is doing, you can join as an individual member. Dues are $25 per year per person or family.  Make checks payable to WWSC, mail to Larry Helm 2660 E 41st Terrace Bellingham WA 98226. Contact Skip Richards by Email: info@skip-richards.com Link to join/participate in other WRIA 1 Watershed Planning Unit caucuses Whatcom Water Systems Caucus Agenda and Meeting Materials for May 14th, meeting:  2014-May_14_Agenda_WRIA_1_Management_Team.pdf Brief_Sheet-_Agenda_Item_3.pdf Brief_Sheet-_Agenda_Item_4.pdf Brief_Sheet-_Agenda_Item_7.pdf DraftDocs_near-termactions_051214.pdf DraftDocs_SmallProjects_051214.pdf

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Farming News: Building Coexistence with Farming and Biotechnology to build 21st Century Farms

With all of the hoopla over Arnason Farm’s selling out to a developer, it should come as no surprise to those of us who are actually paying attention to how the farmers in Whatcom County struggle to steer clear of all the target practice they endure from the eco-fanatics who say they only want to “preserve” the small farms.  Well when you understand that we have laden rural farmers with 24/7…365 days per year of multiple state and federal agencies, who are constantly looking over you shoulder for something to find fault with and then top it off with the demands of operating a small farm…for the amount of return that this brings in, you might gain a smidgeon of understanding as to the farmers plight. You cannot save the farmland if you do not save the farmer.  The Farmer does not want a hand out.  The Farmer wants a clear and reasonable path to apply their skills and knowledge of farming which not only gives them the quality of life they desire, it keeps me, you and the world fed the foods we need to stay healthy.  The skills and capacity are there if the enviro-fanatics and their friends …

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Whatcom County Council begins 2014 Quietly

The first public County Council meeting for the newly elected Whatcom County Council met on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014.  The agenda was small and the items up for discussion were non-controversial as the vote counts of “6 – 0,” yea v. nay showed.  The public comment period was the most interesting part of the evening with a substantial number of local rural residents that came up to the microphone to ask that this Council see the Futurewise v. Whatcom County litigation through to the State Supreme Court and to insure that they would give it the funding needed to do so.  It was also an interesting addition to learn that the Washington Assoc. of Realtors, the Association of Washington Businesses, the Washington Farm Bureau, the Washington Council of Governemts, for Cities and Counties are all in favor of Whatcom County Council’s pursuit of this case.  They are concerned enough that they have offered to share resources in helping to build an amicus brief with the Council’s legal staff. Even local businesses are beginning to understand that the threat to all property owners and businesses is daunting, if this FDO (Final Determination Order) from the GMHB (Growth Management Hearings Board) is …

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A View from the Farm: Immigration Reform

While the news channels and talking heads circle around the DC scandals, work is still proceeding on Immigration Reform.  We on the farm wait and watch with bated breath to see if any improvements will be made to the presently unworkable system.    Our lobbyists worked tirelessly with congress on the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”.   They attempted to have provisions included that would ensure farmers and ranchers could maintain their experienced workers that are in undocumented status and that the current guest worker program, H-2A was replaced with a program that actually worked. They feel we are closer than we have been for decades to solutions for our industries labor problems. So without editorial comment I will lay out some of the provisions they have come up with.   New blue card program:  Experienced agricultural workers could obtain legal immigration status by satisfying criteria such as passing a background check, paying a fine and proving that applicable taxes have been paid  Blue card workers would be required to continue to work in agriculture before having an opportunity to apply for a green card  New visa program:   Allows agricultural employers to hire guest workers, either under contract or at …

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A View from the Farm April 2013

I finally got to the the USDA FSA Newsletter on by desk for March/April 2013.  In case you city folks think we are being over subsidized down on the farm you should be happy with the following news.? Four FSA disaster programs were extended through September 20, 2013, however as of this February they have NOT been funded, including: Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) Provides assistance to producers for livestock deaths that result from disaster. Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) Provides assistance for grazing losses due to drought. Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) Provides emergency assistance for livestock, honeybees, and farm raised fish. Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. The SURE Program was not extended for 2012 or 2013 crop losses.  SURE provided financial assistance for crop production and or quality losses due to a natural disaster. What is funded by the Department of Agriculture Nutrition Assistance More Commonly Known as Food Stamps.   Farm assistance goes to the cities. ~ Lorraine Newman

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Good News On the Farm

Liberty Road: Good News On the Farm Received my FBNews yesterday, and it was good news for the most part. Their Market basket shows retail food prices declined slightly in the fourth quarter of 2012. And “According the USDA, Americans spend just under 10 Percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world.” The new tax measures that the Congress approved early in January are not all bad news. They did make permanent the $5 million estate tax exemption and extended the 2008 farm bill for nine months. Both issues were huge worry areas for farmers. The EPA has announced that it will retain its current 24-hour standard for coarse particulate matter. To those of you who do not speak “governmentese” they are talking about dust. The EPA will be reassessing these rules in 2016 as required by law. So for now, the specter of only being able to work on a rainy day so that there is no dust has been kicked down the road. So we will keep our heads up and look forward to planting. You can check it out at fbnews.org. ~ Lorraine Newman

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Two Chicken Farmer Stories

Liberty Road: Two Chicken Farmer Stories A Maryland poultry grower has triumphed in the Federal courts against an environmental activist group. Now before you see visions of factory farms in your heads this family, the Hudsons have two chicken houses. Their farm is considered “small compared to the average chicken farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore”. The family also raises corn, soy beans, hay and a few beef cattle. Their battle began in 2010 when Waterkeeper Alliance (a citizen group) filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming the family had violated the clean water act because they had a long standing manure pile. At Waterkeeper Alliance’s behest the Maryland Dept. of the Environment investigated. The Department found that it was not a manure pile but a lawfully obtained pile of biosolids. They asked the farmers to move it to another location and to spread it in the spring for the next crop growing season. The Department determined no further action was required. Not to be deterred by facts, the Waterkeeper Alliance amended their law suit to include the words “factory farm operation” and made further accusations of air contaminants and moved forward in the courts. Three years and $100,000.00 later the …

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