Agricultural News


ASWM is keeping an eye on the development of the 2012 Farm Bill. On this page you can find updates on the Farm Bill as well as agricultural news in the context of wetlands and related issues. For Farm Bill 2012 resources on the web, click here.

Limits sought on weed killer glyphosate to help monarch butterflies

By Louis Sahagun – Los Angeles Times – February 25, 2014

With monarch butterfly populations rapidly dwindling, a conservation organization on Monday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement tougher rules for the weed killer glyphosate — first marketed under the brand name Roundup — to save America’s most beloved insect from further decline.  In a petition, the Natural Resources Defense Council argued that current uses of glyphosate are wiping out milkweed, the only plant upon which monarch caterpillars feed. The loss of milkweed is having a devastating effect on the life cycles of the large, fragile orange-and-black butterflies, which migrate through the United States, Canada and Mexico.  It takes several generations of the insect scientists know as Danaus plexippus to make the round trip because each monarch lives only a few weeks in the summer. For full story, click here.

As Dow seeks growth, new Enlist crop/chemicals seen as key

Chicago Tribune – March 10, 2014

Dan Kittle has spent more than a decade waiting for this day. As the man in charge of research and development at Dow AgroSciences, the unit of Dow Chemical Co that develops agricultural seeds and pesticides, Kittle remembers the "big shock" when rival Monsanto Co unveiled a genetically modified seed in 1996 designed to be used in combination with a specific herbicide, a combination that rapidly led Monsanto to riches. Since then, Monsanto has become the world's largest seed company with $15 billion in annual sales, up roughly 200 percent from a decade ago, and Kittle and a team of Dow researchers have been working to catch up. For full story, click here.

Farm Bill Compromise Will Change Programs and Reduce Spending

By Ron Nixon – The New York Times – January 27, 2014.

House and Senate negotiators on Monday agreed on a new five-year farm bill that will eliminate or consolidate dozens of agriculture subsidy programs, expand government-subsidized crop insurance and cut about $8 billion from the food stamp program over the next decade. The bipartisan agreement, two years after lawmakers began work on the nearly $1 trillion bill, is a major step forward in reauthorizing hundreds of farm and nutrition programs that must be renewed every five years. And, at least for now, it brings an end to the partisan fighting that stalled two previous attempts to pass the legislation. The bill would reduce spending by about $23 billion over the next 10 years. For full story, click here. For the 2013 Farm Bill: A Comparison of the Senate-Passed (S.954) and House-Passed (H.R. 2642, H.R. 3102) Bills with Current Law, click here.

Half of U.S. Farmland Being Eyed by Private Equity

By Carey L. Biron – Before It's news – February 19, 2014

An estimated 400 million acres of farmland in the United States will likely change hands over the coming two decades as older farmers retire, even as new evidence indicates this land is being strongly pursued by private equity investors. Mirroring a trend being experienced across the globe, this strengthening focus on agriculture-related investment by the private sector is already leading to a spike in U.S. farmland prices. Coupled with relatively weak federal policies, these rising prices are barring many young farmers from continuing or starting up small-scale agricultural operations of their own. In the long term, critics say, this dynamic could speed up the already fast-consolidating U.S. food industry, with broad ramifications for both human and environmental health. For full story, click here.

EPA report draws criticism from Kansas Livestock Association

High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal – November 18, 2013

Kansas Livestock Association recently submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency critical of its draft science report titled “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters.” The report was assembled from available peer-reviewed scientific literature on how intermittent ditches and streams and isolated wetlands are related to navigable waters. Information from scientific reports typically guides an agency in constructing future regulations. In this case, however, EPA first wrote its jurisdictional rule on waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act and submitted the rule to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review in late summer, then published the Connectivity report in late September. EPA’s attempt to write the rule and then assemble the science suggests it is engaged in an attempt to make the science justify its goal to exponentially expand federal jurisdiction under CWA. For full article, click here.