Sustainable Agriculture News from Congress July 4-8, 2011

Congressional News from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition - July 4-8, 2011 House Agriculture Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Conservation Programs: On Thursday, July 7, the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry held an audit hearing to examine USDA conservation programsRead more... Ethanol Policy: Shifting from Corn Starch to Cellulosic Sources: This week, Congress continued to signal that federal biofuel policy is shifting from corn starch based ethanol to cellulosic ethanol production.  On Friday, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) announced that some key Senators, including Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD), had agreed to end on July 31 the 45 cents per gallon Volume Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) for ethanol blended into gasoline and the 54 cents per gallon tariff imposed on ethanol imports. Read more... House Appropriations Subcommittee Slashes FY2012 EPA Funding: On Thursday July 7, the House Interior and Environment Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee approved an FY2010 spending bill, which includes deep cuts to the budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and riders blocking EPA action with relevance for agriculture.  The Subcommittee approved the bill in 8-5 party-line vote. Read more... House Agriculture Subcommittee Specialty Crop Hearing: On Thursday, July 7, the House Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture held a farm bill hearing to examine USDA specialty crop programs.  Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, flowers, and nursery plants.  The specialty crop title of the farm bill also includes organic agriculture programs. Read more... House Small Business Subcommittee Hearing on GIPSA Proposed Rule: On Thursday, July 7, the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy & Trade of the House Small Business Committee held a hearing on a rule proposed by USDA’s Grain Inspection Packers & Stockyards Act (GIPSA) in response to a 2008 Farm Bill directive. Read more... Budget Deal Negotiations Update and What it May Mean for Agriculture: High level talks (and lots of political noise) continue in order to reach an agreement on a macro budget deal.  The macro budget deal would include major actions for deficit reduction while also lifting the debt ceiling before the government would otherwise go into default in early August. Read more...

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