We, the people…and the Farm Bill.

Growing up in Massachusetts means a special kind of connection to the Fourth of July. Along with Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July is one of two holidays all Americans can claim as our own. Both were born in Massachusetts: Thanksgiving in Plymouth around a communal dining table and the American Revolution, which started with the [...]

Farm Bill defeated in House; traditional rural-urban alliance frayed

The old rural-urban alliance that married farm and nutrition programs failed to get a Farm Bill through the House this afternoon. The bill lost 195-234, with food stamps apparently the main issue. The House seemed ready to pass the bill this afternoon “after the Agriculture Committee leadership agreed to a sweeping en bloc amendment Wednesday [...]

Unanimous high court backs Monsanto over farmer

Agribusiness food giant Monsanto took on Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman (NPR photo by Dan Charles) in a dispute over a patent to grow genetically modified soybeans. The case went all the way to the top, with the Supreme Court ruling unanimously yesterday that Bowman violated Monsanto’s patent. Monsanto’s soybeans are resistant to the weed killer [...]

Any questions?

Supreme Court to mull control of patented seeds

The case of an Indiana farmer who planted the genetically altered soybeans he got from a local grain elevator has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Hugh Bowman’s dispute with agricultural giant Monsanto has evolved into a larger debate of the influence big agribusinesses have on farmers. Monsanto, the producer of the powerful herbicide Roundup and the [...]

Drought slows rural economy in 10 central states

The economy in rural areas of 10 Midwestern and Western states continued to look weak this month as the region begins a slow recovery from this summer’s oppressive drought, according to The Rural Mainstreet Index, an economic survey of rural bankers by Creighton University in Omaha. The economic index for this month is 48.3, up slightly [...]

Farm Bill Now: Call to Action from New England Farmers Union

The House Agriculture Committee passed its version of a 2012 farm bill weeks ago on a bipartisan vote but the GOP leadership refuses to bring it to the House floor for debate.  In fact, the House GOP leadership intends to leave town next week without passing a five-year farm bill for our nation’s farmers. Not [...]

Rural matters a lot in election, liberal columnist says

It’s all politics at the Iowa State Fair in this presidential election year, as it has been for decades. Presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan visited the fair last week, but left John Nichols of The Capital Times in Madison, Wis., wondering what he was doing there after refusing to answer questions about the [...]

Farm bill update: good news first

There’s good news and there’s bad news out of the U.S. House of Representatves Committee on Agriculture. The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) passed by a bipartisan 35-11 vote. The committee rejected amendments to alter the no-cost sugar program and also voted not to remove the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP) from [...]

Action Alert: Senate Votes Today on Farm Bill

Heads up from New England Farmers Union! The Senate will begin voting today on a list of amendments to the farm bill. There are some very good things in this bill for New England and at least two amendments that would make it even better. Please call your Senators TODAY and ask them to support [...]