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Reaction to Ryan budget

Reaction to Ryan budget

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yesterday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, proposed to cut $30 billion from federal farm subsidy programs, targeting the discredited direct payment program that sends checks out every year regardless of need.

The Hill’s Eric Wasson reports that House Ag Committee chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) is “not on board” with the ag cuts. Delta Farm Press’s David Bennett writes that Rep. Colin Peterson (D- Minn.), the committee’s ranking Democrat was “much less kind to the Ryan proposal.” Bennett references Peterson’s statement that:

The process outlined by the House Republican budget all but guarantees there will be no farm bill this year.

The Ryan budget proposes significant cuts in the farm safety net and conservation programs, and slashes spending on nutrition programs that provide food for millions of Americans. It is appalling that in an attempt to avoid defense cuts the Republican leadership has elected to leave farmers and hungry families hurting.

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Stephanie Paige Obgurn takes a comprehensive look at the alarming conversion of native prairie grassland to intensive row cropping in the pages of High Country News (subscription required). Two excerpts:

Today, though, ranchers and farmers -- particularly in the Dakotas -- are tearing up their native grassland and planting it row to row. "Some of the conversions maybe started happening as early as 20 years ago, but it's really accelerated the last five years," says Lyle Perlman, a South Dakota farmer.

And

The Nature Conservancy gauges the annual rate of grassland destruction in this region at 1.1 percent -- higher than the rate of deforestation in the Amazon.

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Table Scraps

-  The Pesticide Action Network delivered the good news that toxic pesticide methyl iodide has been pulled from the market by its manufacturer.  Environmental Working Group senior scientist Sonya Lunder applauded the move, saying: “This highly toxic pesticide should never have been approved for use to begin with. It has no place in US agriculture.”

-  Mother Jones has two good pieces, one details the US Department of Agriculture’s reversal on environmental review for rural loans for land with oil and gas leases. And Tom Phillpot asks, Is Wal Mart Really Going Organic and Local?

Tweet of the day:

@cody_winchester @ SD groundwater conference. Turns out New Zealand has emerging nitrogen problems, so gov instituted cap and trade system, says UND prof.

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