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Policy Plate BLOG

Your daily serving of food and farm policy.

The Latest from Policy Plate

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

At today’s hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee, devoted to Healthy Food Initiatives, Local Production, and Nutrition, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) said: "Whether a Kansas farmer is growing wheat that will be made into bread in a Kansas bakery, or selling Georgia peaches to schools through a food hub in Atlanta, local food systems mean a win-win for agriculture and the local economy."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Farmers can produce far more than the world’s food and fiber — they can also contribute to the enormous task of keeping our drinking water clean and our streams healthy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture continued the national conversation about USDA’s support for local and regional food projects with a live streaming event today and tweet-up at the White House. Local and regional food systems offer economic opportunities for local farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

At this week’s Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) made his case for protecting the Conservation Title in the next farm bill.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Multiple agriculture articles, including jobs, food safety, food stamps, subsidies and a grower trade show.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and Undersecretary Katherine Merrigan today unveiled the new Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. The online tool aims to spur ideas on how to generate more local and regional food resources and offers examples of local producers benefiting from the program, which got underway two years ago.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Today was the day the Senate Ag Committee held its hearing on conservation provisions of the evolving 2012 farm bill. The general sentiment of the witnesses and members of the committee was that conservation programs work to protect the environment, and that farmers like them. Fears of another round of funding cuts were evident, however.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Today, Environmental Working Group released a new research paper by conservationist Max Schnepf that looks at the history of America’s eroding conservation compact and how farmers view the long-standing deal between them and taxpayers.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting slightly higher per capita consumption of fruits, vegetables and nuts over the next 10 years, according to the produce industry publication The Packer. Every little bit counts, and there’s no question that the way toward a healthier nation is for everyone – but especially kids – to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Today is the annual US Department of Agriculture Outlook Forum. The department announced projections for the next crop year with 94 million acres devoted to corn - up 2 million acres from 2011, 58 million acres in wheat, 75 million acres in soybeans and just 13 million acres of cotton. But how much of the extra acreage will come from plowing up conservation land that protects water, soil and wildlife while sequestering carbon?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The New York Times has asked Craig Cox, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, to weigh in on agriculture policy in its Room for Debate series.  The topic:  Farm Bill, Beyond the Farm.  The Times asks: The farm bill, being debated in the Senate this month, is felt far beyond the cornfields of Iowa. It’s about what we grow, but it’s also about what we eat and how we live. On the potato chip aisle, Americans are seeing the farm bill’s market pressures.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Friday afternoon (Feb. 17), the Environmental Protection Agency gave its OK to increasing from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of ethanol – most of it from corn – blended into the gasoline supply. Since older cars can’t safely use E15, that’s likely to become a nightmare for owners who fill up with the wrong fuel.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Welcome to EWG’s Policy Plate, where we plan to serve up a daily helping of food and farm news during the 2012 farm bill debate. E&E News had smart piece yesterday about how nitrogen pollution threatens human health and speeds climate change.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012


Welcome to EWG’s Policy Plate, where we plan to serve up a daily helping of food and farm news during the 2012 farm bill debate. Some lawmakers have made clear that they intend to cut 7 million acres protected under the farm bill's Conservation Reserve Program.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome to EWG’s Policy Plate, where we plan to serve up a daily helping of food and farm news during the 2012 farm bill debate. Today the Senate Agriculture Committee held its first hearing on what the members hope will become the 2012 farm bill.

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