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Jerry Hagstrom

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Pork producers seek extra help from a wary USDA

August 18, 2009 The National Pork Producers Council on Monday asked for $250 million in assistance from the Agriculture Department, but a USDA spokesman signaled that more aid will be hard to come by. Noting that pork producers have been losing $21 on each hog sent to market since September 2007, the pork...

Senator pledges agriculture programs will continue

August 3, 2009 PARK CITY, Utah - Despite the need to curb government spending, agriculture programs are not likely to be among those trimmed, one of the Senate's top Democratic budget hawks said Monday. In a video-conference speech to the American Sugar Alliance, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he expects...

Agencies agree on conservation rules

July 20, 2009 USDA has reached agreement with OMB on the rules for the Conservation Stewardship Program and will hold a sign-up for the program in August, a senior USDA official said on Monday. The Conservation Stewardship Program, written into the 2008 farm bill by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, will...

Farm Service Agency has new boss after dairyman's exit

July 10, 2009 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday named Jonathan Coppess as administrator of the Farm Service Agency, only three days after Doug Caruso, who had been appointed in April, abruptly quit. Coppess has been serving as deputy FSA administrator for farm programs. He was a legislative assistant for Sen. Ben Nelson,...

Senate Appropriations Committee approves Agriculture funding

July 8, 2009 The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $124.5 billion, fiscal 2010 Agriculture appropriations bill Tuesday that includes a key Obama administration request for $13 million for sustainable food systems in countries with chronic food shortages. The bill passed 30-0 on a roll call vote. The committee's action was timely, as President...

Report proposes conservation overhaul

July 6, 2009 Congress should consider turning the Interior Department's Land and Water Conservation Fund, the main mechanism for federal and state acquisition of park and recreation land, into an independent trust funded by royalties from the development of conventional and renewable energy on public lands, according to a new report. Prepared by...

Black farmers want quicker USDA action on claims

April 27, 2009 A key black farmers group says the Agriculture Department is still not moving quickly enough to resolve civil rights claims. The National Black Farmers Association said it is scheduling a protest Tuesday at USDA headquarters. The announcement comes despite a lengthy civil rights memorandum released last week by Agriculture Secretary...

USDA official says People's Garden will promote organic standards

April 27, 2009 Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, who wrote the organic standards act when she worked for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is beloved in organic circles as the government mother of organic agriculture. But the industrial agricultural establishment, which uses synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to produce most U.S. crops and foods and...

Obama's USDA picks might signal revamped priorities

April 20, 2009 With his two latest picks for key Agriculture Department posts, President Obama is signaling a possible shake-up in several programs that have historically gotten little attention, including nutrition and agricultural research. Kevin Concannon, director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, has been tapped to be USDA undersecretary for food,...

USDA secretary fills key posts in department

April 13, 2009 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has filled several key posts in his department, including aides who will focus on nutrition programs and rural development. Vilsack appointed Janey Thornton, a former school nutrition director in Elizabethtown, Ky., as deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services. FNS manages the food stamp, school...