Senator Hagerty Promotes Participation in Letter Telling SEC to Back Off ESG Regulation Affecting Farmers

Tennessee U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty touted his participation on Saturday in a letter signed by more than 30 senators to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler  pushing back against a proposed Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) regulation that would harm America’s farmers.

The proposed rule is entitled, “Enhanced and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors.”

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RNC Blasts Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s Visit to Ohio

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited Toledo to tout a new $2 billion framework to improve the U.S. food supply chain, as the coronavirus pandemic has sent ripples through the economy.

According to the USDA, Vilsack’s framework will “transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers.”

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Rep. John Rose Leads Bipartisan Letter Defending Farmers Against New Environmental, Social, and Governance Investment Regulations

U.S. Representative John Rose (R-TN-06) led a bi-partisan letter to Securities and Exchange Commission Chair (SEC) Gary Gensler defending America’s farmers against a proposed new Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) regulation.

In March, the SEC proposed a new ESG rule that would require public companies to include “climate-related” disclosures in their registration statements and periodic reports.

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Minnesota Farmers Are Far Behind Schedule This Planting Season

Minnesota farmers have been unable to plant nearly any wheat and have only planted a small amount of corn so far this year.

Last year, nearly all of Minnesota’s wheat (99%) was in the ground by mid-May, but per the most recent figures from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), only 5% has been planted so far this year. Corn producers are having a similarly rough year thus far. Only 35% of Minnesota’s corn has been put in the ground so far. Normally by this time, almost double as much would have been planted according to the USDA.

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Report: Biden Admin Mulls Environmental Regulations That Farmers Say Could Crush Agriculture Industry

The Biden administration is reportedly considering clamping down on a widely-used herbicide that farmers and industry groups have argued is key for maintaining low prices.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering tighter restrictions on the use of atrazine, a key herbicide often applied to corn, soybeans and sorghum, according to a March letter from the Triazine Network obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Triazine Network is a coalition of more than 20 industry groups including members of the National Corn Growers Association, the National Grain Sorghum Producers Association and the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association.

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Farmers Hit Hard by Price Increases as Food Price Spike Looms

Man in white shirt and jeans planting seeds in the ground of a garden

Goods and services around the country are becoming increasingly more expensive, but farmers may be among the hardest hit as inflation, supply chain issues, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are expected to send food prices soaring even higher.

That impact is being felt by farmers around the country.

“The cost of fertilizer is up as much as 500% in some areas,” said Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron. “It would be unbelievable if I hadn’t seen it for myself as I priced fertilizer for our farm in southern Indiana. Fertilizer is a global commodity and can be influenced by multiple market factors, including the situation in Ukraine, and all of these are helping to drive up costs.”

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Bona Fide Republican Natisha Brooks, Candidate for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, Discusses Her Background and Goals

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed a bonafide Republican candidate for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional district, Natisha Brooks to talk about her background and campaign goals.

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2022 Mid-South Agricultural Trade Conference Set for March 3rd; Registration Ends February 20th

Farmers, agribusinesses, and agricultural leaders can learn about the significance of international trade on local agriculture production, markets, and economies at the 2022 Mid-South Agricultural Trade Conference on March 3, 2022, according to a press release by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

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Commentary: It’s an Unraveling, Not a Reset

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that a shortage of fertilizer is causing farms in the developing world to fail, threatening food shortages and hunger. Ironically, the lead photo is of mounds of phosphate fertilizer in a Russian warehouse.

Modern synthetic fertilizers are typically made using natural gas or from phosphorous-bearing ores. The former provides the nitrogen that is critical to re-use of fields in commercial agriculture. They constitute more than half of all synthetic fertilizer production. 

So what happens when oil and natural gas extraction are crippled in industrialized nations? One likely outcome is that the fertilizer manufacturing industry is also crippled, leaving both large commercial growers and smaller farms around the world starved of a key substance they need to grow food for hungry populations.

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Iowa Farmers Prepare for California’s Prop 12

Man in gray tee and blue jeans walking in a field with two hogs behind him

Hogs born Jan. 1, 2022, or later are subject to California’s Prop 12.

Some Iowa agricultural leaders have criticized the law, which prohibits the sale of pork from hogs that are the offspring of sows that were raised in pens with less than 24 square feet of usable floorspace per pig.

California accounts for about 15% of the U.S. pork market, the National Pork Producers Council said in a September news release. The NPPC is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to determine Prop 12’s constitutionality.

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Wisconsin Lawmakers Order Agriculture Export Plan by the End of 2021

Lawmakers in Madison are looking send a lot more of Wisconsin’s agricultural products around the globe. 

The Joint Committee on Finance on Tuesday approved a $5 million, five-year plan that orders the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to come-up with a plan to increase ag exports in Wisconsin by 25%.

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Biden Climate Pact Hobbles U.S. Manufacturing and Agriculture But Gives China, India, Russia a Pass

White smoke emitting from a couple of buildings

Some of the world’s top emitters of methane haven’t signed a global effort to curb how much of the greenhouse gas is emitted by 2030.

The three countries – China, Russia and India – that produce the most methane emissions in the world haven’t signed onto the pact, which has been spearheaded by the U.S. and European Union ahead of a major United Nations climate conference. The nations that have signed the agreement represent nearly 30% of global methane emissions, the State Department said Monday.

The U.S. and EU unveiled the Global Methane Pledge on Sept. 18, which they said would be key in the global fight against climate change. The U.K., Italy, Mexico and Argentina were among the seven other countries that immediately signed the agreement last month.

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Florida District Judge Halts Discriminatory Program by Biden Administration

Earlier this week, Florida District Judge Marcia Morales Howard issued a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against the Biden administration. The lawsuit was initiated by a farmer who said a debt relief program to “socially disadvantaged farmers” is discriminatory.

In the $1.9 billion stimulus packaged signed by Biden earlier this year, approximately $4 billion of the plan is designated to assist exclusively farmers of color for debt relief through direct payments up to 120 percent of the farmer’s outstanding debt.

The order by Howard prevents the USDA from distributing the payments directly to farmers enrolled in the program.

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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Nestle, Cargill in Human Rights Lawsuit

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Nestle USA and Cargill could not be sued for alleged human rights abuses that occurred overseas.

The plaintiffs, six Mali citizens enslaved as children on Ivory Coast cocoa farms supplying the food giants, sued Nestle and Cargill for damages, alleging the companies had aided and profited from child labor. The court ruled the corporations could not be sued for the overseas abuses.

“Nearly all the conduct they allege aided and abetted forced labor—providing training, equipment, and cash to overseas farmers—occurred in the Ivory Coast,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion.

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Commentary: Are Race-Based Government Programs on the Verge of Extinction?

United States District Judge William C. Griesbach sustained a motion last week for a temporary restraining order to block a program under the Department of Agriculture to forgive certain government loans for farmers belonging to at least one “socially disadvantaged group.” The Department of Agriculture identified groups eligible for this classification as “a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities . . . one or more of the following: Black/African American, American Indian, Alaskan native, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, or Pacific Islander.”

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Judge Halts Debt Relief Program for Farmers of Color After White Farmers Sue

A federal judge Thursday afternoon suspended a loan forgiveness program that issues relief to farmers and agricultural workers of color.

Judge William Griesbach of Wisconsin’s Eastern District handed down a temporary restraining order after the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit in April. The group alleged in its announcement that President Joe Biden’s relief program was unconstitutional and that white farmers should have been included in the loan program.

“The Court recognized that the federal government’s plan to condition and allocate benefits on the basis of race raises grave constitutional concerns and threatens our clients with irreparable harm, said Rick Esenberg, WILL’s president and general counsel, in a press release Thursday. “The Biden administration is radically undermining bedrock principles of equality under the law.”

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Five White Farmers Sue over Loan Forgiveness Only for Blacks, Other Minorities

Group of farmers harvesting crops

Christopher Baird owns a dairy farm near Ferryville in southwest Wisconsin, not far from the Mississippi River. He milks about 50 cows and farms approximately 80 acres of pasture.

Like a lot of farmers, Baird has direct loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. 

But the dairy farmer isn’t entitled to a new FSA loan-forgiveness program provided as part of COVID-19 relief in the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, legislation touted Wednesday night by President Joe Biden in his address to Congress. 

Baird is white. He joined four other white farmers Thursday in suing federal officials over being left out.

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Lawmaker Says Biofuel Tax Credit Will Benefit Ohio Drivers, Farmers

From Lake Erie to the Ohio River, acres upon acres of vast cornfields blanket Ohio’s countryside, and an Ohio lawmaker wants state drivers to take advantage of the crop when they fill up their tanks.

Rep. Riordan McClain, R-Upper Sandusky, has introduced a bill in the Ohio House that would create a temporary, nonrefundable tax credit on the sale of E15 and higher blended biofuels of 5 cents a gallon.

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Commentary: The Renewable Fuel Standard is not ‘Pro-Farmer’

With the election around the corner, the D.C. swamp is hard at work.  Various special interests are trying to make their pet issue look like an election asset or liability.  One interest group working overtime is the biofuel lobby.  The federal Renewable Fuel Standard – or RFS – is often falsely labeled as a “pro-farmer” energy policy that helps the Heartland.

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Commentary: The Virus Is Not Invincible, But It’s Exposing Who’s Irreplaceable

In all the gloom and doom, and media-driven nihilism, there is actually an array of good news. As many predicted, as testing spreads, and we get a better idea of the actual number and nature of cases, the death rate from coronavirus slowly but also seems to steadily decline.

Early estimates from the World Health Organization and the modeling of pessimists of a constant 4 percent death rate for those infected with the virus are for now proving exaggerated for the United States. More likely, as testing spreads, our fatality rates could descend to near 1 percent.

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Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Visit Minnesotans ‘Shortchanged by Donald Trump’ Wednesday

Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign announced Tuesday that the Democratic billionaire will make a campaign stop in Minnesota to discuss policies for people “shortchanged by Donald Trump.”

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Requests Farm Bailout from Federal Government Because of Weather

by Tyler Arnold   Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is seeking federal funding for farms in her state because of the struggles farmers are facing from an unusual wet period and other issues with the weather. “Michigan farmers are in a state of crisis right now because of extraordinary weather conditions,…

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