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Vilsack defends CAFOs at congressional hearing

No, we do want to go down that road: In a House appropriations subcommittee hearing yesterday with Secretary Vilsack on the stand, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) called out industrial livestock operations as "threats to human health" because of their pollution and contribution to antibiotic resistance. (See...

Family farm advocate named GIPSA head

Sunshine comes to the stockyards: USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack wins some more fans in these quarters by naming Dudley Butler to head the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). (USDA press release) That's the agency responsible for insuring that livestock producers are treated equally...

USDA to hold listening sessions on national animal ID system

Start packing, Walter: We knew swine flu novel H1N1 virus was going to move animal-tracking to the front burner. AgSec Tom Vilsack today announced that the USDA will hold a series of "listening sessions" on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) next month in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut,...

Radical agtivism: California Senate’s new Food and Ag Committee chair

Flowers for Florez: We (heart) California Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, new chair of California's ag committee, which in January took the unprecedented step of adding "food" to its name. This piece from a trade newspaper looks at how he's broken with the herd on animal welfare, animal use of antibiotics, and...

What effect will Arlen Specter have on ag policy?

Specter-ulation: Sen. Arlen Specter's jump to the Dem side of the aisle will have "wide-ranging impact on policy, but particularly Ag policy, both domestic and global," says our favorite AgWonkette, Eddie. She dissects his record for those who haven't been paying attention to this senator from the big dairy...

Feds sue Hallmark slaughterhouse over beef recall

Good luck getting blood from a stone-dead company: The federal government is suing Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., whose workers were caught on videotape abusing nonambulatory cattle, resulting in the nation's biggest beef recall last year. The federal lawsuit seeks $150 million in taxpayer money...

Tom Vilsack has been making friends in both camps

Two-faced Tom?: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has disarmed sustainable-ag opponents through his organic People's Garden for the USDA and appointment of reformers like Kathleen Merrigan, while reassuring agribiz through support for corn ethanol and GMOs. Vilsack himself sees no contradiction: he's just a...

It’s the environment, stupid

Red-tape red herrings: U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, Kansas Republican and U.S. Senate hopeful in two years, warns against his greatest concern in agriculture, "increasing environmental and other rules and regulations." Our greatest concern is that anyone with his attitude is viewed as a "leading member" of the...

Sen. Grassley calls USDA Dep Sec Kathleen Merrigan unqualified

What's her name, you know, that lady the organic people love: During a teleconference today with reporters, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said he thought most of Obama's USDA nominees were “well qualified” except for “the woman from Tufts.” The Senate Agriculture Committee, on which Grassley sits, confirmed...

ObFo looks back on Obama agriculture policy so far

100 days in 2,100 words: A thorough and amusing look at the Obama Administration's food&ag-related staff hires, food safety scandals, and the occasional stumble. (Hint: They have to do with the second item.) Eddie plugs for the creation of a big corps of volunteer food safety inspectors that could be...

Digest – Blogs, features and snacks: Pesticide perversions, subsidy love, the anti-Pollan

Small-town physician sees effects of Big Ag: an Indiana neonatologist finds that birth defects, including spina bifida, cleft pallet and lip, down syndrome, urogenital abnormalities, and club foot (among others) are more likely to occur in pregnancies that begin between April and July — the time period when...

Agrofuels are not the answer for CA’s low-carbon energy needs

This guest post has been unpublished at the request of the contributor due to timing issues.

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