Legislative Update - cont.
Corn gluten feed was used on 46 percent of beef cow operations and 38 percent of cattle feeding operations. Most operators bought the co-products from feed companies or cooperatives, but some purchases were made directly from ethanol and other processing plants. Managers of livestock operations who did not use ethanol co- products cited availability as the primary impediment.
Bald Eagles No Longer Endangered Species
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced Thursday that bald eagles will no longer be classified as an endangered species. The eagle was taken off the Endangered Species list after government biologists documented as many as 10,000 nesting pairs of the birds around the nation. This compares to the 417 pair of birds in 1963. The bald eagle will remain protected by the 1940 law prohibiting the killing of the national symbol and protecting the bird from other man- made harms.
Animal Welfare Legislation
On June 11, the Oregon legislature approved legislation banning sow gestation stalls. The bill passed the House 35-32. The Senate voted 20-9 to approve the measure in May. If the legislation is signed into law by the governor, Oregon will become the third state to ban gestation stalls but the first to do so by legislative action (public referenda banned the practice in Florida in 2002 and in Arizona in 2006). The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was the primary supporter of the bill. The original Senate bill also included a ban on veal stalls, but that provision was stricken.
Chairman Peterson will release documents outlining the complete farm
bill proposal to be taken up by the full House Agriculture Committee this week. The committee is expected to release two documents. The first document will deal only with the baseline funding package that meets the pay-go requirements, and the second will deal only with provisions subject to reserve funding. Complete legislative language for the draft documents will be released on July 6.
Full committee markup will begin on July 17. Timing for the House floor is less certain, although the chairman has discussed a desire for a full House vote the week of July 30, right before the August congressional recess.
In brief for sheep programs:
Peterson’s chairman mark released Friday, only has $1.10 base loan rate for wool (is an increase but slightly less than the $1.20 requested by the sheep industry). It does have the unshorn pelt this time as that was a senate provision only in 2002 farm bill. Also has the sheep center reauthorized (no mandated $ though) and the ASI provision of prescriptive grazing on CRP for invasive species.
The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture web site
http://agriculture.house.gov has additional information.
Eastern Regional WS Coalition asks for more funding
MLWPA, the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association and Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation were among several state sheep producer, cattleman’s, and state Farm Bureaus who signed on to a letter asking for continued support of the livestock protection program of USDA Wildlife Services.
With well over 250,000 sheep and nearly 150,000 cattle lost to predators each year, the Wildlife Services livestock protection program is vital to the economic survival of the livestock industry. The value of livestock lost to predators and predator control costs are major expenses of livestock production.
The undersigned sheep, cattle and farm organizations of the Eastern United States strongly support an increase in the livestock protection program of Wildlife Services in the FY 2008 appropriations for agriculture of $3.6 million.
The $3.6 million needed for the Wildlife Services Eastern Region would help fund livestock predation protection programs in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Mississippi, Minnesota, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. In FY 2006, USDA Wildlife Services provided predator damage management assistance in the 11 states at varying levels. A total of $878,480 was spent on livestock protection of which 74 percent, or $650,480, was cooperative funding from state and county governments, livestock groups and livestock producers themselves. This funding was in addition to funding designated to protect livestock from wolf depredation in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Pawlenty Vetoes Tax Bill
Keeping with his pledge of no new taxes, Governor Pawlenty vetoed the tax bill this spring. The tax bill contained a number of things that farm groups supported and a number that farm groups opposed. One down side was the loss of additional Ag sales tax exemptions for fencing, and livestock equipment that would have benefited sheep producers. Better luck next year.