Noem to introduce school lunch bill today — Progress on crop subsidy …

December 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

NOEM TO DROP SCHOOL LUNCH BILL TODAY: “Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) will today introduce a bill to loosen the standards set by the massive overhaul of the school lunch program, potentially refueling criticism against the legislation that passed three years ago,” Pro’s Tarini Parti reports.

“Noem’s bill, Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act, would eliminate calorie caps on meat and grain, giving schools some flexibility in what they can serve, especially for those in states like South Dakota, Noem’s home state, where it’s expensive to get a variety of fruits and vegetables year round and meet the overall calorie requirements.

Although Noem’s bill deals with a specific section of the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, it could renew the negative attention the legislation has received since it was passed. Already this week, “Fox and Friends” featured a video titled “We are hungry” that went viral last year in a segment in which Noem discussed her bill.”

Parti’s story is available here:

GOOD MORNING! Welcome to Morning Ag where this has been the read of the day: On a related note, your host could really go for a cookie. Thoughts? News? Tips? Feel free to send them to and @jennyhops. Follow us @Morning_Ag and @POLITICOPro.

PETERSON: PROGRESS ON SETTLING CROP SUBSIDY DIFFERENCES: The four leading farm bill negotiators have made significant strides in settling differences over how to handle crop subsidies and have only about 10 remaining issues that lawmakers are still at odds over, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said yesterday, Pro’s Bill Tomson reports.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) laid out a series of compromises aimed at forging a deal with their House counterparts — Peterson and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) — Wednesday morning in a meeting of the principal conferees, and Peterson said he was optimistic about getting a grand deal as early as Tuesday next week.

“We made a lot of progress on the commodity title this morning,” Peterson told reporters in a Capitol Hill hallway. “We went through [the Senate proposal] and we identified probably 10 things that we still don’t agree on and now we’re trying to work through that. We got out on the table what our disagreements were. We’ve got staff working on [how] to bridge those. We’re hoping by maybe tomorrow morning we could have it down to three or four.”

Peterson did not identify any of the specific issues that were resolved or the differences that still require attention.

STICKING POINTS: The commodity title of the farm bill, the section devoted to creating a new safety net of subsidies for farmers, has been a source of extreme frustration for the principals with various farm groups lining up behind the different methods for providing subsidies laid out in separate House and Senate farm bill versions. Producers of primarily Midwestern crops, such as corn and soybeans, have generally supported the Senate bill with its subsidies linked to historical “base” acres. Southern crop producers, including peanut and rice farmers, have generally supported the House bill, with its higher price support triggers for subsidies tied to the current amount of acres that farmers are planting.

Peterson also proclaimed that a deal has been reached on whether the compromise farm bill will contain the Senate’s controversial Dairy Market Stabilization Program, a provision that he has championed, though he wouldn’t say what that deal was.

“The issue is resolved,” he said cryptically. Previously Peterson said the program would have to be included for him to support the passage of the overall farm bill.

For the full story, go here:

**A message from Fuel For Thought: Higher ethanol blends mandated by Congress are putting consumers at risk: from engine failures to higher food prices. Tell the President to fix the mandate for higher ethanol. Visit to learn more and take action.**

THE RFS BATTLE ROYAL HEADS TO EPA: More than 140 people representing oil, ag, environmental, biofuels and consumer groups — with some lawmakers and other interested parties mixed in — will make their case on the pros and cons of the proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard to EPA at a 12-hour public hearing today, in Arlington, Va. And it won’t be pretty. The proposal seeks to cut for the first time the amount of ethanol that must be mixed into gasoline, and has been lauded by the petroleum and food industries but panned by ag and biofuels groups. For more on the proposal, check out Pro Energy’s Darren Goode’s preview of the hearing here:

And look for coverage of the event from Pro Ag tomorrow, as MA is planning to attend.

SUPPLEMENT INDUSTRY PITCHES HEALTH CARE SAVINGS: The Council for Responsible Nutrition has released a study showing that billions of dollars could be saved from health care programs if supplements were more often used by at risk individuals to stem such things as heart disease and osteoporosis. And the council is making sure Congress knows about it, reports Pro’s Helena Bottemiller Evich.

“‘[The report] demonstrates there are significant cost savings to be realized,’ Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN, told a Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus briefing attended by about 30 staffers on the Hill.

“All five of the major dietary supplement trade associations — CRN, American Herbal Products Association, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Natural Products Association and United Natural Products Alliance — have already begun sharing and discussing the report with individual offices as well as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and House Energy and Commerce committees, according to Mike Greene, CRN’s vice president of government relations.

“The savings analysis, commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation and conducted by Frost Sullivan, found that there could be big health care cost savings if adults over the age of 55 with chronic diseases use certain supplements. For example, taken at “preventive intake levels,” psyllium dietary fiber could save $2.5 billion in coronary heart disease costs while calcium and vitamin D could save $1.5 billion annually, according to the study.” Bottemiller Evich’s story is available here:

PORK, POULTRY PARTS INCLUDED IN SALMONELLA PLAN: USDA for the first time is planning to set performance standards for Salmonella in pork and poultry parts, Pro’s Parti reports.

“The department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced it will develop a directive dealing with sanitary dressing in hogs in 2014 following evidence from outbreak data showing that pork products contribute to Salmonella illnesses. It also will explore developing a Salmonella sampling program and performance standard for ground pork and other pork parts…

…“it’s something they’ve discussed with us in the past,” [American Meat Institute spokesman Eric Mittenthal] said. “We can’t say what it will mean for the industry until we see what the directive actually says, but it’s important to point out that a directive simply instructs inspection personnel on procedures within the plant.” …Tom Super, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, said the industry has been expecting the new standard for poultry parts and is “constantly striving to do better.” The full story is available here:

USDA SETS UP ENERGY EFFICIENCY LOAN PROGRAM: The Agriculture Department will offer up to $250 million to rural electric co-ops and utilities for lending out to business and residential customers for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects — part of President Barack Obama’s climate action plan. USDA’s Rural Utilities Service “will loan funds to a utility for an energy efficiency program. The utility, in turn, may choose to relend these funds to their consumers (ultimate recipient) for energy efficiency improvements in industrial, commercial, or residential applications,” USDA writes in a Federal Register notice today. “The utility may also use the funds to complete energy efficiency activities on their own property.” The amount of funding available will be adjusted based on program performance, USDA said. FR notice:

I-522 VOTE CERTIFIED: Washington State’s Secretary of State will certify election results today from the Nov. 5 ballot, including those for the state’s now failed GMO food labeling ballot initiative I-522. In the final tally, 51.09 percent of voters opposed the measure, while 48.91 percent supported it — a much closer race than the almost 10 percentage point split reported on election night. The difference came down to less than 40,000 votes.

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS RAISE A GLASS TO PROHIBITION’S REPEAL: Prohibition ended 80 years ago this week, and several trade associations are marking the anniversary. The National Beer Wholesalers Association has purchased ad space on CBS big screen on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th avenues in Times Square. The video will be running into the new year and is also available online. The Beer Institute will also celebrate the repeal with a Thursday event that marks 80 years to the day since the Utah State Legislature voted for repeal — giving the amendment the states necessary for ratification. See the NBWA ad here:


- Three Wall Street trade groups have filed suit against the CFTC over the commission’s recent guidance on cross-border trades, which the groups said should have been done as a rule, The Wall Street Journal reports:

- Congressional Democrats in a letter sent yesterday are putting pressure on McDonalds and other fast-food chains to increase wages for their workers, Bloomberg reports:

- Food and drink giants PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch InBev are among the companies that have scored a coveted advertising spot for the now sold out 2014 Super Bowl, The Wall Street Journal reports:

- A new study finds that people prefer the taste of coffee when told that its “eco friendly” over the same brew without such a label, the Chicago Tribune reports:

- German brewers are seeking to have their 500-year-old beer purity law included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports:

THAT’S ALL FOR MA! We will see you tomorrow! In the meantime, drop your host and the rest of the Pro Ag team a line: and @JsonHuffman; and @mjkorade; and @billtomson4; and @hbottemiller; and and @tparti. You can also follow @POLITICOPro and @Morning_Ag.

**A message from Fuel For Thought: The Renewable Fuel Standard is bad news for everybody. It could cause damage to engines and motors of all sizes, from your car to your boat to your lawnmower. Plus, a higher ethanol blend can even raise food prices, because it diverts crops from food production to ethanol. And actually damage the environment by converting conservation land into ethanol cornfields. The Renewable Fuel Standard is a broken congressional mandate; tell the President to fix it. Visit to learn more.**

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