The House narrowly (217-210) approves to cut food stamps by $39 billion over the next 10 years, AgWeb reports. Opponents dub the measure as "heartless" and equivalent to "snatching food out of the hands" of babes, while proponents argue that the cuts will restore the programs original intentions to help the "truly needy." Politico states that Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) considers this a victory, restoring the "spirit that led to welfare reform" in the 90’s but Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) questions the value of this bill, which she says is a huge waste of time because it won’t pass the Senate, and wonders how it will effect getting a farm bill. Whereas, Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) believes this is the first step in the ultimate goal—getting a five-year farm bill enacted.
Reuters gives a good back-and-forth between the two sides. One side says that this legislature is "preying on people," while the other side says that the program is "fraught with abuse" and it is "wrong for working, middle-class people to pay" for abuse. USA Today simply calls it a "bitter philosophical divide." That it is, USA Today. That it is.
It’s a fine line to walk—helping the needy and weeding out the greedy. It's as much an emotional battle as a political one. Whether it is a waste of time or a step in the right direction lets just get something moving. Now, can we get a farm bill already? The clock is ticking!
Speaking of the Farm Bill ...
Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow says Eric Cantor is holding up the farm bill in an interview on "AgriTalk." She said that "the Senate will work to tackle "legitimate waste, fraud and abuse," but that doesn’t mean trimming $40 billion from the food stamps program." The farm bill still has a lot of hurdles to overcome and a deadline that's not just nipping at its heels ... it's biting down and drawing blood. We just hope that this doesn't lead to yet another extension. Let's get it done people!
Coming Soon to an Employer Near You: Obamacare
The inner machinations of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, are an enigma ...
However, all confusion aside, there is a looming deadline approaching. By Oct. 1 (that’s only 11 days away, hard to believe September is nearly over) all employers must give a notice to their employees about the new healthcare reform exchange. This includes everyone, no matter if you run a ranch, farm or a beauty shop, you must give a notice. AgWeb has the details, PDF downloads and some advice from a CPA.
Antibiotic Resistance in the News ... Again
There is no doubt that antibiotic resistance is an important issue that needs to be taken seriously; however, it would be nice to have some real answer, with real solutions, instead of the blame game. But those pesky answer/solution factors just get in the way of finger pointing. So, like any good watchdog website, FoodandWaterWatch.org shamelessly blames the "unnecessary and inappropriate" use of antibiotics in livestock, which are used to counter act "unsanitary conditions."
This is where opponents to antibiotic use in livestock like to site the Denmark antibiotic ban as proof-positive we should stop treating our animals with antibiotics, just go cold-turkey. But if you ever find yourself in an antibiotic debate—especially concerning the Denmark ban—Food Dialogues offers up some antibiotic Q&A along with a list of all the negative side-effects brought on by the ban. You can end your hypothetical debate with a quote from Paul Harvey: Now you know the rest of the story.
Ag Disaster in Colorado
Crops are being smothered, barns and silos are crashing down, hay and alfalfa fields are underwater ... it sounds like the farm apocalypse but it’s happening in Colorado. This could spell real trouble for producers, causing tight supplies and skyrocketing prices. AgWeb has the details and a place to donate to the Colorado Farm Bureau, which is giving 100% of the proceeds directly to producers in the disaster zone.
Take Time to Stop and Smell the Milk
Have you ever thrown out milk because it was past the "sell by" date? It’s OK to admit it, we’ve all been there. Well, Grist explains what that date really means and why you should opt for the smell test instead of going by the date. Of course, this segues right into the issue of food waste in America but they do give some good tips on how to avoid waste, which is always a good idea.
High-Speed in the Boonies
If you live in certain parts of Iowa, Oregon, South Dakota or Minnesota, we’ve got good news! Broadband high-speed internet service is coming to you. That is, if you don’t already have a high-speed internet connection via satellite or cell towers. USDA just announced the approval of funding for the construction of the new network. Go ahead and rejoice with a happy dance, GTN don’t judge.
Just for Fun
Do you need a better way to get into your tree house, deer stand or otherwise lofty structure? Have we got a solution for you—a bicycle elevator. That’s right—you could even make it an elevator built for two with a tandem Schwinn. If you decide to build this for your deer stand, take note, the noise may scare every deer for miles but with some creative modification you could probably muffle the noise. Grist has the rather amusing video.