Just a few things the NFU has taken notice and a couple of things from me …
State centralization of Ohio’s municipal taxes has few fans
The Columbus Dispatch
Opposition is growing to a Kasich administration proposal that hasn’t yet seen the light of day.
Centralizing municipal income-tax collections is an idea Gov. John Kasich has kicked around for months, and it continues to percolate within the Department of Taxation.
But as Tax Commissioner Joseph Testa approaches some municipal leaders about the possibility, he has been met with tough questions from some and opposition from others.
“Conceptually, we don’t agree with the statewide collection of local taxes,” said Brian Hoyt, a spokesman for Gahanna Mayor Becky Stinchcomb.
Testa recently spoke with Stinchcomb about statewide local tax collections, a notion that is opposed by the Ohio Municipal League.
Ohio Farm Bureau takes stand for anti-union law
Youngstown Business Journal
Meanwhile, the Ohio Farm Federation, which represents more than 200,000 members in all 88 Ohio counties, announced its support Tuesday for the “reasonable reforms” of Issue 2, which if approved by voters would keep in place Senate Bill 5. Passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. John Kasich earlier this year, the legislation curtails collective bargaining rights for state and local public workers in Ohio.
The farm bureau said it determined that Ohio taxpayers would be best served by Issue 2’s passage, according to John C. Fisher, its executive vice president.
Ohio’s Farm Science Review will include financial advice for farmers
The 2011 Farm Science Review, Sept. 20-22 will include a series of presentations to provide financial strategies, tools and resources to help farmers achieve stability and success in the agricultural industry.
One presenter, Ohio State University agricultural economist Luther Tweeten, says continued demand for agricultural products has kept agriculture more financially stable than other sectors of the U.S. economy. “Farmers will play a key role in getting the country back on track,” he said.
But, while he’s optimistic, Tweeten’s presentation, “Income and Employment,” is geared toward helping larger farming operations make cautious decisions in light of recent financial volatility. It will take place Sept. 20 at 11:30 a.m. on the stage in the OSU Area on Friday Avenue.
U.S. farm income tops $100 billion for first time
U.S. farm income will soar past $100 billion for the first time in 2011 following rising cash receipts for everything from corn, wheat and cotton to soybeans, the Agriculture Department said on Tuesday.
U.S. farm income is forecast at $103.6 billion for 2011, up $24.5 billion, or 31 percent from 2010. Much of the increase is the result of higher crop values, which are expected to rise by $33.6 billion.
“Many different crop and livestock categories are expected to achieve record high sales,” said USDA. It forecast crop receipts to be 19 percent higher than in 2010 and livestock receipts to rise by nearly 16 percent.
Volatile energy prices will make their way to the bottom-line of U.S. farmers with total expenses forecast to increase by $32.5 billion in 2011, exceeding $300 billion for the first time, USDA said. Overall, electricity and petroleum and oil inputs will increase by $3.3 billion to $21.1 billion.
Drought, high demand makes hay hard to find
A scorching drought in the southern Plains has caused hay prices to soar, benefiting farmers to the north but forcing many ranchers to make a difficult choice between paying high prices or selling their cattle.
Ranchers in much of Texas, Oklahoma and even Kansas are having to pay inflated prices for hay and then shell out even more to have it trucked hundreds of miles from Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska or South Dakota. Their only other options are to reduce the size of their herds or move cattle to rented pastures in another state.
“It’s pretty ugly,” said Don Davis, who raises grass-fed beef on his ranch about 75 miles northwest of San Antonio.
Davis said he used to think last year’s dry weather couldn’t get worse, but this year’s record-setting drought has put even more pressure on ranchers.
Irene leaves behind hard times for East Coast farmers
Far from the beach towns that took Hurricane Irene’s first hit, the storm inflicted some of its worst damage on inland farms as crops were pummeled by wind, scalded by salt spray and submerged by floodwaters. Some farmers are reporting total losses.
“My tobacco crop is completely wiped out. I can’t harvest any of it,” said Keith Beavers, whose Mount Olive farm lies about 70 miles from the ocean. “It’s either blown off the stalk or off the limb, and what’s left is raggedy.”
It could take days or weeks for federal agriculture officials to estimate overall losses, but the toll is already clear for many individual farms after a growing season that was too hot in the South and too wet in the Northeast. Especially hard-hit were tobacco growers preparing to harvest in North Carolina and Virginia — two top tobacco states — and blueberry growers in New Jersey whose damaged bushes could spell trouble for future harvests.
After surveying farms in North Carolina on Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged farmers to file crop damage claims with their insurers and said federal assistance may cover additional losses and damage to rural infrastructure.
Dairy orgs disagree on proposed dairy policy impacts
Dairy Herd Network
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) takes strong exception to assertions made by the National Milk Producers Federation regarding the impact of proposed dairy policy reform on exports. NMPF claims that eliminating the Dairy Product Price Support Program will provide more incentive for exports. However, economic models show that the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP), included in draft legislation offered for discussion by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), would have significantly lowered U.S. dairy exports and hurt industry growth at a cost of thousands of U.S. jobs if it had been in effect in 2009, according to respected economists.
The March 2011 study by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) of the University of Missouri, The Economic Impact of the Dairy Market Stabilization Program on 2009 Dairy Markets, directly calculates that U.S. dairy exports would have dropped significantly if the DMSP had triggered limits to farm milk production during the dates reviewed. Study results from the appendix table show that during three months – March, April and May of 2009 – U.S. exports of nonfat dry milk would have fallen by 38 percent, butter exports by 16.4 percent and American cheese exports by 8 percent.
Dave Juday: The ethanol era is over
For more than two decades, ethanol has been the third rail of Iowa presidential politics. John McCain famously skipped the Iowa caucus in 2000 because of his anti-ethanol position.
Times have changed. These days, support for ethanol is not the touchstone in Iowa politics it once was. In this summer’s Ames straw poll, a remarkable 84 percent of voters backed candidates who are either questioning or openly critical of current ethanol policy.
Indeed, the winner of the straw poll was ethanol critic Michele Bachmann. Bachmann opposed the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which established the federal ethanol mandates, citing ethanol’s “mixed results in efficiency and costs.” Moreover, she voted against the 2008 agricultural authorization bill, saying it was “loaded with unbelievably outrageous pork for agricultural business and ethanol growers.”