Farm Bill Fail & Raising the Bar

Farm Bill Fail & Raising the Bar

Farm Bill Fail & Raising the Bar plus Food Forethought. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Northwest Report.

The clock continues to tick on the 2012 Farm Bill and Congress will only have a little over a week to figure it out when they come back from the August break. Ag groups are coming together to push for a swift passage and there is a threat that if nothing is done it will revert back to the 1949 version of the bill. But Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s not so sure.

GRASSLEY: I don’t think dissention is going to be a major problem. If there’s a conclusion that to - a five-year farm bill and the conclusion is add to the 1949 farm bill, I think an extension of the existing farm bill, probably without direct payments, probably reinstitute the 2008 disaster programs, I think that can be done.

The Obama Administration has raised the bar when it comes to fuel economy. After a year of negotiation, it finally reached a formal agreement with automakers and unions to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to a minimum 54.5 mpg by 2025. The current standard is 35.5 in the next 4 years. One of the biggest upsides to raising the fuel economy is the ability to cut OPEC oil imports by as much as 50%. Look to see a big push for electric vehicles.

Now with today’s Food Forethought, here’s Lacy Gray.

The school year is barely underway and the USDA’s new school lunch standards have already hit a snag. There’ve been reports that a number of kids are still hungry after eating lunch. It may be the USDA’s one size fits all approach to maximum amounts of protein and calories just isn’t going to work, especially when it comes to active kids. Contrary to what we often read and hear, there are still a lot of physically active children out there. American Farm Bureau Farm Policy Specialist Kelli Ludlum says the major problem with the USDA’s new lunch standards appears to be the lack of flexibility in providing either fewer or more calories depending on the student’s age, body weight, and level of activity. The positive side to the new standards include serving more fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing the amount of whole grains, and lowering the amounts of saturated fats and sodium. As most everyone who has ever been on a regulated diet knows, when you severely lower fat intake you do feel hungry sooner after eating. To stay on this nutritionally improved track, schools may have to incorporate offering students a healthy afternoon snack that is high in protein.

Thanks Lacy. That’s today’s Northwest Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.

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