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AgNet Weekly with Sabrina Halvorson

AgNet Media, Inc.

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Each week we highlight essential legislative and policy conversations affecting agriculture nationwide. Host Sabrina Halvorson is a 30-year media veteran known nationally for her award-winning, balanced, and accurate reporting. For more than 10 years, she has specialized in agriculture news focused on political issues. While most agriculture news podcasts focus primarily on Midwest crops, we uniquely understand specialty crops, their regions, and their related industries. AgNet Weekly also t ...
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Named a Best Book of the Year in The New Yorker, Publishers Weekly, Chicago Tribune, and EcoLit Books and a Must-Read Summer Book by USA Today, the book the Parrot and the Igloo, Climate and the Science of Denial by David Lipsky takes a deep look into the history of climate change and public views on the topic. Lipsky is a New York Times bestsellin…
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The International Fresh Produce Association recently held its Washington Conference, a chance for members and allies to learn more about policy issues and to talk with their elected officials about the issues that are important to the industry. To get an update, we’re talking with Rebeckah Adcock, Vice President of Government Relations for the Inte…
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A proposed northern California anti-agriculture measure could have an effect nationwide. The measure in Sonoma County would eliminate animal agriculture in that county. This week, we’re joined by Executive Director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Dayna Ghirardelli, to tell us more about the push to drive animal ag out.…
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A group of lawmakers is putting some weight on the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service in response to NASS cutting off some important reports. U.S. Representative Tracey Mann (R-KS-01), who is also Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry, is among lawmakers leading the charge to get a tu…
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The Environmental Protection Agency announced its final rule to designate the two most common PFAS chemicals as hazardous materials under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act or CERCLA, and while these chemicals are not used on farms, this rule could have a big financial effect on many farms around the nation. T…
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The USDA is putting a focus on specialty crops with new investments and the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Initiative (SCCI), which is part of a larger effort to support specialty crop producers. In this episode of the AgNet Weekly, Sabrina Halvorson talks with USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, and fifth-generation Californ…
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Friday morning, the Biden administration issued a temporary pause on pending decisions on Liquefied Natural Gas exports – with the exception of unanticipated and immediate national security emergencies. During this period, they will "take a hard look" at the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security, and the environment. Wit…
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With the new year comes new regulations, new laws, a new chance to get the farm bill done. There’s a lot going on for our nation’s farmers and ranchers. To get a perspective from the livestock industry, host Sabrina Halvorson talked with Vice President of Government Affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Ethan Lane. You can hear why…
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The deadline is fast approaching for farmers who have done everything they can and simply remain behind on their loans, and want some help. The Inflation Reduction Act provided more than $3 billion for USDA to provide relief for distressed borrowers with certain Farm Service Agency (FSA) direct and guaranteed loans and to expedite assistance for th…
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U.S. dairy organizations along with elected officials, U.S. trade officials, and ag leaders are expressing disappointment over the recent decision by the USMCA dispute panel in the challenge against Canada’s dairy trade quotas. The U.S. charged that the quotas don’t line up with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA). Last year, a USMCA pan…
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Last month, the Senate committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on Examining the Implications of Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency for Clean Water Act Protections of Wetlands and Streams. Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota is on that committee and was at the hearing, and in fact asked several questions of the witnesses. H…
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President Biden visited a farm in Minnesota this week, where he announced more than $5 billion in new investments from his Investing in America agenda to advance rural prosperity, economic development, competition, and sustainability. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined him on the trip. Sabrina Halvorson spoke with Secretary Vilsack over the p…
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The nation has a new Speaker of the House, and he’s someone already trusted by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Host Sabrina Halvorson talks this week with NCBA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Ethan Lane, who said though Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana has not served on the Agriculture Committee, he has a strong voting record wh…
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In a recent story for Southeast AgNet and AgNet West, Sabrina Halvorson talked with a representative of the National Cattlemens Beef Association on why they’re against the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act. The OFF Act would make some changes to checkoff organizations. After that aired, Sabrina heard from a farmer and organization leader wh…
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In the second episode in our 2-part series on the tomato suspension agreement, we hear from Michael Schadler with the Florida Tomato Exchange, on why the organization wants the agreement terminated and what it could mean for growers. Last week we heard from Lance Jungmeyer, President of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, which is agains…
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Should the U.S. terminate the tomato suspension agreement with Mexico? This agreement is intended to keep Mexico from flooding the U.S. market with underpriced tomatoes, however, some industry leaders say it’s not working, and the agreement needs to be terminated so Mexico can be held accountable. Others worry that terminating the agreement and mak…
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There’s a call to reevaluate the required minimum pay for ag labor and the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) Rule . Michigan’s current minimum wage is $10.10 for workers who don’t get tips, but the minimum wage that farmers can pay their H2A workers is $17.34. The Executive Director of the Michigan Asparagus Association, Jamie Clover Adams, says the …
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The battle over the EATS Act continues. We started this two-part series last week with Mary-Thomas Hart, Chief Council with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which is in support of the EATS Act. This week we hear from the opposition. Marty Irby, President of Competitive Market Action and Board Secretary at the Organization for Competitive …
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Things are heating up over the EATS Act. Supporters of the bill say the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act would prevent states from regulating farmers and ranchers nationwide. But opponents turned up the fire this week when a bipartisan group of more than 150 lawmakers sent a letter to House Agriculture Committee Chair G.T. Thompson …
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How much of our U.S. ag land should belong to our adversaries? About three percent of agricultural land in the United States is owned by foreign entities. But U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota, says even that may be too much. He’s a cosponsor of the FARM Act, or the Foreign Adversary Risk Management Act. Senator Cramer joins…
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This week host Sabrina Halvorson had the opportunity to meet in person with Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, John Boozman of Arkansas, along with Ranking Member of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota. It was at a Farm Bill roundtable held in Fargo, and hosted by Senator Kevin Cramer of Nor…
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The Growing Access to Environmental Sustainability (GATES) Act seeks to reduce barriers that producers face in accessing agricultural conservation programs. Congressman John Duarte, a farmer from California, is on the coalition behind the act. He says current adjusted gross income (AGI) limitations of $900,000 disproportionately limit producers wit…
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This week, Sabrina reported on a proposed amendment to the ag appropriations bill. The amendment states that none of the funds made available by the bill may be used to carry out commodity checkoff programs. Several industry groups came out against the amendment, and she spoke with a representative of one- Vice President of Government Affairs with …
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Many people in farming already know the benefits of precision agriculture but Curt Blades, Senior Vice President of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) says a new study by the association aims to help the public understand. Blades joins us this week to talk about the benefits of precision agriculture and precision ag in the farm bill.…
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Some car makers have decided to not include AM radio in new vehicles. A number of groups have spent months fighting that decision, including emergency management organizations, former members of FEMA, and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. NAFB president Joe Gill joins us this week to discuss why the organization believes this is an imp…
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Congress is looking into farm labor needs around the nation, but it is a challenging task. The House Agriculture Committee recently announced the creation of the bipartisan Agricultural Labor Working Group, which will focus on the workforce issues faced by agricultural producers around the nation. Congressman and farmer Doug LaMalfa of California j…
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Fruit and vegetable plant breeders who use gene editing are now facing more regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA recently increased oversight of some gene-edited crops and added to the workload and waiting time for those breeders. Dr. Margaret Worthington is an Associate Professor of Horticulture at the University of Arkans…
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Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan says if Mexico’s president wanted to restrict GMO corn from the U.S., the time to do that was more than three years ago, before he agreed to the terms of the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Sabrina Halvorson talks with the congressman to get insight into the trade dispute.…
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The Senate Ag Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research held a hearing June 7 on how the farm bill works for Specialty Crop producers. The Vice President of U.S. Government Relations at the International Fresh Produce Association, Rebeckah Adcock, was in attendance. She joined Sabrina Halvorson afterward to discuss…
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Kenneth Smith Ramos, former Mexican Chief Negotiator for the NAFTA and USMCA trade deals and current partner at AGON, was one of the speakers at this week’s USMEF Spring Conference. He sat down with Sabrina Halvorson after his presentation to talk about a number of topics, including specialty crops in trade deals, and how U.S. immigration discussio…
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The Biden Administration this week announced the availability of nearly $11 billion in grants and loan opportunities to help rural energy and utility providers. They say the funding will help bring affordable, reliable, clean energy to communities across the country. Sabrina Halvorson talks with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to get more de…
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H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, passed in the House this week with a vote of 219 to 213, with all Democrats opposed and all but two Republicans in favor. Those Republicans were Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Representative John Duarte of California. Representative Duarte joins host Sabrina Halvorson this week to discuss why he vote…
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The PRIME Act has once again made its way into Congress. Current law exempts custom slaughter of animals from federal inspection regulations, only if the meat is for personal, household, guest, and employee use. So, to sell individual cuts of locally raised meats to consumers, farmers and ranchers must send their animals to a USDA-inspected slaught…
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