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The Politics of Turkey - Farm Bill Call Yields No Progress - Senate Dairy Provisions Cheaper Than House Plan

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and or All About Organics page.

THE POLITICS OF TURKEY: That Thanksgiving turkey that you're about to prepare for your dinner table won't be as removed from Capitol Hill as you might think.

Based on turkey consumption in 2012, Americans will eat 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day - about 22 percent of the turkey they consume all year. But, like any major American food source, turkey comes with a massive regime of government-mandated rules and regulations, including those dealing with animal welfare, food safety and labeling. But what are the five policy changes that the turkey industry is worried most about?

The renewable fuel standard remains the regulatory issue of most concern to the turkey industry, National Turkey Federation President Joel Brandenberger told Pro's Tarini Parti. The Obama administration's recent decision to reduce the amount of ethanol that is blended was a major victory for the entire meat and livestock sector. But the turkey industry will continue to push Congress for a full repeal of the mandate or "common sense reforms" because it reduces the supply of corn available for livestock feed, which increases costs for producers, Brandenberger promised.

About 42 percent of corn grown in the U.S. in 2013 went toward ethanol production while 45 percent went toward feed, according to the USDA. Agriculture economist Thomas Elam, president of FarmEcon, estimates that since the enactment of the ethanol mandate, feed costs for the turkey industry have increased by $1.9 billion. For the rest of the article, click here: http://politico.pro/1culGJl

FARM BILL CONFEREE CALL YIELDS NO PROGRESS: There were "no new developments" after a teleconference held by the four principal farm bill conferees Monday evening, a spokeswoman for Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) reports.

Lucas, chairman of the conference committee trying to merge the House and Senate farm bills in the remaining weeks of 2013, spoke by phone with Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in an effort to make some progress after a deal between the four principals fell through on Thursday. The spokeswoman did not indicate how long the call lasted or provide any other details to indicate what was covered in the conversation. She said the negotiations remain "ongoing."

In an earlier radio interview with the Oklahoma Farm Report, Lucas said a dispute over crop subsidies remains the primary obstacle holding up the completion of a new farm bill. Lucas has said a failure last week by the primary conferees to reach a "framework" agreement would likely mean there won't be enough time to complete a farm bill this year.     


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