Food Business News - February 11, 2014 - (Page 24)

Washington Putting the new farm bill in focus Changes coming to dairy and SNAP programs while sugar remains the same he U.S. Senate on Feb. 4 passed the Agricultural Act of 2014 by a vote of 68 to 32. The House of Representatives passed the legislation on Jan. 29 by a vote of 251 to 166. The act then was to be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. Once enacted, the Agricultural Act of 2014 and its farm, conservation and nutrition programs will supplant those of the expired Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. The new farm law was expected to reduce spending on farm and nutrition programs by $23 billion over 10 years (when spending reductions from the sequester are included). The most significant farm policy reform was the ending of direct T JAY SJERVEN 24 FOODBUSINESS NEWS ® payments to producers that have been made for each of the past 18 years. The payments were established to help wean producers from then existing federal income support programs that were to be phased out. But the support programs, while modified, weren't phased out, and the direct payments were enshrined in subsequent farm bills, even as they increasingly were viewed as indefensible, even by producers themselves. Under the Agricultural Act, enhanced federally subsidized crop insurance will become the principal safety net for producers. But of particular interest to the food industry is what is new, or not new, in key food and nutrition programs, including dairy, sugar, meat and nutrition assistance. The Agricultural Act of 2014 introduced compromise reforms to the nation's dairy program that, while not earlier championed by either dairy farmers or dairy processors, seemed at least workable for both. The act establishes a Dairy Margin Protection Program to replace the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program as the centerpiece of the federal dairy policy. The margin protection program would provide dairy producers with indemnity payments when dairy margins are below the margin coverage levels the producer chooses to insure on an annual basis. The dairy margin is defined as the all-milk price per cwt minus the average feed cost as calculated monthly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The aim is to protect farm equity by guarding against destructively low margins, not to guarantee a profit for individual producers, proponents asserted. The bill requires the new margin protection program to be in place no later than Sept. 1, 2014, at which time the MILC program would end. Sugar program remains the same While the dairy program underwent an overhaul, the sugar program remained unchanged to the delight of growers but to the disappointment of the food industry. "While reform was a key ingredient to this new farm bill, the American Bakers Association is disappointed that the archaic sugar program once again remains intact," said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A. "The current program continues to put bakers, consumers and other food manufacturers at a disadvantage, and sends thousands of jobs overseas. "The current U.S. sugar program represents the most supply-control focused program in agriculture policy. It even goes so far as to prevent the U.S.D.A. from reacting to market demands for six months out of every year. This has created multiple supply concerns in the past and will undoubtedly lead to more issues in the future.  This being said, congressional supporters of sugar reform gained substantial momentum this past year, and A.B.A. will continue to propel efforts for February 11, 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Business News - February 11, 2014

Food Business News - February 11, 2014
Post to buy PowerBar from Nestle
Beverage ingredients in the spotlight
Beef prices are red hot
Table of Contents
Web Contents
Editorial - Cause marketing gaining momentum
Green Mountain, Coca-Cola form partnership
McDonald’s is learning less is more
F.D.A. proposes sanitary food transportation rule
Price increase still planned for Chipotle
Inside Tyson Foods’ prepared foods strategy
Beef, chicken drive gains for Tyson
Meat costs will hinder Hillshire in second half
Meijer to build dairy facility in Ohio
Hershey seeks to set new bar in spreads
Washington - Putting the new farm bill in focus
Health and Wellness - Digesting the additional benefits of gut health
Are designer fibers on the horizon?
Ingredient Innovations - Making cereal more satisfying
More satiety strategies
Beverage Business News - Beverage ingredients in the spotlight
New Food Products
Ingredient Market Trends - Weather woes continue to affect markets
Ingredient Markets
Supplier Innovations and News
Ad Index
Food Business in the News

Food Business News - February 11, 2014