Crop insurance juicy target in ‘fiscal cliff’ deal
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — Rural lawmakers worried $9 billion in annual federal crop insurance subsidies are an easy target for spending cuts in any deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” are shopping around for a late compromise on a farm bill to protect them.
The farm-state leaders hope if they can strike a deal on a farm bill, it might be included in a broader package to undo tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to automatically kick in next year. But the leaders hit an impasse last week, just as President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio did in their negotiations.
The Senate and House agriculture bills preserve crop insurance subsidies and create new crop insurance programs. The White House in the past has targeted the insurance program for cuts.
4 killed when van collides with tractor in Kentucky
CADIZ, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky State Police said four people were killed, including three teenagers, when the van they were in collided with a tractor on a road in Trigg County.
Police said in a news release the fatal accident occurred around 8 a.m. on Dec. 8 on KY 274, when 30-year-old David Shoaf crashed his van into a farm tractor being operated by 58-year-old Carl Calhoun, of Cadiz. Shoaf was killed, along with three passengers: 19-year-old Dalton R. McDougall, 18-year-old Kimberly M. Shafer and 17-year-old Lindsey M. Sholar, according to identifications provided by the Trigg County Coroner.
A fourth passenger, 18-year-old Brenden J. Breen, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Breen was the only person wearing a seatbelt, according to police. Police are continuing to investigate the cause of the accident.
Donnelly joins Senate agriculture, military panels
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP) — U.S. Sen.-Elect Joe Donnelly of Indiana will serve on the Senate’s ag and military panels.
Donnelly announced last week he will serve on the Agriculture and Armed Service committees in addition to the Senate Aging Committee. He says the assignments will help him “serve the diverse needs of Hoosiers.”
Donnelly beat Republican Richard Mourdock last month for the seat Sen. Richard Lugar held for the last 36 years. Donnelly is finishing his third term in the House, where he served on the Veterans’ Affairs and Financial Services committees while representing northern Indiana.
Des Moines bus gets anti-hog crate message
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines bus will carry a message against confining some hogs in small crates. The Des Moines Area Transit Authority bus will be wrapped in the advertisement for six months.
The Des Moines Register reported the Humane Society of the United States paid $14,810 for the ad, which shows hogs behind metal bars. It’s part of the group’s efforts against use of the crates, in which some hogs are kept when pregnant.
A similar ad will be placed on a bus in Washington. Producers say the crates protect sows, but animal advocates say the small crates are cruel.
ISU survey shows 24 percent jump in farmland value
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State University’s annual Land Value Survey says the value of Iowa farmland rose 24 percent over the past year, to set a record of nearly $8,300 an acre.
The survey in November included 486 responses from Iowa land brokers. It was the third straight year farmland value has risen more than 15 percent.
But ISU extension’s Mike Duffy, who oversees the survey, says the boom likely will fade over the next five years. He said higher global production will lower crop prices and tamp down land values.
Judge hears testimony about Ohio exotic animal law
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An animal owner has told a federal judge Ohio’s new regulations on exotic creatures would wipe out most of her business and put her animals’ lives in danger.
Cyndi Huntsman testified a requirement that animals receive a microchip for ID would put them at risk because of sedation during surgery. She is one of four owners suing the state over the new law, claiming it violates their property and First Amendment rights.