Legislative Action News, June 4, 2013

Printer Friendly
Bookmark and Share

New Cash Crop – Insects

One cash crop likely to become significant in the years ahead: Insects.
The UN Food and Agriculture Org. says more than 25% of folks worldwide eat bugs: Nearly 2,000 different species, which provide good nutrition in the bargain…protein, essential minerals and healthy fats. Americans will keep turning up their noses, but U.S. farmers may find export markets to be profitable: Just 2 lbs. of feed can produce up to a pound of insects, vs. about 3-4 lbs. of feed per hog, for example. Copyright 2013. The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.  Login to Member Resources to download the latest issue: http://portal.asfmra.org/Scripts/4Disapi.dll/4DCGI/cms/review.html?Action=CMS_Document&DocID=27&Time=820983562&SessionID=62057594yhofx712z58m6ib178uofz4n8xa01t8fypx92ywdh85706r0j6bv566f&MenuKey=123

Senate Farm Bill Debate Continues
By Stephen Frerichs

The Senate continues debate on the farm bill this week after a one week recess for Memorial Day.  Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Cochran (R-MS) are working to reach an agreement on how many additional amendments the Senate will consider.  Over 190 amendments have been filed as of last week.  Recall, during the consideration of the farm bill in 2012 around 70 amendments were considered by the full Senate. Prior to the Memorial Day recess the Senate voted on 9 amendments to the farm bill and several others were adopted by unanimous consent.

Senate Farm Bill Votes Prior to Memorial Day Recess

1. Amendment #919 by Senator Cantwell (D-WA) to allow Indian tribes to participate in certain soil and water conservation programs – passed 87-8.
2. Amendment #948 by Senator Roberts (R-KS) to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program –defeated 40-58
3. Amendment #931 by Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) to cut crop insurance delivery to restore Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) spending –defeated 26-70.
4. Amendment #960 by Senator Inhofe (R-OK) to block grant SNAP – defeated 36-60.
5. Amendment #925 by Senators Shaheen (D-NH) and Toomey (R-PA) to reform the sugar program – defeated 45-54.
6. Amendment #965 by Senator Sanders (I-VT) to permit States to require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale have a label on indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered ingredient –defeated 27-71.
7. Amendment #923 by Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and McCain (R-AZ) to eliminate premium support for tobacco producers – defeated 44-52.
8. Amendment #1031 by Senator Hagan (D-NC) to add $5 million annually to combat fraud, waste and abuse in the crop insurance program – passed 94-0.
9. Amendment #953 by Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Coburn (R-OK) to impose means testing on crop insurance. Farmers with an AGI greater than $750,000 would pay on average 40% more for crop insurance coverage – passed 59-33.

There are likely to be additional amendments to cut crop insurance spending, as well as possible amendments to change the terms of the commodity title.  If you haven’t, take a minute to call your Senators and urge them to 1) vote for the farm bill on final passage and 2) vote against cuts to crop insurance and commodity title spending.  The simplest way to reach your Senator by phone is to call the U.S. Capital switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected with the Senator’s office.

Link to Senate Amendments filed prior to Memorial Day Recession: Senate floor amendments as of 052113

CSP Application Deadline June 14
By Stephen Frerichs

The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) will provide about $175 million in funding for up to 12.6 million additional acres enrollment this year.

Although applications are accepted all year, farmers, ranchers and forestland owners interested in CSP should submit applications by June 14 to their local NRCS office to ensure they are considered for this year’s funding. The deadline was extended from May 31.

CRP Deadline June 14
By Stephen Frerichs

USDA is conducting a four-week CRP general sign-up beginning May 20 and ending on June 14.  Offers for general sign-up CRP contracts are ranked according to an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI). The FSA collects data for each of the EBI factors based on the relative environmental benefits for the land offered. FSA uses the following factors to assess the environmental benefits for the land offered:

Wildlife habitat benefits resulting from covers on contract acreage; Water quality benefits from reduced erosion, runoff and leaching; On-farm benefits from reduced erosion; Benefits that will likely endure beyond the contract period; Air quality benefits from reduced wind erosion; and Cost.

CRP soil rental rates for non-irrigated cropland were updated this year to better reflect location and market conditions.

USDA has also started sign-up for continuous CRP, including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement Initiative, the Highly Erodible Land Initiative, the Grassland Restoration Initiative, the Pollinator Habitat Initiative and other related initiatives. Sign-up for continuous CRP began on May 13 and will continue through Sept. 30, 2013.

Waterways infrastructure bill passed by Senate
Includes farm fuel spill exemption
May 24, 2013 David Bennett | Delta Farm Press

Aiming to update existing U.S waterways infrastructure and provide additional funds for future projects, on May 15 the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) on an 83 to 14 vote. The act was backed by numerous business, labor and agriculture advocacy groups.

Editorial Note: ASFMRA will have two speakers on this issue at the November meeting in Reno: KC Conway of Colliers International and Dan Sumner of University of California Agricultural Issues

Companion legislation in the House — “Waterways are Vital for the Economy, Energy, Efficiency, and Environment Act” (WAVE 4, H.R. 1149) – is yet to be taken up
Read more on the Delta Farm Press website: http://deltafarmpress.com/government/waterways-infrastructure-bill-passed-senate?NL=DFP-01&Issue=DFP-01_20130527_DFP-01_579&YM_RID=sgruba@asfmra.org&YM_MID=1396400&sfvc4enews=42

NRCS in Texas announces incentive payments to improve wildlife habitat
Dee Ann Littlefield, NRCS

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Salvador Salinas has announced that NRCS in Texas has $5.5 million in funding available for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on their land through the agency’s Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).

“WHIP helps Texas landowners restore and improve fish and wildlife habitats, and benefit at-risk species,” said Salinas. “This funding will give landowners across the state the opportunity to address wildlife concerns in Texas.”
Read more on the Southwest Farm Press website: http://southwestfarmpress.com/management/nrcs-texas-announces-incentive-payments-improve-wildlife-habitat?NL=SWFP-01&Issue=SWFP-01_20130603_SWFP-01_993&YM_RID=sgruba@asfmra.org&YM_MID=1397956&sfvc4enews=42

Appraisal Subcommittee Releases Revised Policy Statements
By Bill Garber

On May 28, the Appraisal Subcommittee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council announced its adoption of revised policy statements, requirements and guidance to state appraiser regulatory programs for compliance with Title XI.

The policy statements provide states with information on maintaining their appraiser regulatory programs in compliance with Title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, as amended (FIRREA Title XI).

Title XI was adopted to provide protection of federal financial and public policy interests by establishing certain requirements for appraisals performed for federally related transactions. The ASC, which was established to further these goals, sets standards and monitors requirements established by states for certification and licensing of individuals qualified to perform appraisals.

Of particular note, the policy statements pertaining to the national registry, application process, reciprocity, enforcement and interim sanctions were revised to clarify existing and new requirements resulting from the changes to FIRREA Title XI by the Dodd-Frank Act.

The ASC voted in open session at its May 21, 2013 ASC Meeting to adopt the revised policy statements, which take effect June 1, 2013.

A summary of and supplemental information on the revised policy statements are available here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-28/pdf/2013-12551.pdf

ASFMRA Joins Group Working on Measurement Standards  

For the first time, the world’s leading property organizations met to begin work on a global standard and universal method of measuring property assets. This is to help with the challenge of lower investor confidence in property and its negative impact on financial markets in some regions. As a result of the meeting a large number of global and regional organizations signed a declaration document. 
The initial focus of the International Property Measurements Standards (IPMS) coalition will be on building measurement but it is expected that at some point there will be standards set on land measurement. This could include the number of decimals in conversion from hectares to acres and many other issues around measurement. Confusion that exists today especially on building measurements, can affect property values, lead to errors in financial reporting and, consequentially, undermine market confidence and economic stability. Doug Hodge, ARA represented ASFMRA at the recent meeting at the World Bank in D.C. and will continue to meet via conference call with the large number of organizations as needed.   
Organizations involved in the IPMS are:
American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers – North America
Appraisal Foundation – North America
Appraisal Institute – North America
Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA) – Asia
Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas (ABNT) – Brazil
ASTM International – Global
Australian Property Institute – Australia
Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) – Global
China Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and Agents (CIREA) – China
CLGE – Europe
CREDI – India
Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy – Commonwealth nations
CoreNet – Global
Counsellors of Real Estate (CRE) – North America
FIABCI – Global
Global FM – Global
International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA) – Global
International Facility Managers Association (IFMA) – Global
International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) – Global
International Monetary Fund (IMF) – Global
International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC) – Global
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – Global

AVE Seeks Candidates for At Large Position

The Alliance for Valuation Education (AVE), a new non-profit organization dedicated to providing greater availability of consistent, quality valuation education and created through the collaborative effort of 13 valuation organizations, including the ASFMRA is seeking candidates to serve as an At-Large member on its governing body, the Board of Regents. The position is open to appraisers as well as non-appraisers.
The Board of Regents will be comprised of seven individuals, with six appointed by the Alliance’s Sponsors and one elected At-Large by the Board itself. Members of the Board will serve terms of 1-3 years in length and may serve additional terms. The exact length of the initial terms will be determined by the Board at its organizational meeting to be held sometime in August. Members of the Board will not be compensated for their service but may be reimbursed for reasonable official travel expenses.
“The Board of Regents, particularly during the formative period of the Alliance, will be focusing on the development and implementation of policies and procedures to chart the future course of this new organization,” stated David Layne, spokesman for the Alliance. “We are looking for candidates who have demonstrated organizational, managerial and strategic planning skills,” he added.
The Alliance will be a developer of valuation educational materials, but not a presenter of the education. In addition, the Alliance will be a wholesaler rather than a retailer and the education materials it develops will be available to all educational providers.
The initial focus of the Alliance will likely be real property continuing education, with topics possibly drawn from Valuation Advisories issued by the Appraisal Practices Board of The Appraisal Foundation. In the future, the Alliance may give consideration to developing other valuation discipline courses, including both personal property and business valuation, basic qualifying education for real property appraisers (e.g.Basic Appraisal Principles and Basic Appraisal Procedures) and remedial real property valuation education.  
An application for the At-Large Regent position can be found at https://appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com/d/s9193523b2a348599.

Applications must be received by Friday, June 21st. Applications may be submitted electronically to info@avenew.org or via USPS to the Alliance for Valuation Education, 1155 15th Street, NW, Suite 1111, Washington, DC 20005

 Back to top.