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Agriculture briefs

California can keep its rules for out-of-state egg producers after an Iowa congressman failed to obtain a ban on such regulations.

The House of Representatives last week passed the Farm Bill without an amendment by Republican Rep. Steve King. His proposal would have banned states from imposing conditions on the sale of agricultural products that come from other states.

King opposed a California law that set the same rules on out-of-state egg producers as will be required by state farmers under Proposition 2, an initiative approved by voters in 2008. As such, starting in 2015, all farms that sell eggs here must provide more cage space for laying hens.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, who as a state assemblyman wrote the state rules, applauded the defeat of the King amendment. He said it would have “put our state's egg industry out of business.”

Farm bill's conservation measures

The Farm Bill includes legislation from Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, that would require farmers who seek subsidies on crop insurance to meet conservation requirements on wetlands and highly erodible lands.

The legislation, co-authored by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Nebraska, “will allow American farmers to continue having a strong and reliable crop insurance safety net, and it will help protect and conserve our most sensitive lands,” said Thompson.

To receive the insurance subsidy, farmers would be required to file a conservation plan for annually-tilled crops grown on highly erodible lands or for any crops in wetlands.

The federal government currently subsidizes crop insurance for farmers by an average of 62 percent, Thompson's office reported. Under the proposal, those farmers who don't meet the conservation requirements could still purchase crop insurance but without a subsidy.

The Farm Bill now goes to the Senate for action.

Dairy princesses sought for 6 counties

The local dairy industry is seeking young women who wish to serve as dairy princess for Sonoma and five nearby counties.

The District 3 Dairy Princess Committee and the California Milk Advisory Board are accepting applications for a dairy princess to represent Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, Lake, Napa and Solano counties.

The contest is open to unmarried women with a dairy-related background. They must be at least a senior in high school and between 17 and 21 years of age.

The application deadline is Feb. 18. Applications can be obtained from Judy Buttke, 795-3878, dist3dairyprincess@yahoo.com, or online at www.RealCaliforniaMilk.com/about/dairy-princesses.

— Compiled by Robert Digitale. Submit items to robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com

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