A group of bipartisan lawmakers on Monday agreed to a deal on a farm bill that would end direct subsidies to farms in favor of crop insurance.
The deal could trim as much as $90 a month from food stamps for 850,000 recipients.
The farm bill would last five years and needs to pass both chambers and then be signed by the president.
The bill could be passed before the spring planting season. That's significant because farmers need to know early how it might affect prices and what to expect for their corn, wheat or tobacco yields.
The bill changes the current agricultural subsidy system. It ends direct payments to farmers for planting crops and replaces it with a revamped, beefed-up crop insurance program.
The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked - even overwhelmed.
He summed up their reaction to the South Korean snack in one word: "Ecstasy."
Much like what Twinkies are to Americans, South Korea's Choco Pies - two disc-shaped, chocolate-covered cakes, sandwiching a rubbery layer of marshmallow cream - are ubiquitous, cost less than 50 cents and are full of empty calories.
But on the other side of the Korean border, the snacks are viewed as exotic, highly prized treats, selling on North Korea's black markets for as much as $10, according to analysts. Their rising popularity in the north reveals an unexpected common ground between the two Koreas, despite their fractious relationship - a shared sweet tooth.
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Last week the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission announced that it wants every single vineyard and winery under its purview to be certified sustainable within the next five years. There’s some question what the method of enforcement will be—since the program is voluntary, running over refusenik farmers with tractors or bunging them into big tanks of bad juice and laughing at them as they splash around helplessly is probably right out. But the whole plan’s a noble goal, and would make Sonoma the first wine region in the country to hit that target.
What sustainable means is another question. Essentially, it’s an approach to farming (and winemaking) that uses economically feasible, environmentally sound and socially equitable methods. That, obviously, covers a lot of ground—but generally speaking what the goal includes is reducing water and energy use, minimizing pesticide use, recycling natural resources, maintaining wildlife habitats, providing employee education and other strategies.
Given there are over 1,800 vineyards in Sonoma County, some 1,500 individual growers and/or owners and more than 59,000 acres of vineyard land in the county—according to the estimable Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers—it’s an ambitious project. But it’s also an impressive one. And until every last renegade vine is on board, here’s a quartet of sustainably produced Sonoma wines to tide you over.
Pssst! Got a sec to chat?
We are utterly thrilled when readers want to hang out and talk – whether it's amongst themselves or in response to pieces we've posted. We want Eatocracy to be a cozy, spirited online home for those who find their way here.
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.
Join 8,165 other followers