Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

California could soon be the example to follow when it comes to farm safety standards.

The USDA has formally proposed a Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement that would essentially extend California's Leafy Greens Regulatory System nationwide.

The state's ag leaders haven't decided whether they will continue with the program or combine it into the new national program.

California's plan started after three people died and hundreds more became sick after eating spinach tainted with E. coli five years ago.

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Congressman Jim Costa of Fresno has joined Senator Dianne Feinstein in calling for an end to the $6 billion a year federal subsidy.

Ethanol is made from corn and added to gasoline.

But demand for ethanol has pushed up corn prices, raising the cost of food, for people and livestock.

Ethanol producers are fighting to keep the subsidy saying it's a needed product.

"But clearly the subsidies that have been built in to use corn as a source of fuel are not only costing american taxpayer dollars today but they are also having a dramatic impact on our other agricultural industries," Rep. Jim Costa said.

"But I do believe it's important to have an alternative fuel and the only fuel that's replaced ten per cent of all the gas and can be refined at a lower cost is ethanol," Bill Jones said.

The current government subsidy amounts to 45 cents a gallon for ethanol.

Costa and Feinstein have been joined by some republican leaders, and members of the Tea Party in calling for an end to government subsidies for ethanol and petroleum.

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