Philadelphia’s public education nightmare

first_imgPhiladelphia students walked out of classrooms in May 2013 to protest the proposed elimination of all extracurricular programs in the city’s public schools. Thousands of students from 27 high schools and middle schools took to the streets, chanting, “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts” and “No education, no life.”WW photo: Joseph PietteAll five unelected members of the School Reform Commission voted to cancel the School District of Philadelphia’s contract with the more than 15,000 teachers, nurses, librarians, counselors and other members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. This Oct. 6 vote was a sneak attack at a virtually unannounced meeting.The SRC’s immediate pretext was to save approximately 1.4 percent of the budget by forcing teachers to pay for their own health care. This effectively cut district teacher pay by $43.8 million. The PFT contract’s cancellation, however, was about more than saving pennies on the dollar. It also furthered corporate “education reform,” including busting unions, limiting democracy and privatizing public education.Racism, austerity and no democracyThe PFT’s contract expired last summer. Because the SRC’s starting offer cut teacher pay 15 percent and trampled workers’ rights, 21 months of negotiation went nowhere. Following already heavy cutbacks that included 5,000 district staff layoffs, closed 23 schools in 2013 and ended seniority rules for hiring and firing, one might expect drastic actions by PFT’s teachers.But Pennsylvania law makes the PFT the only union without the legal protection to strike. In 2000, after the district’s attempt to privatize the entire district and the PFT voted to strike, the legislature passed this anti-union law. This same law also created the five-person unelected SRC. The law has been untested since it was passed in 2001, so how officials will enforce it to stop a strike remains unclear.Now the SRC oversees all 300 public schools in Philadelphia. Eighty-six of these are charter schools, operated by private management groups that notably lack public accountability even though charters get much more per-pupil funding than traditional public schools.Some 85 percent of all students in Philadelphia’s school district are people of color, and 87 percent are classified “economically disadvantaged.” Denying Philadelphia communities any control over their school district thus amounts to a racist attack on poor people’s democratic rights. This is just like in Detroit, where the 80-percent African-American city suffered severe budget cuts under emergency manager Kevyn Orr.In Philadelphia, the SRC has been working methodically to destroy public education. The Boston Consulting Group, formerly led by Mitt Romney, designed the SRC plan. This plan originally called for closing over 64 public schools, laying off thousands of teachers and other support staff, and outsourcing over 4,000 unionized jobs.The BCG, a notorious outsourcing firm worth billions, was earlier brought in to bust unions at Chrysler, General Motors and school districts such as New Orleans, which now has no traditional public schools.The SRC has strong connections to the Philadelphia School Partnership, a strong pro-privatization group whose board of directors includes corporate executives from Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and connections with other banks.In 2012, the SRC lobbied to have the unilateral right to impose any contract terms on the teachers and support staff of the schools. This effort failed.Earlier in 2014, over 40,000 people in Philadelphia signed a petition for a referendum on whether to abolish the SRC. Should this referendum pass, however, it will not be legally binding.Wall Street banks robbed Philly schoolsIn 2003, Wall Street banks lobbied for Pennsylvania and other governments to allow municipalities and school districts to agree to “debt swap” agreements. Since the Federal Reserve began lowering interest rates in 2003, these agreements kept school districts and local governments locked into fixed interest rates much higher than current market rates.In 2002, investigative reporters discovered that this was part of a series of scams big banks have carried out since 1991. This one became known as the LIBOR scandal. It transferred billions of dollars from public treasuries to the coffers of Wall Street bankers.As a result, the Philadelphia School District paid $276.4 million in 2014-2015 or 9 percent of its yearly budget just to pay interest to these same banks that had received trillion-dollar bailouts from taxpayer money earlier.The city of Philadelphia has already attempted to sue to get back some of this money stolen from students and teachers. The SRC could do this too or just stop paying the banks, leaving enough money to avoid all budget cuts. But the pro-big-business SRC members have ignored these possibilities for months now.The way forward: united struggleWith no pay raises for two years, which is an effective pay cut of $2,862 the first year and $5,725 for the second year (Working Educators blog), each teacher has lost $8,587. For the over 13,000 teachers that’s an estimated total pay cut of $110 million. Meanwhile, fewer teachers and support staff mean bigger classes and more work. In some schools only teachers are available to clean bathrooms.So how could the PFT stop this? Like other public sector unions, the PFT needs community support. The PFT’s Caucus of Working Educators (WE) aims to connect rank-and-file unionists with parents and the community. Inspired by the 2012 Chicago public schools strike, WE is looking for ways to galvanize public support for public education and connect the struggle of students, teachers and support staff to the broader challenges facing the working class in a period of austerity.Students have been a strong pillar of support for teachers. Two days after the district cancelled the contract, students at three high schools walked out. In the past three years, major walkouts have brought out thousands of students to fight for a quality public education.No politician can guarantee the future of public education. Only students, teachers, parents and the community united in a struggle against the SRC, the corporate reformers and the banks will guarantee the human right to education for all students in Philadelphia.Matty Starrdust contributed to this article.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Burkina Faso courts to allow exhumation of Thomas Sankara remains

first_imgThomas Sankara, president of Burkina Faso, 1984-1987.Captain Thomas Sankara, martyred Burkinabe revolutionary Pan-Africanist and Marxist leader, was assassinated in a coup on Oct. 15, 1987. Sankara, president of  Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987, was only 37 years old.Elections will be held later this year in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country of 17 million people in West Africa. It remains to be seen how well the parties committed to Sankara’s ideals fare in the process. Sankara’s views on self-reliance and anti-imperialism are essential during this period of escalating French and U.S. military intervention in Africa.Sankara came to power during a critical period in the transition to a new phase of imperialist exploitation and oppression of emerging African states. The role of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other global financial institutions was generating tremendous social restructuring and consequent political debate and struggle.Born in 1949, Sankara grew up during the turbulent 1950s and 1960s when independence struggles swept many African states. He joined the Upper Volta military at a young age and was stationed in Madagascar where he witnessed a popular left-leaning uprising that toppled a neocolonialist regime in 1970.During the 1970s, Sankara rose through the military ranks and was made an administrator of a training program for soldiers in the city of Po. In 1972, he went to France for further military training, and while there, he was exposed to Marxist ideas advocated by active leftist organizations.By the 1980s, unrest had reached a boiling point in Upper Volta when trade unions and students engaged in strikes and mass rebellions. Several military coups took place, and Sankara’s uncompromising positions landed him in prison twice.1983 uprising put Sankara in powerLeft-wing elements in the military, backed by the popular will of the masses, liberated Sankara and made him leader of the National Council of the Revolution on Aug. 4, 1983. Although initiated by junior army officers, the change of power drew broad support from among the working class, youth and peasantry.After coming to power, Sankara led a movement to rename the former French colony labelled Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, “land of the upright people.” The government’s program called for creation of import-substitution industries to curtail reliance on essential and luxury goods from capitalist countries; mobilization of youth and women to fight neocolonialism; and cancellation of the debt owed to Western imperialist financial institutions.A March 5 Guardian article said that Sankara’s government “launched nationalization, land redistribution and grand social programs in one of the world’s poorest countries. During his four-year rule, school attendance leaped from 6 percent to 22 percent, some 2.5 million children were vaccinated and thousands of health centers opened. Housing, road and railway building projects got under way and 10 million trees were planted.”The article continues, “Sankara declared war on corruption and embraced personal austerity, paying himself a salary of $450 a month, slashing the wages of his top officials and forbidding the use of chauffeur-driven Mercedes and first class airline tickets by his ministers and senior civil servants. He refused to have his picture displayed in public buildings, still a rare thing in the Africa of 2015, and was staunchly opposed to foreign aid, declaring: ‘He who feeds you, controls you.’”Sankara’s government prioritized gender equality, working to end female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy. His influence extended far beyond Burkina Faso, and he had close relations with Libya under Col. Moammar Gadhafi and Cuba during President Fidel Castro’s leadership.After a four-year experiment in social revolution, Sankara was overthrown in a military coup led by Blaise Compaoré, his government’s deputy. After Compaoré seized power, the government moved rapidly toward the West, honoring international debts and abolishing Sankara’s anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanist foreign policy.Compaoré emerged as the head of state from a meeting where Sankara was assassinated on Oct. 15, 1987. He remained in power until a mass uprising in October 2014 toppled his pro-Paris and Washington-allied regime. Compaoré fled to neighboring Ivory Coast.Investigate assassination and coup!Burkina Faso’s courts have recently paved the way for the proper identification of Sankara’s remains. Mariam Sankara, the martyred leader’s widow, is demanding a broader inquiry into his assassination. An inquiry would have to examine the roles of French imperialism and the Ivory Coast’s neocolonial regime in the assassination and coup.Sankara was buried without an official ceremony or an explanation of the circumstances surrounding his death. However, Compaoré has stated that he had no information on what happened to Sankara. However, he was in the meeting where the struggle erupted over the government’s future. Moreover, it was Compaoré who emerged as president after Sankara’s murder.Sankara’s policies radically countered the French neocolonial system so prevalent then and now in West Africa. During the 1980s, Ivory Coast was led by President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, a proponent of the postcolonial system of economic and political integration with Paris. Tensions between Abidjan and Ouagadougou were then at an all-time high.A promotional article for the documentary film entitled “Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man” says by 1987, “Clandestinely, elements in the Burkinabe leadership forged relationships with Côte d’Ivoire president Félix Houphouet-Boigny, France’s staunchest ally and an outspoken opponent of Sankara’s increasingly influential attacks on neo-colonialism.”It continues, “On Oct. 15, during a staff meeting, a gang of armed soldiers, either led or ordered by Blaise Compaoré, Sankara’s closest friend and most trusted comrade throughout the revolution, assassinated him. His body was dismembered, buried in a makeshift grave and any mention of him was erased from public view.” (Facebook, Oct. 31, 2014)During the uprising that toppled Compaoré last October, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets, demanding Compaoré’s ouster.  Many demonstrators were youth and workers who wore T-shirts and held banners displaying Sankara’s image. He is not forgotten.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

30th commemoration of MOVE bombing unites anti-police brutality forces

first_imgWW photo: Joseph PietteRight near the site where, about 30 years earlier, Philadelphia authorities had authorized the dropping of a bomb from a State Police helicopter on the MOVE compound, around 1,000 people rallied this May 13.The bomb contained military grade C-4. The resulting fire destroyed 62 homes in the Black working-class neighborhood near 63rd Street and Osage Avenue, killing 11 men, women and children in the MOVE organization.Before the fire ignited, over 500 police had fired more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition at the MOVE home in a racist onslaught against this Black urban community. This blatant act of police brutality, fully supported by public officials and white-washed by the MOVE Commission, set back the fight against police terror in Philadelphia for decades.In the 1970s, following state prosecution of the Black Panther Party, the MOVE organization had become the dominant anti-police brutality group in this historically Black city. Nine MOVE members were sentenced to 30 years in prison after a months-long standoff against a police assault on their Powelton Village compound ended in 1978 when a police officer was killed — most likely by “friendly fire.”Former BPP member and prominent journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal covered this conflict, frequently coming into open conflict with then-Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo. Activists like Abu-Jamal who spoke out against police corruption and violence ended up targeted as well. In 1982 Abu-Jamal was framed for murder by police and court officials and sentenced to death row.Solidarity with Baltimore youth rebellionFor Philadelphia the movement against police brutality has come full circle. The 30th anniversary observation of the 1985 MOVE bombing was markedly different from earlier events. It united an historic struggle against police brutality led by MOVE with the emerging and youthful Black Lives Matter movement.Participants included three generations of MOVE members marching side by side with anti-police brutality activists from Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, Boston and North Carolina. Many carried banners naming victims of police brutality, including Freddie Grey, Rekia Boyd, Brandon-Tate Brown, Frank McQueen, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, as well as the MOVE 9.Speakers at the rally expressed solidarity with the rebellion of Black youth in Baltimore in the wake of the murder of Grey, who died April 19 after his spinal cord was severed by police. At a rally outside a police station, a solidarity message was delivered to demonstrators in Madison, who were marching there to protest the May 12 decision not to file charges against police officers who murdered Tony Robinson on March 6.Participants also included low-wage workers fighting for $15 and a union, members of the Philadelphia Student Union fighting against school closing and education cuts, and Osage Avenue neighbors engaged in a 30-year struggle to save their community.After the rally, a spirited march wound through West Philadelphia, stopping for a speak-out at a police precinct. Some ran the 3-mile route, others rode bicycles or walked.The bicyclists and runners acted like Paul Revere, telling people that a march was coming. A caravan of cars bearing the names of the MOVE adults and children murdered by the state on May 13, 1985, followed the marchers.Students at a middle school and two high schools, as well as people on porches or standing outside stores in commercial districts, cheered as the march passed. Some joined in.Indoor event draws 1,700A late-afternoon indoor rally at the First District Plaza on Market Street drew over 1,700 people; extra chairs had to be added. Photos of the 11 who died were arrayed on stage next to the message, “Never let it happen again.”Messages of solidarity were delivered by video conference from Angela Davis, Alice Walker and Minister Louis Farrakhan.  Imprisoned MOVE 9 member Janine Africa called in, and a radio interview was aired from Mumia Abu-Jamal, currently hospitalized. Several speakers addressed the state’s latest attempt to murder Abu-Jamal through medical mistreatment and demanded his release from prison.Rally speakers included Pam Africa, Cornel West, Michael Coard, Gloria Rubac, Amina Baraka, Suzanne Ross, Johanna Fernandez and Ramona Africa, the lone survivor of the bombing. Rebel Diaz, Chuck D, Impact Theater and the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble provided entertainment.Sharif El-Mekki, principal of Mastery Charter School, brought students and staff to the program, noting, “We must teach the younger generation. We should never forget what happened.” Two long-time Osage Avenue residents, Connie Renfrow and Gerald Renfrow, voiced concern over attempts to gentrify their neighborhood and push people out of their homes.Several speakers urged continuing the struggle to free all political prisoners, including Abu-Jamal and the remaining members of the MOVE 9, who still languish in Pennsylvania prisons, unable to gain parole. Two of the MOVE 9, Merle Africa and Phil Africa, have died under mysterious circumstances while incarcerated.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

La lucha de clases y la crisis climática

first_imgLos hechos son irrefutables. Selvas tropicales ardiendo, glaciares derritiéndose. Las inundaciones de “una vez en cien años” están ocurriendo con una regularidad aterradora.Nadie puede discutir seriamente contra el pronóstico de la catástrofe climática.La conversación que importa ahora es: quién es responsable y quién puede solucionarlo. El clima es uno de los temas apremiantes sobre el que todos los líderes sindicales debieron hablar el pasado Día del Trabajo.La crisis climática es en todos los sentidos, un tema de la clase trabajadora. Los patrones climáticos salvajes y los desastres antinaturales resultantes dejan su marca más fuerte en los trabajadores, los pobres y las comunidades de color. Solo los ricos tienen los medios para escapar de las consecuencias.Los trabajadores jóvenes tienen mucho que enfrentar: trabajos sin salida, deudas estudiantiles impagables, abuso policial, de todo, ellos están lidiando con eso.Pero una de las preocupaciones más graves de los jóvenes es la crisis climática y lo que presagia para su propia existencia, y la de todos los seres en la Tierra. se lee en los carteles de protesta, “No hay planeta B”. Esta tierra es el único cuerpo celeste de soporte vital que tenemos.Es la clase capitalista la que calcula el beneficio económico a corto plazo sin tener en cuenta la enorme huella de carbono que están dejando sus acciones pro ganancias.Los barones del carbón y el petróleo quieren vender los productos no renovables que queman carbón que extraen del suelo. Las compañías automotrices quieren hacer vehículos que obtengan las mayores ganancias, no aquellos con las emisiones de carbono más bajas. Los contratistas militares se alinean para subir al tren de mermelada monetaria del mayor contaminador del mundo: el Pentágono.¿Y qué hay de las empresas de servicios públicos? First Energy presionó a la legislatura del estado de Ohio hace solo dos meses por un proyecto de ley que rescató las plantas de energía nuclear y de carbón (incluida la suya), al tiempo que eliminó los incentivos para las fuentes de energía renovables como la energía solar y eólica. First Energy es un importante donante de campaña para los legisladores que aprobaron el proyecto de ley 6 de la Cámara.Todo esto apunta a lo que los marxistas llaman antagonismos de clase irreconciliables. En “Anti-Duhring”, Friedrich Engels se refirió al “antagonismo, agudizándose día a día, entre capitalistas, disminuyendo constantemente en número pero constantemente enriqueciéndose, y trabajadores asalariados sin propiedades, cuyo número aumenta constantemente y cuyas condiciones, tomadas como en su conjunto, se están deteriorando constantemente”.La crisis climática ha exacerbado esta contradicción hacia escenarios peligrosos y previamente inimaginables.Sería ingenuo pensar que podemos detener el cambio climático apelando a la motivación de ganancias. Los capitalistas causaron el calentamiento global y difícilmente se puede confiar en que lo revierta, incluso si uno argumenta que un ambiente limpio es bueno para los negocios.La clase trabajadora, por otro lado, tiene el poder de proteger la vida en el planeta. Es el trabajo el que produce todo. ¡Nada se mueve sin nosotros!Activistas ambientales, en su mayoría jóvenes, han pedido “huelgas climáticas” a fines de septiembre. Las huelgas de estudiantes pueden ser mucho más extendidas que las huelgas de trabajadores esta vez. Pero la huelga es mejor conocida como el arma del trabajo, ejercida en el punto de producción para forzar el cambio.Las huelgas han ganado salarios más altos, pensiones, reconocimiento sindical y similares. Pero también hay huelgas políticas, como el Primero de Mayo de 2006, que forzaron la derrota de un proyecto de ley antiinmigrante en el Congreso.Necesitamos mantener viva la táctica de la huelga climática más allá de la huelga climática global del 20 al 27 de septiembre, no solo en las escuelas, sino también en el trabajo y en los sindicatos. Y la necesidad de luchar contra el racismo ambiental debe ser parte de la discusión.La crisis climática ha hecho que estas palabras de Engels sean más ciertas que nunca: “Las colosales fuerzas productivas creadas dentro del modo de producción capitalista, que este último ya no puede dominar, sólo esperan ser tomadas por una sociedad organizada para el trabajo cooperativo, sobre una base planificada, para garantizar a todos los miembros de la sociedad los medios de existencia y el libre desarrollo de sus capacidades, en una medida cada vez mayor”. (Anti-Duhring)Los trabajadores tienen el mundo para ganar.last_img read more

WWP forum on ‘What Road to Socialism?’

first_imgThe New York branch of Workers World Party held a public and livestream forum Nov. 23 on “What Road to Socialism?”  The speakers included Makasi Motema, an organizer with the People’s Power Assemblies/NYC, who spoke on connecting the struggle against racism worldwide and breaking down imperialism’s lies; Larry Holmes, First Secretary of WWP,  on uncovering the nuances in the turn in consciousness we are witnessing today toward socialism and struggle, the role of revolutionaries and a revolutionary party; Scott Williams, a Philadelphia WWP organizer, who spoke on the upsurge in interest in socialism among youth and the need for revolutionary strategy in the coming period; and Taryn Fivek, who gave a report back from the anti-imperialist gathering in Cuba against neoliberalism and for socialist democracy. Fivek also noted the differences between bourgeois and working-class democracy.From left to right: Larry Holmes, Makasi Motema, Stephanie Tromblay (who chaired the forum), Scott Williams and Taryn Fivek. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

New Purdue Extension Director Excited to Return to Indiana

first_img Homecoming for new Extension DirectorJason Henderson has been appointed associate dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture and director of Purdue Extension by Dean Jay Akridge. Henderson begins May 28th and says it’s like a homecoming given his Master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue.He is currently a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City leading their agricultural and rural outreach and research programs. He tells HAT becoming director of extension should be a natural transition.“At the bank I was responsible for their version of extension programming in their district and so I’ve engaged a lot with various groups ranging from farmers to Fortune 500 company CEO’s and executives. So that ability at the Federal Reserve to reach out to the community, reach out to business and community leaders to collect information on the economy I think has trained me well and given me a unique perspective on extension in a different type of organization.”Henderson adds the Purdue opportunity is a chance to be part of an extension service with a solid foundation.“From the specialists to the educators out in the county it’s just one of those premiere spots and I’m just honored and thrilled to be leading us. I’m going to take some time, learn about what Purdue does very well and think about what are some of the opportunities to take extension beyond its heritage of ag and rural roots. How can we reach into urban communities but also build on the excellence that Purdue has in cooperative extension and how can we be even greater in the future?”Henderson replaces Chuck Hibberd, now the dean of Extension at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since his departure the interim director has been Jim Mintert.Akridge said he won solid support during the interview process from the search committee and Extension specialists and educators.Purdue is hosting a workshop Wednesday at the Beck Ag Center entitled Financial Health of Farming and Land Values and the keynote speaker happens to be Henderson. He’ll explore agriculture’s current prosperity and whether it can be maintained. Can it?“Yes I think you’ll  hear in the near term that agriculture profitability is expected to remain strong in 2013, but I think we’re on the verge of a transition period.”Hear more in the full HAT interview:Intro to Jason Henderson(above photo courtesy USDAgov photostream)Purdue Release:Jason Henderson, a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City vice president who leads the Bank’s agricultural and rural outreach and research programs, has been appointed associate dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture and director of Purdue Extension.Henderson, who earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue and served on the College of Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council, will begin his new role at his alma mater May 28. He replaces Chuck Hibberd, who became dean of Extension at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in October.The appointment was announced Tuesday (March 27) by Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture.“Purdue has one of the strongest Extension programs in the country, and we were looking for a leader who could build on our momentum and strong state support,” Akridge said. “We found that person in Jason Henderson. He has been instrumental in shaping the outreach programs of the Omaha Branch of the Federal Reserve, he is one of the country’s leading voices on agricultural and rural community issues, and he generated widespread support not only from our search committee but also from our Extension specialists and educators during the interview process.”Henderson, who joined the Bank in 2001, has been Omaha Branch executive of the Federal Reserve of Kansas City since 2006 and vice president of the Kansas City Fed since 2007.Henderson is responsible for outreach programs in the state of Nebraska for the Kansas City Fed. In this role, he engages a broad group of stakeholders who include business leaders, elected officials and agricultural and youth audiences.He also leads efforts of the Kansas City Fed and the Federal Reserve System to track economic conditions of agricultural and rural economies, including the quarterly publication of the 10th District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions and the Federal Reserve System’s Agricultural Finance Databook. He also manages the Main Street Economist, a bi-monthly publication covering economic issues affecting rural areas.Henderson serves as regional research coordinator at the Kansas City Fed, with research interests focused on agricultural and rural development. He is a nationally recognized expert on rural economy issues and speaks more than 60 times per year on the topic.Henderson, who was raised on a family farm in northeast Iowa, said Purdue Extension is uniquely positioned to develop skills in community leaders and provide the technical knowledge and insights they need to build a vibrant agricultural sector and healthy rural and urban communities.“Growing up on a dairy farm during the 1980s, I learned that healthy rural communities are those that provide economic opportunities both at the farm gate and on Main Street,” he said.  “I am passionate about building healthy, vibrant agricultural and rural communities and using the resources of Extension to expand our impact in urban areas.“Purdue has an exceptional team of on-campus specialists and county educators, and I am very excited about working with this group to make an even bigger difference for the people of Indiana.”Henderson previously held the positions of economist and senior economist at the Fed of Kansas City for five years. He also served as a research associate and assistant economist for two years.Henderson obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from Central College in Pella, Iowa in 1994. He received his master’s degree in 1996 and doctorate in 2001 from Purdue.Source: Purdue Ag Communications SHARE By Andy Eubank – Mar 26, 2013 Facebook Twitter Previous articleMarket Silliness Expected After USDA ReportNext articleSeed Consultants 3/27/2013 Market Closing Comment with Gary Wilhelmi Andy Eubank Facebook Twitter SHARE Home News Feed New Purdue Extension Director Excited to Return to Indiana New Purdue Extension Director Excited to Return to Indianalast_img read more

Livestock Groups Condem Center for a Livable Future Report

first_imgYou can access that report online at animalagalliance dot org ( The National Pork Producers Council says a report issued Tuesday ignores the progress America’s farmers and ranchers have made in producing safe, affordable food while improving animal well-being, protecting the environment and using animal health products responsibly. The Center for a Livable Future – the institution that initiated Meatless Mondays and is part of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health – has released an update of a 2008 report from the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production that was highly critical of modern animal agriculture. At that time – the work of the Pew Commission was directed by the Center. The Commission called for phasing out certain production practices, banning certain animal antibiotics and placing new restrictions on the use of manure. By Gary Truitt – Oct 22, 2013 Previous articleUSDA to Make CRP, DCP and ACRE PaymentsNext articleUS East Coast ethanol stocks continue decline to lowest recorded level Gary Truitt Facebook Twitter This updated report claims the animal agriculture industry has made the problems worse over the past five years in addressing the commission’s concerns. NPPC President Randy Spronk says the charges against animal agriculture made in the report bear little resemblance to the truth. He says the report is wrong in every aspect and ignores the extensive steps animal agriculture has taken over the last decade or more to address various industry challenges. The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report Monday that belies the CLF report. SHARE Facebook Twitter SHARE Home Indiana Agriculture News Livestock Groups Condem Center for a Livable Future Report Livestock Groups Condem Center for a Livable Future Reportlast_img read more

Growth Energy Announces Support for FFA during Annual Convention

first_img Growth Energy Announces Support for FFA during Annual Convention At this week’s FFA convention in Louisville, Kentucky, FFA and Growth Energy announced a multi-year sponsorship supporting FFA and agricultural education as a special project of the FFA Foundation. Through the sponsorship, workshops will start immediately at this year national FFA convention. The workshops, titled “Ethanol – Past, Present, Future,” will provide an overview of the changing landscape in the ethanol industry and provide resources for teachers and students to take back to their classrooms after the event. President of the National FFA Foundation, Molly Ball, said “we are excited to announce this new partnership and look forward to having Growth Energy host workshops this week to immediately engage with FFA members and agriculture educators.”In addition to the workshops, funding from Growth Energy will help support TeachAg and Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education. Also included in the gift is support for the national organization’s online personalized career exploration and development resources called “My Journey.” Support for Washington Leadership Conference, an annual event focused on developing students’ leadership skills and service to others, is also included in the sponsorship.Source: NAFB News Service SHARE By Andy Eubank – Oct 28, 2014 Home Energy Growth Energy Announces Support for FFA during Annual Convention Previous articleVote Now for the Next Faces of Farming and RanchingNext articleIs It time to Sell Soybeans? Andy Eubank Facebook Twitter Facebook Twitter SHARElast_img read more

Three Indiana Farm Leaders Elected to National Positions

first_img Facebook Twitter Don VukwicjIndiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock has been re-elected to the board of directors of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The election was held during AFBF’s 96th annual meeting, held Jan. 13 in San Diego, California. Villwock represents the Midwest Region on the board, which helps guide the nation’s largest farm organization.  “I am honored to be re-elected to the AFBF board and to represent Indiana farmers at the national level,” said Villwock, who farms near Edwardsport with his wife, Joyce.Isabella ChismIsabella Chism, INFB’s second vice president, was elected to her first term as vice chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee. The committee works to highlight the important role of women in agriculture by engaging and encouraging Farm Bureau involvement from all women involved in agriculture. Isabella and her husband, Kent, farm near Kokomo with two of their grown children.Deb Walsh, who represents District 1 on INFB’s Women’s Leadership Committee, was elected to the AFB committee as a representative of the Midwest Region. Deb and her husband, Jim, farm near Rochester. The year-round Our Food Link program is one avenue of outreach the AFB Women will be focusing on this year. Another is the Women in Ag Survey (, which remains open for submissions until Feb. 20 and will help Farm Bureau gauge the needs and aspirations of women in agriculture. Three Indiana Farm Leaders Elected to National Positions SHARE SHARE By Gary Truitt – Jan 14, 2015 Facebook Twitter Home Indiana Agriculture News Three Indiana Farm Leaders Elected to National Positions Previous articleClosing CommentsNext articleOil Price Fall May be Ending Soon Gary Truittlast_img read more

USDA Opens Enrollment Period for ARC and PLC Safety-Net Programs

first_img U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that eligible producers may now formally enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2014 and 2015. The enrollment period begins June 17, 2015, and will end Sept. 30, 2015.“The extensive outreach campaign conducted by USDA since the 2014 Farm Bill was enacted, along with extending deadlines, is central to achieving an expected high level of participation,” said Vilsack. “We worked with universities to simplify these complex programs by providing online tools so producers could explore how program election options would affect their operation in different market conditions; these tools were presented to almost 3,000 organizations across the country. The Farm Service Agency also sent more than 5 million educational notices to producers nationwide and participated in over 4,880 educational events with more than 447,000 attendees. I am proud of the many committed USDA employees who worked hard over the last several months to provide producers support to help them make these important decisions.”The new programs, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, trigger financial protections for agricultural producers when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices or revenues. More than 1.76 million farmers have elected ARC or PLC. Previously, 1.7 million producers had enrolled to receive direct payments (the program replaced with ARC and PLC by the 2014 Farm Bill). This means more farms have elected ARC or PLC than previously enrolled under previously administered programs.Nationwide, 96 percent of soybean farms, 91 percent of corn farms, and 66 percent of wheat farms elected ARC. 99 percent of long grain rice farms, 99 percent of peanut farms, and 94 percent of medium grain rice farms elected PLC.  For data about other crops and state-by-state program election results go to commodities under ARC and PLC include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit USDA Home Indiana Agriculture News USDA Opens Enrollment Period for ARC and PLC Safety-Net Programs Previous articleClosing CommentsNext articleFDA Says Trans-Fats are not Safe Andy Eubank USDA Opens Enrollment Period for ARC and PLC Safety-Net Programs SHARE Facebook Twitter SHARE By Andy Eubank – Jun 17, 2015 Facebook Twitterlast_img read more