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Ellyn Ferguson


Ellyn Ferguson reports on agriculture and food issues for CQ Roll Call. For nearly 20 years she worked as a Washington-based reporter for Gannett covering the overhaul of federal welfare programs and the writing of several farm policy bills, including the 1996 overhaul. She is a member of the North American Agricultural Journalists and the National Press Club and is former president of the Regional Reporters Association. Ellyn graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville with a degree in journalism.

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Stories by Ellyn Ferguson:

Unveiling of Borlaug Statue Highlights Fight Over Biotechnology

March 24, 2014

Large-scale farming and agribusiness, derisively dubbed Big Ag by critics, look to polish their image this week with a Statuary Hall ceremony for a hero in the field and a screening of a documentary about young farmers and ranchers.

Despite Tug-of-War, USAID Gains Leeway on Food Aid

Feb. 28, 2014

The Obama administration gained some ground during this Congress in its bid to change the way the United States buys and delivers emergency food aid to hungry people around the globe.

Merchant Marine Says Food Aid Keeps Them Afloat

Feb. 28, 2014

Shipping companies and sailors united to fight the Obama administrationís proposal to nearly halve the amount the federal government spends on transporting food aid from the United States to regions in need.

Panel Puts Focus on Obesity Causes, Consequences

Jan. 3, 2014

America is a nation struggling with the issue of weight and the consequences of obesity.

Searching for Solutions to America's Weight Problem

Jan. 3, 2014

The United States recently hit the pause button on rising obesity levels among adults after nearly a generation of ever-expanding waistlines, research indicates.

Lawmakers, Advocates Raise Concerns as SNAP Benefits Shrink

Oct. 21, 2013

Millions of low-income people will see their purchasing power fall Nov. 1, regardless of the outcome of a larger fight between Democrats and Republicans over future policies and spending levels for the nationís largest domestic food aid program.

SNAP Debate Likely to Grow Contentious

Oct. 21, 2013

More than 20 percent of the population in seven states and the District of Columbia received some form of food aid in 2013 under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to a recent Department of Agriculture report.

Cranberry Growers Seek Visibility in Farm Bill, Dietary Guideline Debates

Oct. 8, 2013

Cranberry farmers turned part of Union Station into a bog Tuesday in a bid by a growersí cooperative to draw congressional attention to the tart fruit.

Shutdown or Not, Farm Bill Extension Expires on Oct. 1

Sept. 25, 2013

One thingís certain on Oct. 1: Congress will have allowed the nine-month extension of the 2008 farm bill to expire.

Clash Over Nutrition Program Expected to Focus on Who Deserves Food Aid

Sept. 16, 2013

Lawmakers can be expected to engage in a battle of images over deserving and undeserving food aid recipients when the revised nutrition title of the House farm bill comes to the floor, perhaps as soon as this week.

FDA OKs Arsenic Levels in Rice; Critics Not Convinced

Sept. 13, 2013

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration assured consumers they could continue to eat rice cakes, rice pasta, brown rice dishes and other popular products in moderation, with no immediate effects from arsenic in the grain.

Rice Grows More Important to American Diets

Sept. 13, 2013

We are what we eat, and rice increasingly is a part of the American diet. About half of the U.S. rice crop goes into foods eaten by Americans. Domestic demand for homegrown rice has steadily risen by about 1 percent each year since the 1980s.

Farm Bill Negotiations to Continue Into September As Expiration Looms

Aug. 4, 2013

Sen. Jeff Flake in a colloquy before lawmakers adjourned for their August recess helped Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow lay down her markers for shaping a final farm bill, or, failing that, another extension of the 2008 farm bill, by questioning continued payments for cotton farmers.

Stabenow Says Food Programs Will Remain in Final Farm Bill

July 15, 2013

The chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee said Monday that she is worried lawmakers could run out of time to produce a final farm bill if House leaders do not quickly send their chamberís agriculture-only version to the Senate.

Pork Producer Acquisition Raises Questions on Hill

July 12, 2013

Smithfield Foods is the worldís largest pork producer and processor, an operation that has grown and thrived over the years as the meat industry consolidated into a handful of powerful companies controlling U.S. pork, chicken and beef output.

No Easy Fix for House Leaders in the Shambles of the Farm Bill Vote

June 24, 2013

House leaders must determine how they can pick up the pieces after a bipartisan rejection of a five-year farm bill backed by Speaker John A. Boehner.

Farm Bill Fight Over SNAP Cuts Previewed in Markup

May 17, 2013

The nationís largest domestic food aid program should not be the item that sinks the House farm bill when it reaches the floor in June, Agriculture Committee leaders say.

Standards for Hens Worry Other Livestock Groups

May 3, 2013

Livestock groups, alarmed by the prospect that the Senate farm bill may include national standards for the treatment of egg-laying hens, are trying to pressure Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow to abandon the idea.

Tapping Renewable-Fuel Mandates' Brakes

May 3, 2013

A House panelís decision to look back at mandates set in the 2007 renewable-energy law could be a pivotal moment for industries hoping to slow down growth in the ethanol industry.

Inexact Projections Drive Fuel Policy

May 3, 2013

The Renewable Fuel Standard underscores the difficulties of trying to plan for the future.

Cochran Brings Southern Perspective to Senate Agriculture Committee

April 20, 2013

Mississippiís Thad Cochran, the new ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, could be the wild card among the congressional players involved in writing a farm bill that could have a chance of being signed into law this year.

Bloomberg, NRA Prepare for Senate Showdown

March 24, 2013

A gun control group backed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans a new television advertising campaign this week in a $12 million effort to sway senatorsí votes on legislation headed to the floor next month.

National School Lunch Program: A History of Bipartisanship?

March 15, 2013

The National School Lunch Program was created in 1946 when leaders, alarmed by the poor health and malnutrition of World War II conscripts, thought a feeding program seemed a good way to raise healthier Americans and to provide another market for farmers for surplus commodity crops and foods.

Senators Seek Flexible Fix to School Lunch Law

March 15, 2013

Senators pursuing a legislative fix to a new school meal nutrition standard say they are not out to undermine efforts to combat child obesity but that they do believe the Agriculture Department erred in setting limits on the amount of grains and proteins cafeterias could serve students.

Meat Inspector Furloughs Would Be One Day a Week, USDA Official Says

March 13, 2013

Meat packers could be forced to close one day a week under the Agriculture Departmentís unfolding plan to address the sequesterís budget cuts.

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