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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:

New Report Puts Spotlight on Poverty, Hunger Programs

Jan. 11, 2016

Politicians seem ready to talk about poverty in America in 2016, at least as demonstrated by a Republican presidential forum on the issue in South Carolina this month.

EPA's Search for Middle Ground on Biofuels Prompts Outcry on Renewable Fuel Standards

Dec. 7, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency tried to find the middle ground with its final multiyear mandates for commercial use of biofuels, but instead prompted an outcry from supporters and opponents of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

For EPA Fuel Standard, the Song Remains the Same

May 29, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency sought to find a middle ground on May 29 with a package of renewable fuel mandates through 2016, but the agency did little to pacify the two sides that think it is doing too little, or too much to support renewable fuels.

Senate Democrats Put Conditions on Fast-Track Vote

May 11, 2015

Senate Democrats threatened to block Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to start debate on a contentious Trade Promotion Authority bill unless the Kentucky Republican guarantees that a customs bill with currency manipulation provisions gets a vote.

Pelosi Calls Emerging Trade Deal a 'Pothole'

April 23, 2015

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed back against an emerging “fast-track” trade deal at her weekly news conference Thursday, calling the legislation a “pothole” and saying Republicans had a responsibility to work with Democrats to develop a better framework.

“[If] they have 218 Republican votes … I don’t think they’ll pay too much attention to many of our concerns. I don’t know if they have that,” Pelosi said. “If they don’t have 218 votes, we have a further opportunity to say, ‘Where are some areas that we can come together.’”

Sens. Orrin G. Hatch and Ron Wyden along with Rep. Paul D. Ryan negotiated the trade framework, which the Ways and Means Committee marked up earlier today after the Senate Finance Committee approved a similar measure 20-6 on Wednesday.

McConnell Aims to Move Trade Bill Before Memorial Day

April 23, 2015

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “hoped” to move a Trade Promotion Authority bill through the Senate ahead of the Memorial Day recess, less than 24 hours after the Senate Finance Committee approved the legislation, 20-6.

The bill would enable the president to bring a negotiated trade agreement to Congress for an up-or-down vote. Lawmakers would not be able to amend the trade pact.

Debate Over School Lunch Nutrition Standards Delays Agriculture Spending Bill

July 11, 2014

Nutrition standards for school lunches have turned into one of the most contentious issues in this year’s appropriations debate.

NFL Gives NIH $30 Million for Health Research

June 20, 2014

Supporters of the new agriculture research foundation created by this year’s farm bill often point to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health as a model.

Agriculture Research Board Faces Full Slate of Issues

June 20, 2014

Agriculture officials will soon name a board of directors for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research that Congress created in this year’s farm bill and launch a program they hope will draw more money into the kind of basic scientific study that made the United States an agriculture powerhouse.

Ducks Unlimited Says Tax Break Made Donation a Viable Financial Consideration

May 2, 2014

Ducks Unlimited, as its name suggests, is all about ducks and other waterfowl.

Landowners Want to See Expired Tax Breaks for Land Conservation Reinstated and Made Permanent

May 2, 2014

Supporters of a generous federal tax deduction for landowners who, in essence, donate property for conservation or preservation are trying to persuade Congress to make the tax break permanent. First, though, they have to get it back on the books; it expired at the end of 2013.

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.

Merchant Marine Says Food Aid Keeps Them Afloat

Feb. 28, 2014

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

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.

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.

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.

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 nation’s largest domestic food aid program.

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 growers’ cooperative to draw congressional attention to the tart fruit.

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

Sept. 25, 2013

One thing’s 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 chamber’s agriculture-only version to the Senate.

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