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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:

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.

Pork Producer Acquisition Raises Questions on Hill

July 12, 2013

Smithfield Foods is the world’s 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 nation’s 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 panel’s 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

Mississippi’s 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 senators’ 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 Department’s unfolding plan to address the sequester’s budget cuts.

Farmer's Use of Modified Seeds Reaches Supreme Court

Feb. 8, 2013

By developing and inserting a glyphosate- resistant gene into plant DNA, Monsanto Co. has created premium seeds of soybean, canola and cotton able to withstand its Roundup herbicides and similar weed killers.

Kaptur Bill Would Protect Seed Patents, Farmers

Feb. 8, 2013

An Ohio lawmaker says her legislation could provide a middle ground for companies such as Monsanto Co. that want to protect their patented seed from infringement and farmers who want to save and plant genetically engineered seed without fear of a conglomerate suing them.

Farm Bill Extension Is Added to Fiscal Agreement

Dec. 31, 2012

The package worked out between Senate leaders and the White House to avert the fiscal cliff includes provisions to extend current farm law for the rest of fiscal 2013, avoiding a scenario that could lead to a doubling of milk prices.

House Sets Up Three Options to Extend Farm Programs

Dec. 30, 2012

The Congressional Budget Office estimates it would cost $986 million to renew and extend the 2008 farm law for the rest of fiscal 2013, according to a document issued Sunday night.

Rural Co-Op Is Chance for Emerson to Solve Issues

Dec. 16, 2012

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson easily won a ninth term as a GOP member of the House last month, receiving 72 percent of the vote in her southeast Missouri district. And she’s the chairwoman of the Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee, a seat she could expect to retain in the 113th Congress.

One Cow at a Time: Fighting Drug-Resistant Pathogens

Nov. 15, 2012

Antibiotic-resistant super bacteria: It sounds like the makings of a science fiction plot. But it’s a real concern for some, and it’s the reason the livestock and drug industries are united in a fight on Capitol Hill against efforts to regulate the use of antibiotics in animal feed.

Congress' Microbiologist Refuses to Give Up Antibiotic Fight

Nov. 15, 2012

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter is not a runner, but she shares a marathoner’s philosophy when it comes to legislation: She’s in it for the long haul.

Boehner, Cantor Say House Will Address Farm Bill

Nov. 12, 2012

The unfinished farm bill is on Speaker John A. Boehner’s legislative to-do list, and by the end of the week, Republican leaders may announce how they will proceed.

Farm Bill Politics May Impede Passage of Livestock Disaster Bill

Nov. 2, 2012

As powerful as the storm called Sandy proved to be, it may not be forceful enough to push a stand-alone disaster bill for the livestock industry through Congress.

Farm Bill Chances Still Considered Slim Despite Cantor Remarks

Oct. 26, 2012

The chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee is citing comments by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as evidence of hope that Congress can produce a final farm bill in this year’s postelection session.

Education Committee Republicans Criticize New School Nutrition Standards

Oct. 19, 2012

The chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee joined GOP critics of new school meal nutrition standards that target obesity, accusing the Agriculture Department of pursuing a “one-size-fits-all policy that ties the hands of local school lunch providers.”

Farm Bill Impasse Won’t Hurt Cotton Agreement with Brazil, Official Says

Sept. 26, 2012

U.S. officials say stalled congressional action on a new farm bill should not unravel an agreement with Brazil that has kept the country from levying nearly $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs on American goods because of subsidies in the cotton program.

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