Skip to content Skip to navigation

AgClips

Subscribe   Subscribe to AgClips to keep up on the latest ag and rural news.

Recent AgClips

U.S. House OKs farm bill with major food stamps changes

Reuters | Posted on June 21, 2018 in Federal News

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a massive Republican farm bill with changes to the government food stamps program that make it unlikely to become law in this form. The Senate is considering its own farm bill with no major changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) used by more than 40 million Americans, or about 12 percent of the total U.S.

Trump to propose government reorganization, targeting safety net programs

The New York Times | Posted on June 21, 2018 in Federal News

President Trump plans to propose a reorganization of the federal government as early as Thursday that includes a possible merger of the Education and Labor Departments, coupled with a reshuffling of other domestic agencies to make them easier to cut or revamp, according to administration officials briefed on the proposal. Mr. Trump and his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, the architect of the plan, have sought to redefine as welfare subsistence benefit programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and housing aid.

Double whammy: U.S. pork, fruit producers brace for second wave of Chinese tariffs

 | Posted on June 21, 2018 in Agriculture, Federal News

U.S. producers of pork, already saddled with duties enacted in an earlier round of the escalating trade dispute with China, are bracing for further pain after Beijing hit the products with additional tariffs due to come into effect next month.  China implemented a 25 percent duty on most U.S. pork items on April 2, and a 15 percent tariff on a range of fruits and nuts, in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products. Last week it included both categories in a second round of tariffs to be imposed on July 6.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Kentucky's pension reform law struck down by judge as unconstitutional

Louisville Courier Journal | Posted on June 21, 2018

 Franklin Circuit Court judge struck down Kentucky’s pension reform law on Wednesday, saying the rapid manner in which it was passed was unconstitutional. Judge Phillip Shepherd said the process, which took six hours after the pension language was substituted into an unrelated sewer bill on March 29, violated safeguards to ensure "legislators and the public" can know the content of bills under consideration. Democrats and advocates for teachers and public employees hailed the decision.

Overhaul of ethics rules approved in Arkansas Senate vote

Arkansas On Line | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Arkansas Senate approved an overhaul of its rules to create a committee on ethics, prohibit senators from certain activities involving conflicts of interest and require more disclosure of other conflicts and their personal finances. With Sen. Alan Clark, R-Lonsdale, as the only audible dissenter, Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, ruled that two-thirds of the body voted by voice to approve changes to its code of ethics.

Ag Pesticide Applicator Certification Now Available To Ky. High School Students

WKMS | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Kentucky Department of Education and Department of Agriculture is partnering to give high school students the chance to become certified agricultural pesticide applicators. The partnership plans to offer pesticide applicator certifications in agriculture, forest, ornamental and lawn care, golf course turf care, interior plantscape care and sports turf care.

New Michigan Zoning Order Aims to Fight Bovine TB

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on June 21, 2018

For almost 25 years, we have been working to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) from Michigan’s northeastern Lower Peninsula (LP). While bovine TB remains a worldwide issue, the U.S. has seen very little bovine TB since the late 1970s, apart from Michigan’s northeastern LP. It has infected more than 60 cattle herds in this area, where the disease has a natural reservoir in free-ranging white-tailed deer. Unfortunately, the disease still exists, despite much work by agency staff, farmers, hunters, and others.

Missouri officials approve feedlot expansion, legal fight expected

Meat + Poultry | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources recently issued a permit for Valley Oaks Steak Co. to increase the number of cattle it can maintain to 6,999 in its Missouri animal feedlot operation. Currently, the facility outside of Lone Jack, Missouri, has a limit of 999 head of cattle.   Missouri DNR granted a Class IB NPDES permit to Valley Oaks Steak at the Lone Jack facility, which makes it subject to concentrated animal feeding operations regulations and permit requirements.

Agriculture News

Double whammy: U.S. pork, fruit producers brace for second wave of Chinese tariffs

 | Posted on June 21, 2018

U.S. producers of pork, already saddled with duties enacted in an earlier round of the escalating trade dispute with China, are bracing for further pain after Beijing hit the products with additional tariffs due to come into effect next month.  China implemented a 25 percent duty on most U.S. pork items on April 2, and a 15 percent tariff on a range of fruits and nuts, in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products. Last week it included both categories in a second round of tariffs to be imposed on July 6.

PA Senate passes measures to overcome dairy crisis

WJACTV | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Pennsylvania state Senate has passed three legislative measures to help combat the dairy crisis.The Senate passed Senate Bill 819 to allow for agritourism activities such at farm tours, hayrides and corn mazes on farms that are part of the state's farmland preservation program."This bill provides consistency for farmers throughout the state while protecting their farmland preservation status as they host these educational and entertaining events," said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman. HARRISBURG, Pa.

U.S.–China Trade Dispute and Potential Impacts on Agriculture

Choices magazine | Posted on June 21, 2018

Threats of Chinese tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports shook the U.S. agricultural sector. Attention focused on the potential loss of farm income, with a surge of short articles published in the popular media. To help provide a deeper analysis on the trade policy impact, we organize this China theme issue with five articles: Zheng et al. and Taheripour and Tyner estimate the loss on multiple relevant crops using a partial equilibrium model and a general equilibrium model, respectively. Both studies focus on soybeans, while wheat, pork, and a few other commodities are also considered.

Ag Pesticide Applicator Certification Now Available To Ky. High School Students

WKMS | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Kentucky Department of Education and Department of Agriculture is partnering to give high school students the chance to become certified agricultural pesticide applicators. The partnership plans to offer pesticide applicator certifications in agriculture, forest, ornamental and lawn care, golf course turf care, interior plantscape care and sports turf care.

New Michigan Zoning Order Aims to Fight Bovine TB

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on June 21, 2018

For almost 25 years, we have been working to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) from Michigan’s northeastern Lower Peninsula (LP). While bovine TB remains a worldwide issue, the U.S. has seen very little bovine TB since the late 1970s, apart from Michigan’s northeastern LP. It has infected more than 60 cattle herds in this area, where the disease has a natural reservoir in free-ranging white-tailed deer. Unfortunately, the disease still exists, despite much work by agency staff, farmers, hunters, and others.

Federal News

U.S. House OKs farm bill with major food stamps changes

Reuters | Posted on June 21, 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a massive Republican farm bill with changes to the government food stamps program that make it unlikely to become law in this form. The Senate is considering its own farm bill with no major changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) used by more than 40 million Americans, or about 12 percent of the total U.S.

Trump to propose government reorganization, targeting safety net programs

The New York Times | Posted on June 21, 2018

President Trump plans to propose a reorganization of the federal government as early as Thursday that includes a possible merger of the Education and Labor Departments, coupled with a reshuffling of other domestic agencies to make them easier to cut or revamp, according to administration officials briefed on the proposal. Mr. Trump and his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, the architect of the plan, have sought to redefine as welfare subsistence benefit programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and housing aid.

Double whammy: U.S. pork, fruit producers brace for second wave of Chinese tariffs

 | Posted on June 21, 2018

U.S. producers of pork, already saddled with duties enacted in an earlier round of the escalating trade dispute with China, are bracing for further pain after Beijing hit the products with additional tariffs due to come into effect next month.  China implemented a 25 percent duty on most U.S. pork items on April 2, and a 15 percent tariff on a range of fruits and nuts, in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products. Last week it included both categories in a second round of tariffs to be imposed on July 6.

Immigration officials arrest 146 workers at Ohio meat plant

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 21, 2018

pecial agents from U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) have arrested 146 workers at the Fresh Mark meat processing plant in Salem, Ohio, for alleged immigration violations, the agency said. ICE said it identified the employees as part of a year-long investigation into whether the company hired illegal aliens at its meat processing and packaging plants. Search warrants were served at Fresh Mark locations in Massillon and Canton, Ohio, as well as the Salem plant.

U.S.–China Trade Dispute and Potential Impacts on Agriculture

Choices magazine | Posted on June 21, 2018

Threats of Chinese tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports shook the U.S. agricultural sector. Attention focused on the potential loss of farm income, with a surge of short articles published in the popular media. To help provide a deeper analysis on the trade policy impact, we organize this China theme issue with five articles: Zheng et al. and Taheripour and Tyner estimate the loss on multiple relevant crops using a partial equilibrium model and a general equilibrium model, respectively. Both studies focus on soybeans, while wheat, pork, and a few other commodities are also considered.

Rural News

Rural Mainstreet Index at Highest Level in Almost 5 Years

 | Posted on June 21, 2018

For a fourth straight month the overall index rose above growth neutral. On average, bankers expect farm loan defaultsto rise by only 3.0 percent over the next 12 months. • Over the past year, average annual cash rents on farmland declined by 3.0 percent to $239 per acre. More than one-third of bank CEOs identified rising regulatory costs as the top economic challenge to their banking operations over the next five years.

Investing in Rural America

Joint Economic Committee | Posted on June 21, 2018

Senate and House Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday released a report, "Investing in Rural America," on the needs of rural America and promised to push congress to invest more in rural areas.In a call to reporters, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., the ranking Democrat on the committee, said, "Many rural communities are still recovering from the Great Recession, more than 10 years after it hit us. Millions of rural residents lack reliable access to broadband. The rural population is aging and shrinking, and wages have been stuck for too long.

What the U.S. Could Learn from Australia about Financing Infrastructure

University of Pennsylvania | Posted on June 21, 2018

As an Australian, I’ve have been resisting the temptation these past few months to react to the Trump Administration’s big infrastructure plans with “The U.S. could learn a lot from my country.” The international comparison gambit rarely works well in America, and I don’t want to appear too parochial. But I have learned a lot from the Australian example, and I think now is the time to share, as the Trump Administration pursues a plan of federal infrastructure investment intended to stimulate state, local and private investments.

USDA Launches Interactive Map of Opioid Epidemic Resources

USDA | Posted on June 20, 2018

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a new interactive feature on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural opioid misuse webpage. Now webpage visitors can use an interactive map to learn about, access or replicate actions rural leaders are taking in small towns across the country to address the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment and recovery opportunities. The interactive map can be viewed at www.usda.gov/topics/opioids/resources-map.

Florida lawmakers wrongly diverted money meant for conservation, judge rules

Orlando Sentinel | Posted on June 20, 2018

State lawmakers failed to comply with a voter-approved constitutional amendment to buy and preserve environmentally sensitive lands, a judge ruled. Leon Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with environmental groups in the lawsuit centered on whether lawmakers defied the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative by improperly diverting portions of the money to such expenses as staffing. Legislative leaders have repeatedly disputed such allegations as they continued to make such budget allocations. Attorney David Guest — representing the Florida Wildlife Federation, the St.

Energy News

EPA to propose reallocating waived biofuels volumes to other refiners

Reuters | Posted on June 21, 2018

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose reallocating biofuel blending obligations waived under its small refinery exemption program to other refiners, in an announcement that could come as early as Friday, according to two sources familiar with the agency’s plans. The move is a nod to biofuel groups frustrated with the agency’s broad expansion of the waiver program under the Trump administration, but will antagonize refining companies who say it will unjustly increase their regulatory costs. U.S.

PG&E to record $2.5B charge for California wildfires — and warns it could get worse

Utility Dive | Posted on June 21, 2018

PG&E Corp. and its subsidiary, Pacific Gas and Electric, announced today in an 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it will record a $2.5 billion pre-tax charge related to deadly wildfires in Northern California last year.

Trump, Oil of Less Concern Than Climate Change for Top Companies

Bloomberg | Posted on June 13, 2018

The world’s biggest companies are increasingly worried about climate change. The terms “climate” and “weather” combined were among the most frequently discussed topics among executives of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, beating “Trump,” “the dollar,” “oil” and “recession” according to analysis of 10 years of earnings call transcripts by S&P Global Ratings. “The effect of climate risk and severe weather events on corporate earnings is meaningful,” S&P said in the joint report with Hamilton, Bermuda-based Resilience Economics Ltd.

Trump orders Perry to stop coal, nuclear retirements

Utility Dive | Posted on June 13, 2018

President Trump directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to stop the closure of coal and nuclear plants, pushed offline by cheaper electricity from natural gas and renewables. The president told Perry to “prepare immediate steps” to stop the plants from retiring, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, adding that “impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid."

Exelon CEO: No grid emergency to justify DOE coal, nuke bailout

Utility Dive | Posted on June 13, 2018

The CEO of the largest nuclear generator in the U.S. says the retirement of coal and nuclear plants does not constitute a grid emergency that warrants urgent intervention from the federal government, as President Donald Trump directed last week. Exelon CEO Chris Crane said the case for a grid emergency is difficult to make in the PJM Interconnection, the site of many potential retirements, when its reserve margin remains so high — 22% in its latest capacity auction. The company has not advocated for emergency action to save plants from retirement, he said.

Food News

HSUS targets McDonald’s on animal welfare

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) said today it is launching a new TV ad campaign aimed at getting McDonald’s to improve its welfare standards for the broilers that are raised and processed for the restaurant chain’s various chicken menu items. The 30-second spot, which depicts chickens “genetically selected to grow too large and too fast” experiencing “abuse and suffering” on “factory farms,” will reportedly air in the Chicago market, McDonald’s home base.

The USDA is right. Biofoods don't need labels.

Chicago Tribune | Posted on June 21, 2018

Should a federal agency issue a regulation that will impose up to $3.5 billion in costs next year, and billions more in the coming decade — while delivering essentially no benefits? That sounds crazy. But a few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed to do exactly that. The proposal is the outgrowth of the long-standing national battle over whether to require labels for bioengineered (or genetically modified) foods.

Salmonella outbreak in 31 states is linked to Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal, CDC says

CNN | Posted on June 20, 2018

A salmonella outbreak that has caused illness in 73 people across 31 states is linked to Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.Just before the agency announced the outbreak,the Kellogg Co. announced a recall of 15.3-ounce and 23-ounce packages of the cereal with a "best if used by" date from June 14, 2018, through June 14, 2019, according to a statement.Twenty-four of the sick patients have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, according to the CDC.

The FDA regulates food. USDA regulates meat. So who gets to regulate lab-grown meat?

The New Food Economy | Posted on June 20, 2018

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its intent to regulate lab-grown meat—a declaration that provides some clues about how the federal government will treat a new technology that upends some notions about food and agriculture. In some ways, it’s unremarkable that lab-grown meat would fall under FDA’s purview. It’s the federal agency that’s already in charge of ensuring the safety of most foods, from Hot Pockets to baby carrots and coconut water. What is surprising, though, is FDA’s signaling that it wants domain over a meat product.

FDA’s advice to footnote ‘added sugars’ gets tart replies

Capital Press | Posted on June 18, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration has been flooded this month with sour comments about its plan to require honey, maple syrup and cranberry products to include “added sugars” on nutrition labels.Remarks from New England maple syrup makers have been particularly bitter. They say they don’t “add” sugar to their naturally sugary product. “The only thing the producers do is evaporate water from the sap of this liquid gold,” one commented.The FDA counters that consumers should know how much “added sugar” maple syrup adds to pancakes.