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Agriculture

Small group of America’s big farms gets bulk of Trump bailout

A tenth of US farm operators have received more than half the money from a federal bailout designed to offset the costs of the Trump administration’s trade battles, data show. Some use legal loopholes to collect multiples of a $125,000 cap on payments. The government had doled out $8.5bn ahead of last Friday’s application deadline for farmers, the US department of agriculture said. The White House launched the Market Facilitation Program in September after China, Mexico and other countries fought back against US tariffs by raising duties on American farm goods, depressing their price.

Over 200 Farm, Food and Rural Groups Support Agribusiness Merger Moratorium Bills

A broad-based coalition of 219 farm, food, rural, faith and consumer advocacy organizations delivered a letter to Congress endorsing food and agribusiness merger moratorium bills introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI). The Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2019 would initiate a moratorium on large agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing and grocery retail mergers to allow time to assess the impact corporate consolidation has on farmers, workers, consumers and communities.

Egg farmers, animal welfare groups clash in Sonoma County

But ever since a May 2018 demonstration by Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, an animal welfare group founded less than 50 miles away in Berkeley, California, Weber is concerned about his safety as he moves through his daily routine. A parked car sits at the edge of the farm.  A drone flies overhead. Weber wonders if he and his brother are being watched, if DxE is preparing for an ambush. The protest began on a Spring day in 2018. Around 500 demonstrators led by DxE protested outside Weber’s farm.

USDA Announces Support for Farmers Impacted by Trade Disruption

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. Specifically, the President has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.

USDA farms out economists whose work challenges Trump policies

The Agriculture Department is moving nearly all its researchers into the economic effects of climate change, trade policy and food stamps – subjects of controversial Trump administration initiatives – outside of Washington, part of what employees claim is a political crackdown on economists whose assessments have raised questions about the president’s policies.

More than 600 people will be growing hemp this year in Michigan

More than 600 people are getting involved in the hemp industry this year in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued 600 industrial hemp licenses to farmers during four day-long licensing events held at the end of April.Though industrial hemp is now legal in Michigan and the U.S., the federal government is still developing the rules for a national hemp program. Rather than wait until 2020 to start the industrial hemp industry in Michigan, officials decided to launch a pilot program using a provision in the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill.

What are leaders doing for farmers: not much.

From our perspective, every candidate needs to get out into rural agricultural areas and listen and learn. And while there are alternate policies preferred by different farmers and farm organizations, there is virtually no dissension on identifying the problem. At the same time, farmers from left, right, and center agree that the current low prices are disastrous. Some see echoes of the 1980s in the rising level of farm bankruptcies.

Tyson files suit over USDA inspection

Tyson Foods Inc. and Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. filed a federal lawsuit accusing a US Dept. of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) official of falsifying inspections of 4,622 hogs in 2018, forcing the company to destroy 8,000 carcasses. Tyson alleges the inspection issue resulted in $2.4 million in total losses and expenses. In court documents, Tyson alleges that FSIS inspector Yolanda Thompson, DVM, certified slaughtered hogs at the company’s Storm Lake, Iowa plant on March 26, 2018.

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