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USDA and SBA Join Forces to Help Businesses in Rural America

Under the newly-signed MOU, USDA and SBA will enhance collaboration and coordination in areas of mutual interest. Specifically, such collaboration is intended to improve investment opportunities in rural areas, identify ways to increase the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017, improve innovation for rural technical assistance providers, and aid rural businesses in providing tools to export products around the world, among other goals.

USDA secretary accused of siding with industry over science in new report

Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, has been criticized for rolling back school nutrition standards, attempting to upend the food stamps program, rejecting World Health Organization guidelines on antibiotics in agriculture and ending a pesticide ban, in a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) advocacy group. Perdue spent his first year in office “sidelining science and favoring industry”, the report claims, calling for greater congressional scrutiny of the agency.

USDA: Tariffs proposed by China would hit $16.5B in U.S. ag exports

Chinese officials responded quickly Wednesday to the Trump administration's proposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports by announcing higher tariffs on 106 more U.S. commodities, including soybeans. The new reciprocal tariffs will be on products including soybeans, automobiles and chemical products, worth a total of $50 billion. Soybeans are at the top of the list. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce did not indicate when the tariffs would take effect.

Farm Bill must not cut SNAP

SNAP has a major impact on families, seniors and communities in our state and across the country. Here in Indiana, SNAP helped 672,000 people last year. That’s one in 10 Hoosiers who has been laid off, has experienced a serious illness or who otherwise might need a little extra help to get by in hard times. Nationwide, nearly two-thirds of the people who SNAP helps are children, seniors or people with disabilities.

How food stamps are keeping small farms in business

The local food movement has been criticized for catering to middle- and upper-class Americans, and for leaving behind the low-income in all of the hype for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and “know your farmer” initiatives touted in glossy food magazines. But in the last decade, food justice activists have sought to correct this, connecting low-income consumers with cooking classes, gardening workshops, children’s programming, and locally grown and culturally appropriate foods.

China tariffs on U.S. ethanol to cut off imports in short-term

Chinese buyers of U.S. ethanol will have to cut imports because of higher tariffs, but eventually will have to return to the overseas market to meet government targets for using the fuel, industry participants and analysts said on Monday. China said late on Sunday it will slap an extra 15 percent tariff on ethanol imports from the United States, part of its response to U.S. duties on aluminium and steel imports. The previous duty was 30 percent. The tariffs, effective Monday, will neutralize cost savings from importing cheaper U.S.

Wall Street hit by trade war fears

China said it would place 25% trade tariffs on 106 US goods, including soybeans, aircraft and orange juice.The tit-for-tat action comes hours after Washington detailed about 1,300 Chinese products it intended to hit with tariffs - also set at 25%.Wall Street opened sharply lower, but regained ground by mid-day.After starting down more than 400 points or 1.75%, the Dow was only down by about 0.6% by late morning.

EPA's Back-Door RFS Waiver?

The Environmental Protection Agency has opened its own "back-door waiver" to the Renewable Fuel Standard by granting retroactive exemptions to RFS obligations to more than a dozen small refiners, including some that are part of highly-profitable refining conglomerates. I smell a rat. I smell a rat," said Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois who studies the Renewable Fuel Standard.

USDA Pressed on Livestock Rules

he Organization for Competitive Markets has filed a legal challenge against USDA for withdrawing a set livestock marketing rules designed to level the playing field for producers while negotiating supply contracts with larger agribusinesses. On Friday, attorneys for OCM filed a 170-page brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri, to vacate USDA's actions against the rules last October. The OCM filed an appeal in February.The rules originally were drafted by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, or GIPSA.

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