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Tax overhaul will increase food insecurity in Montana

Congress passed a significant overhaul to our tax system and we in Montana are left wondering what it will mean for us. As members of the Montana Food Security Council, we cannot help but fear the impact on our most vulnerable citizens. We believe that several tenets of the plan will worsen food insecurity in our state. Most low- and middle-income families in the U.S. will see little benefit, with many even experiencing tax increases by the end of the decade.

EPA nixes bid to herd livestock under Clean Air Act

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it has denied a petition by environmental groups to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations like factories under the Clean Air Act. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a letter to petitioners, acknowledged livestock are potential sources of air pollutants. The agency, however, doesn’t have a reliable method for estimating animal emissions.

More schools participate in USDA Farm to School program

More schools districts – and therefore more schoolchildren – are learning about healthy eating habits, and more schools would like to be able to source meats locally, according to the latest USDA Farm to School Census. More than 5,200 school districts and 57,600 schools participated in the program in 2015, which tracks local sourcing of food fed to schoolchildren during the course of the day.

President Trump says Christmas present is delivered and tax cuts will fuel US economy

Farmers who receive income from pass-through entities will see a 20% deduction. The effective impact of a 37% tax rate and a 20% deduction for pass-through income would set a top tax rate on business income at 29.6%. The tax accounting firm K-Coe Isom suggested some business considerations for farmers as year-end tax strategies for the bill. One would be to defer income to next year and pay deductible expenses now, because depending on circumstances, farmers could have a lower tax rate for 2018.

EPA lowballs manure rule’s reach, farm groups say

The Environmental Protection Agency has underestimated how many producers will have to report that their animals are releasing gas, according to farm groups. The new reporting requirement, forced by an environmental lawsuit and expected to take effect Jan. 22, will apply to hundreds of thousands of farms, not the 44,900 projected by the EPA, the groups say.“This number is woefully inadequate and vastly under-represents the universe of producers who will be impacted by these reporting requirements,” the American Farm Bureau Federation stated in comments to the EPA.

Texas Senator Seeks RIN Cap

 Leaders in the biofuels industry wrote President Donald Trump on Friday after learning Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had floated a proposal to the White House that would essentially cap prices for renewable identification number (RIN) credits at 10 cents apiece.

Cargill turns to workforce to push back against Trump trade policies

On Cargill’s new FedByTrade website, the Houfek family tells how selling meat to foreign countries has supported two generations working at the company’s packing plant in Schuyler, Neb. Four hundred miles north, in Hopkins, Brian Donovan, an operations manager in Cargill’s salt division, stands ready to explain how providing de-icing and water conditioning products to Canadians keeps dozens of U.S.

Vaden denies politics played role in USDA reassignments

Democrats on the Senate Agriculture Committee have written to Stephen Vaden, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be USDA’s top lawyer, seeking more information about the reassignments of at least a dozen department employees, all members of the Senior Executive Service. Among the questions posed by the senators: “Were any of the reassignments …. made because of the political affiliation of the individual reassigned or because the individual had worked closely with Obama administration leadership officials at USDA?

FAA: Farm equipment radio interference threatens air traffic

Radio interference from a farm's massive metal crop-watering structure is causing havoc for air traffic in the sky over Georgia, federal authorities said in a lawsuit filed this week. The irrigation structure is on a south Georgia farm where the Federal Aviation Administration has a radio transmitter to relay signals that keep aircraft on course, according to the federal lawsuit.Interference caused by the 1,200-foot-long (370-meter-long) structure forced the FAA to shut down its transmitter in February, affecting operations of nine airports.


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