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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.

Census Report Found 'Unprecedented' Fears About Privacy Last Year

A research scientist at the Census Bureau produced a report based on unusual findings in the field. Across a number of projects and “pretests” (or training exercises) conducted between February and September 2017, bureau researchers discovered that survey respondents who were asked questions during focus groups or sample tests were behaving in unexpected ways: They were giving false names or incorrect birthdates, leaving family members out of questionnaires, or abandoning interviews before they were finished.

USDA Issues Final Decision on California Federal Milk Marketing Order

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published in the Federal Register a final decision to establish a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) for California. The proposed FMMO would incorporate the entire state of California. The final decision is based on the evidentiary record of a public hearing held in Clovis, Calif., from September to November 2015. A recommended decision regarding the proposed program was published Feb. 14, 2017. USDA will conduct a referendum among dairy producers to determine whether they support the proposed FMMO.

Trump weighs dropping personal efforts on biofuel reform - sources

President Donald Trump is seriously considering abandoning efforts to remake the nation’s biofuel laws after wading deep into an issue that divides some of his core constituencies, according to three sources familiar with the administration’s thinking. Advisers have urged Trump to instead let Congress tackle the biofuel reforms, but use the threat of administrative action to help rival lawmakers come together and solve the intractable issue.The U.S.

17 States and Cities Have Sued the Government Over Plans to Add Census Citizenship Question

 Seventeen states, the District of Columbia and six cities sued the U.S. government Tuesday, saying the addition of a citizenship question to the census form is unconstitutional. Federal funding and congressional representation are at stake in the dispute over the Trump administration’s move to reinstate the citizenship question to the 2020 census. It would be the first time in 70 years that the government uses the form sent to every household to ask people to specify whether they are U.S. citizens.

China tariffs could help Australia gain share from US wine, nut and fruit producers

China's tariff of up to 25 percent on U.S. agriculture could be good news for Australia's nut, wine and fruit producers. Almost 40 percent of Australia's fruit exports last year went to greater China, and Chile also is a major fruit producer that could benefit. Australia's wine exports to mainland China rose 63 percent last year, while U.S. wine exports to the world's second-largest economy were down. Beijing also imposed new tariffs on American pork, a move that could benefit the European Union, Brazil and Canada — major exporters to China

Farm BIll Law provides series of reports on Farm Bill

The Farm BIll reports are the culmination of a year-long process by FBLE partners to study the farm bill and develop concrete recommendations that will advance shared public values.Researching, writing, and publishing these joint recommendations advances our mission to work together across disciplines toward a farm bill that meets the long-term needs of our society, including public resources stewardship, economic opportunity and stability, public health and nutrition, and fair access and equal protection under the law.Each report presents a set of recommendations along a particular theme,

EPA staffers get talking points playing down human role in climate change

Environmental Protection Agency staffers received a list of “talking points” this week instructing them to underscore the uncertainties about how human activity contributes to climate change. A career employee in the department’s Office of Public Affairs distributed the eight talking points to regional staffers.

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