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Syria joins Paris Climate Agreement, US only Nation Left Out

The United States is now a party of one in its stance on climate change.Syria will join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US as the only country in the world not signed on to the landmark climate deal.Syrian officials announced their intention to ratify the accord at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany."I confirm that the Syrian Arab Republic supports the implementation of Paris climate change accord, in order to achieve the desired global goals and to reflect the principles of justice and shared responsibility, but in accordance with the capabilities of each of

Wins, some losses, in GOP tax bill for farmers

 The House Republican tax-reform bill would preserve interest expensing for most farmers and would phase out the estate tax, but some producers would lose a tax deduction that their cooperatives pass on to them.  The bill also significantly expands immediate expensing and depreciation provisions that are in current law. However, tax experts say there are other provisions, including new rules for pass-through entities and self-employment taxes, that could offset some of the benefits.

The GOP Tax Plan Tells Us Everything About Who Matters In American Democracy

The GOP says its plan is an effort to “fix our broken tax code,” and there can be no doubt that the code is broken. Our fabulously wealthy nation is mysteriously plagued by poverty. More than 40 million Americans currently live in poverty, including 11.5 million children. Over 41 million people live in what the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as “food insecure households.” Millions of Americans literally could not afford to eat at some point during 2016.

Pioneers of organic farming are threatening to leave the program they helped create

The pioneers of the sustainable farming movement are mourning what they call the downfall of the organic program, following a Wednesday night vote by a group of government farming advisers that could determine the future of the $50 billion organic industry. At issue was whether a booming generation of hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic farms — which grow plants in nutrients without using soil, frequently indoors — could continue to sell their produce under the “organic” label.In a series of narrow votes, an advisory board to the U.S.

Organic board: aeroponics out, hydroponics, aquaponics in

By a vote of 8 to 7, the National Organic Standards Board on Nov. 1 rejected proposals to make hydroponic and aquaponic production methods prohibited under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program.The board did vote to make aeroponics a prohibited practice by a vote of 14 in favor of the ban, with one member abstaining. That won’t have an impact on organic supply, Frankel said, as he understands there are no aeroponic operations currently certified as organic.

National Organic Standards Board Decrees That Hydroponic Can Be Organic

On November 1st, the National Organic Standards Board finally made a decision on one of the most divisive issues in the organic world: should crops grown in water, containers, or otherwise not in the ground be allowed to call themselves organic? The decision is thus: hydroponic and container gardens will remain eligible for organic certification.This is a debate that’s much more complicated than it seems.

Some Tax Code Changes Would Hamper Farmers and Ranchers

K-Coe Isom, an agricultural accounting and consulting firm,  said there were provisions in the tax bill that would hamper growth for farmers and ranchers and could increase their taxes. These include caps on the interest-expense deduction, scaling back carry-back of losses, the elimination of the Domestic Production Activities Deduction and limits on like-kind exchanges.The tax plan would cap business-interest deductions at 30% of adjusted taxable income.

USDA withdraws proposed biotech rule

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced it is withdrawing a proposed rule to revise the agency’s biotechnology regulations and will re-engage with stakeholders to determine the most effective, science-based approach for regulating the products of modern biotechnology while protecting plant health.

Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors

 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) State Directors, all serving as appointees of President Donald J. Trump.  FSA State Directors help implement U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies in planning, organizing, and administering FSA programs in their respective states. They are also responsible for running the day-to-day activities of the state FSA office.  Similarly, RD State Directors work to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.

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