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Rural Puerto Rican communities continue to be underserved by U.S. agencies

As we write this column in the week before Christmas 2017, it has been nearly three months since category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Unlike the Texas coast which was drenched with rainfall from Hurricane Harvey that just weeks earlier was measured in feet, some 40 percent of the island still is without electrical power and damage to major roads and bridges makes many communities on the island difficult to reach with most of those in rural areas. According to Refugee International, “the U.S.

EPA: Glyphosate Unlikely Carcinogenic

The herbicide glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. That is the conclusion reached by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its draft risk assessment released this week. The assessment is set for a 60-day public comment period early in 2018. The EPA said in a news release this week that a proposed interim registration review decision for glyphosate is set for publication in 2019. That decision would propose a variety of mitigation steps to reduce glyphosate risks, if measures are needed.

USDA seeks applications for conservation grants

USDA is offering grants for innovative ideas for conservation strategies and technologies. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest $10 million in the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, funding innovative conservation projects in three focus areas: grazing lands, organic systems and soil health. Grant proposals are due Feb. 26, 2018.

No, agriculture won't be quiet, Mr. Ross

As the NAFTA negotiations have stalled, farmers and ranchers in Canada, the United States and Mexico have grown increasingly concerned that this free trade deal is in jeopardy. They’ve been voicing their concerns, to the point where U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross argued U.S. agriculture groups and farmers were complicating the NAFTA trade negotiation process by speaking up, basically telling the farm community to be quiet. “As one special interest group, say agriculture, for example, gets nervous, they start screaming and yelling publicly.

Farm Structure (2017), and Evolving Distribution of Government Farm Payments (1991-2015)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has recently released two separate reports that provide interesting perspective on the structure of U.S. agriculture.  The firstprovides a detailed overview of current statistics relating to U.S. farms, while the second highlights the evolving distribution of Federal farm payments (1991-2015).  This update underscores key findings from the two recent ERS reports.

FDA Provides Information on the Use of Medically Important Antimicrobials in Bees

The FDA is announcing the availability of a Question and Answer document about the use of medically important antimicrobials in bees to provide helpful information to beekeepers and veterinarians. The Q&A titled “Using Medically Important Antimicrobials in Bees” responds to some commonly asked questions about the appropriate use of approved Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and prescription (Rx) drug products for bees.

USDA proposes withdrawing organic animal welfare rule

The US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a proposed rule to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices  final rule. OLPP was published on Jan. 19, 2017. The grounds for the proposed withdraw are that the rule exceeded the USDA’s own rule-making authority. The OLPP rule was to set welfare standards in organic agriculture and was widely supported by the organic industry as well as animal welfare, environmental, and consumer organizations, according to a statement from Friends of the Earth.

President Trump To Address Farm Bureau Members

President Donald Trump will address farm and ranch families from across the nation at the 99th Annual Convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The convention will be held January 5th through the 10th in Nashville, Tenn.


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