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Tax reform bills will affect Iowa’s farmers and ranchers

At Iowa Farmers Union’s annual convention earlier this month, if tax reform was raised, it was out of concern over who would benefit, and at what cost. IFU’s family farmer members had greater concern for low crop prices, increased corporate consolidation, and efforts to improve on-farm conservation practices. And their alternative priorities track with broader American sentiment, as the rest of America seems resigned to accept that current tax reform efforts just aren’t for them.

As NAFTA talks continue, Canada strengthens ag ties with Mexico

In between rounds of negotiation on possible changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada’s Agriculture Minister concluded a two-day visit to Mexico City to strengthen bilateral relations and promote trade last week. Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay also attended the Mexican food and beverage trade show Alimentaria, touring the show with Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto and Mexican Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, José Calzada.

US says WTO losing focus on trade, becoming litigation group

The United States said Monday that the World Trade Organization is losing its focus on trade negotiation and "becoming a litigation-centered organization." U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also complained that some WTO members try to gain concessions through lawsuits that he said they could never get at the negotiating table."We have to ask ourselves whether this is good for the institution and whether the current litigation structure makes sense," Lighthizer said at the WTO's ministerial meeting

USDA nearing end of feral hog removal

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is nearing the end of an eradication program targeting feral hogs that have been rooting up New Mexico and other parts of the country. The program is set to end in September 2018 and more funding will be needed to continue fighting the pests, USDA District Supervisor for Wildlife Services Brian Archuleta said.

USDA Clears Arizona to Test SNAP Fraud Prevention Improvement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cleared the state of Arizona to test a program aimed at limiting fraud and reducing illegal trafficking in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) electronic benefit (EBT) cards. The two-year waiver, granted by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), will allow the state to require direct contact with SNAP benefit recipients who request a replacement EBT card more than two times in a 12 month period.

Prevented Planting Option Ended

USDA Racks Up Cost Savings by Dialing Back Indemnity Potential for Prevented Planting Claims. Farmers in Northern Plains states and parts of the Corn Belt will lose the prospect of larger potential payouts under prevented planting claims following a crop-insurance change announced earlier this week by USDA's Risk Management Agency.For years, the Obama administration repeatedly sought a $1.4-billion cost savings over 10 years by asking Congress to reform prevented planting coverage by eliminating the option of buying 10% higher coverage for prevented planting.

Under Trump, E.P.A. Has Slowed Actions Against Polluters, and Put Limits on Enforcement Officers

The highway billboard at the entrance to town still displays a giant campaign photograph of President Trump, who handily won the election across industrial Ohio. But a revolt is brewing here in East Liverpool over Mr. Trump’s move to slow down the federal government’s policing of air and water pollution.The City Council moved unanimously last month to send a protest letter to the Environmental Protection Agency about a hazardous waste incinerator near downtown. Since Mr. Trump took office, the E.P.A.

Bipartisan bill might seed the future of organic farming

In order to move this needle, Pingree in May introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017 (H.R. 2436), which proposes more than doubling the program’s funding to $50 million per year through 2023, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Support for the legislation has been picking up steam, with more than 50 new co-sponsors (47 Democrats, 4 Republicans) signing on between September and November 2017.


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