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Minnesota farmers consider asking for government help as trade war worsens downturn that started years ago

The escalating trade war is imposing new burdens on Minnesota’s vast and economically important agricultural sector. Farmers have already endured almost five years of marginal profits as they produced record volumes in summer after summer of good weather. Now, the trade war appears likely to tip them from small profits to sizable losses. Many are reluctantly preparing to take what they consider a distasteful step: turning to the government for help. Last Tuesday, the U.S.

Trump’s Fight With Canada Over Nafta Faces New Hurdles

President Donald Trump’s effort to force Canada into signing on to a new Nafta on his terms is facing new hurdles thanks to growing opposition at home to his threat to proceed without the U.S.’s northern neighbor. Trump’s frustration spilled into the open over the weekend as he railed against Canada on Twitter -- as well as its many supporters in both political parties. The president has threatened to leave Canada out of a new trade deal already negotiated with Mexico, but without congressional support he lacks leverage to force Ottawa to make concessions.

USDA to Implement Regulatory Reforms to Increase Access to Capital in Rural Areas

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is hosting listening sessions to solicit feedback on a plan to increase access to capital in rural areas by streamlining regulations for four Rural Development loan guarantee programs. “At USDA, we know that for many rural communities the regulations that govern our programs can be outdated and difficult to navigate,” Hazlett said.

USDA Launches Webpage Highlighting Resources to Help Rural Communities Bridge the Broadband e-Connectivity Infrastructure Gap

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a new webpage featuring information about the importance of rural e-Connectivity and the ways the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing to help deploy high-speed broadband infrastructure in rural America. “Rural high-speed broadband e-Connectivity is as important for economic development as rail, roads, bridges and airports – and as vital as the buildouts of rural telephone networks were decades ago,” Perdue said.

FDA expands Third-Party Certification program

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) established the Accredited Third-Party Certification Program, which is a voluntary program that allows “accreditation bodies” to apply for recognition by FDA. Recognized accreditation bodies have the authority to accredit third-party “certification bodies,” otherwise known as third-party auditors. In turn, the certification bodies (1) conduct consultative and/or regulatory food safety audits and (2) issue certifications to eligible entities that produce food for humans and animals.

From Hawaii to Vermont, States Tackle Efficiency Standards

With the Trump administration slowing progress on energy-saving efficiency standards for appliances, equipment, and electronics that save Americans billions of dollars, states are stepping in to try to fill the gap. So far this year, five states have introduced efficiency standards bills and one—Vermont—passed the bill into law. Vermont joins California as a leadership state with a comprehensive suite of state-level energy efficiency standards.

3 reasons to support farm bill’s nutrition provisions

Proposed changes to the farm bill nutrition title threaten to hang up the conference committee. So, it is as important as ever for farm groups to band with their partners in the nutrition community in calling on Congress to protect the integrity of the consumer food safety net.For organizations such as ours, National Farmers Union and Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, there is little to commend in the House version of the farm bill, which was broadly condemned by progressive ag groups, conservationists and anti-hunger advocates.

While lawmakers laud compromise, Trump urges SNAP work requirements

Farm bill negotiators spoke smilingly of comity and compromise while budging not an inch on major issues such as SNAP work requirements on Wednesday during their first, and possibly last, public meeting. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, after wryly saying, “I can’t remember the last time I appointed myself to a conference,” told his fellow negotiators that if they fail to enact the farm bill before the Sept.

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