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Trump administration's farm-bill outline emphasizes work as a food-stamp goal

A Trump administration outline for farm legislation calls for pushing some food-stamp recipients back to work, a GOP priority.A four-page document released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday called for supporting "work as the pathway to self-sufficiency, well-being and economic mobility for individuals and families" on food stamps. The administration didn't specify how it would change the law or whether it wants to cut funds for the program.

Canada files WTO complaint over U.S. trade measures

Canada on Wednesday requested World Trade Organization (WTO) consultations with the United States over U.S. measures concerning anti-dumping and countervailing duty proceedings. Canada considers the measures relating to U.S. anti-dumping or countervailing duty investigations, reviews or other proceedings inconsistent with U.S. obligations under several WTO agreements, the organization said. The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute in the WTO.“If the U.S.

2017: A Year of Foreign Ag Subsidies

From South America to Asia, foreign nations doubled-down on subsidies and market manipulation in 2017 to give their agriculture sectors a huge leg up on the competition.

SCOTUS decision on WOTUS delivers uncertainty

Current and future court challenges to the “waters of the U.S.” rule must be heard in federal district courts, not circuit courts of appeals, the Supreme Court said Monday in a unanimous decision that ultimately could lead to lawsuits filed all over the country.

Cooperative Sales Could Reap Tax Breaks, or Not, While C-Corps Lose Some Attraction

While members of Congress try to deconstruct a tax-law change that drives farm sales to cooperatives over private companies, farmers are taking advantage of the law change and wondering whether they will get to continue reaping the rewards. Then there are the farmers who would like to take advantage of some of the new 20% tax breaks for pass-through income, but they sell their commodities through C corporations. Instead of a tax deduction, they could face higher tax rates if they do not restructure those corporations.

America must get out of the woods on medical research funding

Bipartisan voices have recognized the importance of adequately funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with the House and Senate proposing $1-2 billion in increased funding. We may be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief that greater support from the federal government is forthcoming.  But we shouldn’t.  Current proposals, while increases, fail to bring the NIH up to historical funding levels after correction for inflation. And equally importantly, they don’t adequately address support for the myriad other federal agencies which play key roles in supporting medical research.

Court due to enforce manure reporting rule Jan. 22

A federal court is expected to finalize an order Monday that will require untold thousands of farms to report that their animals are continuously releasing at least 100 pounds of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide per day, even though there is no generally accepted way to calculate emissions from decaying manure. The Environmental Protection Agency, which argued against the mandate, has instructed producers to email the National Response Center, rather than deluge the Coast Guard-staffed center with phone calls.

Grain elevators desperate for tax bill fix

Key senators are scrambling to rework a benefit for farmer cooperatives that was created by the new tax law, and the fix couldn’t come soon enough for owners of private elevators like Doug Bell.  The co-op provision was meant to replace the cooperatives’ Section 199 deduction that the law repealed, but tax experts say that the new deduction is so lucrative that farmers will have a strong incentive to sell to a co-op rather than a privately owned or publicly held grain buyer.

New England congressional delegations submit bill to ban offshore drilling

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives from New England has introduced a bill to prohibit oil and gas drilling off the New England coast. The New England Coastline Protection Act would prohibit oil and gas extraction activities off New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.It’s a response to the Trump administration’s planto open nearly all U.S. coastlines to offshore oil and gas drilling.


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