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An Immigration Debate Distinct From Economic Realities

There is a good case that America’s economy has never needed immigrant labor more than it does now. The American birthrate has slowed dramatically, with the number of babies born in the U.S. last year hitting a 30-year low. At the same time, Alaska fisheries, New Hampshire restaurants and Maryland crab processors all say they are critically short of workers. Farmers say they need thousands more workers, and some production is moving overseas for lack of labor. There are 6.6 million job openings in the U.S., which means that, for the first time in history.

Been there done that; it was called Freedom to Farm

Edwards writes, “President Donald Trump proposed cuts to farm programs in the 2019 federal budget, but the longer term goal should be to fully repeal all farm subsidies.” Our response to the goal of fully repealing all farm subsidies will be echoed by many of our readers, “Been there, done that, and the result was a very expensive policy disaster.”In reviewing the 1996 Farm Bill, the Cato bulletin glosses over the impact of “Freedom to Farm” with a simple statement: “But Congress reversed course in the late 1990s, and it passed a series of supplemental farm subsidy bills.”What they don’t te

Migrant labor shortage shakes pro-Trump small biz

It’s a complaint echoed by crab processors in Maryland, innkeepers and lobster restaurants in Maine and Texas shrimpers who couldn’t get enough workers under the H2-B visa “guest worker” program for nonagricultural workers. East End farmers also are stymied by “a tremendous shortage of labor for low-skilled jobs,” said Long Island Farm Bureau president Karl Novak in a recent discussion of immigration policy with Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), according to Riverhead Local.Even before unemployment hit a 17-year low, Devine said he couldn’t find enough dependable, drug-free U.S. workers.

United States Issues First-Ever WTO Counter Notification Against India’s Market Price Support

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the United States submitted a counter notification in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Agriculture (COA) on India’s market price support (MPS) for wheat and rice. Filed on May 4, 2018, this is the first ever COA notification under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture regarding another country’s measures. Based on U.S. calculations, it appears that India has substantially underreported its market price support for wheat and rice.

SNAP is a boon to urban and rural economies

In case you missed it, Congress is in the midst of a pretty major food fight. At the center of it is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is the first line of defense against hunger for more than 21 million American households.  Going forward, however, an estimated 2 million people stand to lose SNAP benefits if the farm bill proposal passed by the House Agriculture Committee last month becomes law. The bill’s draconian work requirementsand eligibility changes threaten to upend the lives of some of the nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families.

Ag budget bill would give USDA jurisdiction over lab-grown 'meat'

As meat substitute products that use new technologies proliferate and the debate over what is and is not meat heats up, Congress jumped into the fray last week with a paragraph in its proposed USDA budget that would give the agency jurisdiction over products made in labs from animal cells.

FSIS boosts outreach to small, very small plants

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is launching an initiative to prioritize outreach to small and very small establishments in each of the 10 districts throughout the country, enhancing its existing outreach resources, the agency said in its Constituent Update newsletter. More than 90% of the approximately 6,000 plants inspected by FSIS are considered small or very small. Outreach to these businesses is critically important — ensuring they have the tools, guidance, and resources needed to comply with FSIS regulations and deliver products that are safe and wholesome.

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