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Federal News

Trump sends US officials to investigate land expropriation in South Africa

Business Tech | Posted on March 20, 2019

A number of US officials visited South Africa at the request of President Donald Trump as part of an investigation into the country’s land expropriation process. Trump raised eyebrows in 2018 after he tweeted that the South African government was ‘seizing land from white farmers’.Trump asked his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to study the seizure and expropriation of land in South Africa, along with the killing of farmers.

USDA adds new website on pests and diseases

USDA | Posted on March 20, 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is launching a new “Pests and Diseases” webpage. The new page lists all pest and disease programs managed by APHIS as part of its mission to protect American agriculture and natural resources. On the new page, users can search by type (plant, animal), keyword (avian, fruit fly, cotton), or by the specific pest or disease (coconut rhinoceros beetle, brucellosis). You can also scroll through the page, which lists the pests and diseases alphabetically and includes a corresponding image.APHIS created the webpage to make it easier for its customers to find critical information on pests and diseases of concern. With this tool, members of the public will have the information they need to report pests and diseases and together we can protect America’s agriculture and natural resources.

US GDP will lose $290 billion due to tariffs

AEM | Posted on March 19, 2019

With tariffs continuing to take a toll on U.S. businesses, farmers, communities, and families across the country, a new report by IHS Markit outlines the impact of tariffs on the equipment manufacturing industry and the broader U.S. economy. “This report shows that tariffs continue to take a toll on U.S. equipment manufacturers, who will pay significantly more to manufacture equipment in the United States in the coming years,” said Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). “Tariffs on steel, aluminum, and Chinese imports, as well as the potential for additional tariffs, are driving up the cost of production, delaying capital investments, and impeding job creation for our more than 1,000 member companies.”

US seizes pork from China amid swine flu fears

The Hill | Posted on March 19, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have seized about 1 million pounds of pork imported from China amid concerns it could contain the African swine flu disease. Authorities seized the supplies over the last week in New York after the disease was found to have infected some Chinese pork products.

Trump’s proposed SNAP cuts could damage the economy. Here’s how.

The Washington Post | Posted on March 18, 2019

One thing you can say about any member of the Trump administration: They are consistent in their hatred of almost anyone who needs a financial helping hand. And they will pursue that hatred to the point of damaging the American economy. The Trump administration’s new budget, released Monday, includes staggering proposed cuts to social welfare programs and needs such as Medicare, Medicaid, housing and education. These cuts are not just mean, though they are indeed very, very mean. They are also a form of economic sabotage.Let’s use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps, to explain. The $17.4 billion the Trump administration proposes taking from the program in fiscal 2020, and the $220 billion it would cut over the next decade (a cut, by the way, of one-third), will leave many Americans scrambling for a way to feed themselves adequately. And it will, according to an analysis the Center for American Progress provided to The Post, also cost the economy jobs — lots of them. They estimate 200,000 positions in 2020 and as many as 2.8 million job-years over the next decade.

U.S. and EU Work out Deal on Beef

WNEX | Posted on March 18, 2019

The United States and European Union have reached an agreement in principle to allow U.S. farmers a share of the E.U.’s annual 45,000-ton quota for hormone-free beef imports. South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association President Steve Ollerich says that’s a good first step in possibly establishing more market share for U.S. beef in that market. He says a final trade agreement with the E.U. won’t come overnight.However, Ollerich says once the European consumers get a taste of U.S. beef, they’ll want even more of it.Negotiations to include the U.S. in the EU beef market started in September of last year as the Trump administration starting to work out a bi-lateral trade deal with the EU.

FDA Publishes Final Rule Extending Compliance Dates for Agricultural Water Provisions

FDA | Posted on March 18, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a rule to finalize the new compliance dates for the agricultural water requirements in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

Larger farms are now required to comply with the agricultural water requirements by January 26, 2022, while small farms have until January 26, 2023 and very small farms until January 26, 2024. This rule does not change the compliance dates for sprout operations.These compliance dates have been extended while the FDA considers how best to protect public health while addressing widespread concerns about the complexity of the agricultural water requirements and the practicality of implementing them across a wide variety of farms, water sources and uses. The FDA intends to use this time to work with stakeholders to address these concerns.

USDA Celebrates National Ag Day with New Youth Website

USDA | Posted on March 14, 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture joins the nation in celebrating National Ag Day, which highlights agriculture’s crucial role in everyday life, and honors the farmers, foresters, scientists, producers and many others who contribute to America’s bountiful harvest. As part of this effort, USDA is launching a new Youth and Agriculture website to connect young people and youth-serving organizations with Department-wide resources that engage, empower, and educate the next generation of agricultural leaders.

The fog of trade wars

Progressive Farmer | Posted on March 14, 2019

Amid this trade-war fog, one thing seems clear: The Chinese are happy to talk about importing more American agricultural products -- maybe a lot more. That is not the case in another of America's unfolding trade wars. In the talks between the U.S. and the European Union, the EU is refusing to even discuss agriculture. Why? Because the EU knows what the U.S. would demand: relaxation of the EU's non-tariff barriers to American products, starting with genetically engineered crops. Previous EU-U.S. talks deadlocked over the Europeans' refusal to budge on these demands, which are highly unpopular with the European electorate. In 2015 150,000 Europeans took to the streets of Berlin assailing a proposed EU-U.S. trade deal as a "Trojan Horse" for sneaking unwanted GMOs into Europe. Faced with that threat, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker flew to Washington last July to meet with Trump. The presidents agreed to further negotiations, during which the car tariffs would not be imposed. From the moment they announced their agreement, though, they differed on what the negotiations would cover.

Perdue's list of possible relocation sites include private companies and private citizen

USDA | Posted on March 14, 2019

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the initial down-select list of 136 Expressions of Interest received from parties in 35 statesvying to become the new homes of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  USDA is following a rigorous site selection process to identify the new locations with involvement from USDA, ERS, and NIFA leadership.