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U.S. House OKs farm bill with major food stamps changes

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a massive Republican farm bill with changes to the government food stamps program that make it unlikely to become law in this form. The Senate is considering its own farm bill with no major changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) used by more than 40 million Americans, or about 12 percent of the total U.S.

Trump to propose government reorganization, targeting safety net programs

President Trump plans to propose a reorganization of the federal government as early as Thursday that includes a possible merger of the Education and Labor Departments, coupled with a reshuffling of other domestic agencies to make them easier to cut or revamp, according to administration officials briefed on the proposal. Mr. Trump and his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, the architect of the plan, have sought to redefine as welfare subsistence benefit programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and housing aid.

Double whammy: U.S. pork, fruit producers brace for second wave of Chinese tariffs

U.S. producers of pork, already saddled with duties enacted in an earlier round of the escalating trade dispute with China, are bracing for further pain after Beijing hit the products with additional tariffs due to come into effect next month.  China implemented a 25 percent duty on most U.S. pork items on April 2, and a 15 percent tariff on a range of fruits and nuts, in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products. Last week it included both categories in a second round of tariffs to be imposed on July 6.

EPA to propose reallocating waived biofuels volumes to other refiners

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose reallocating biofuel blending obligations waived under its small refinery exemption program to other refiners, in an announcement that could come as early as Friday, according to two sources familiar with the agency’s plans. The move is a nod to biofuel groups frustrated with the agency’s broad expansion of the waiver program under the Trump administration, but will antagonize refining companies who say it will unjustly increase their regulatory costs. U.S.

Immigration officials arrest 146 workers at Ohio meat plant

pecial agents from U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) have arrested 146 workers at the Fresh Mark meat processing plant in Salem, Ohio, for alleged immigration violations, the agency said. ICE said it identified the employees as part of a year-long investigation into whether the company hired illegal aliens at its meat processing and packaging plants. Search warrants were served at Fresh Mark locations in Massillon and Canton, Ohio, as well as the Salem plant.

PA Senate passes measures to overcome dairy crisis

The Pennsylvania state Senate has passed three legislative measures to help combat the dairy crisis.The Senate passed Senate Bill 819 to allow for agritourism activities such at farm tours, hayrides and corn mazes on farms that are part of the state's farmland preservation program."This bill provides consistency for farmers throughout the state while protecting their farmland preservation status as they host these educational and entertaining events," said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman. HARRISBURG, Pa.

U.S.–China Trade Dispute and Potential Impacts on Agriculture

Threats of Chinese tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports shook the U.S. agricultural sector. Attention focused on the potential loss of farm income, with a surge of short articles published in the popular media. To help provide a deeper analysis on the trade policy impact, we organize this China theme issue with five articles: Zheng et al. and Taheripour and Tyner estimate the loss on multiple relevant crops using a partial equilibrium model and a general equilibrium model, respectively. Both studies focus on soybeans, while wheat, pork, and a few other commodities are also considered.

As Smaller Marijuana Businesses Get Squeezed, State Revenue Takes a Hit

Tyler Kearns, owner of the cannabis cultivation company Seven Leaves, stood in one of his half-dozen temperature-controlled grow rooms on a recent day, surveying a crop derived from the same mother plant.“We have really tried to educate the general public through talks, tours, communication and presentations,” Kearns said, “to bring a better understanding of the legal California cannabis industry.”But winning public favor is only half the battle for operations such as Seven Leaves.

Kentucky's pension reform law struck down by judge as unconstitutional

 Franklin Circuit Court judge struck down Kentucky’s pension reform law on Wednesday, saying the rapid manner in which it was passed was unconstitutional. Judge Phillip Shepherd said the process, which took six hours after the pension language was substituted into an unrelated sewer bill on March 29, violated safeguards to ensure "legislators and the public" can know the content of bills under consideration. Democrats and advocates for teachers and public employees hailed the decision.

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