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Canada increasingly convinced Trump will pull out of NAFTA

Canada is increasingly convinced that President Donald Trump will soon announce the United States intends to pull out of NAFTA, two government sources said on Wednesday, sending the Canadian and Mexican currencies lower and hurting stocks.

Climate and Weather Disasters Cost U.S. a Record $306 Billion in 2017

Hurricane Harvey's extreme rainfall and the most devastating wildfire season on record contributed to $306 billion in damages from climate and weather disasters in the United States in 2017, shattering the previous record by more than $90 billion, according to a federal report released Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's recap of the nation's climate over the past year found that 2017 was the third-warmest on record. What's more, it was warmer than average in every state across the lower 48 and Alaska for the third consecutive year.

New Jersey set to ban animals in circuses

New Jersey could become the first state in the nation to essentially ban old-fashioned circuses, ones with wild animals. The state Assembly, in one of its last voting sessions scheduled for tomorrow, is slated to give final legislative passage to S-2508, a bill that would prohibit the use of elephants and other exotic animals in acts traveling to or around New Jersey.

Ag Economy Barometer drops

The Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer drifted lower to a reading of 126 in December, the second month in a row that the barometer has declined. The Ag Economy Barometer is based on monthly survey responses provided by 400 agricultural producers from across the U.S. December’s barometer value was the lowest reading since March and the second-lowest reading of 2017.

Who's picking your food? A record number of foreign laborers

Growers and contractors here recruited 14,252 foreign guest workers last year, the most they have hired in the program’s modern history.California’s recruitment of foreign laborers, virtually all of them from Mexico, grew by 3,121 workers, a 28% increase from the previous year, and nearly three times the national growth rate, according to the data analysis.

Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef new President speaks at Ag Chairs Summit

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) has named OSI Group Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice President Nicole Johnson-Hoffman as its new president. “GRSB brings together people from around the world, who represent all segments of the beef value chain, including individual producers, who ultimately agree there’s massive value in sharing knowledge, and who want to partner to drive exciting new levels of performance in areas impacting GRSB’s Principles and Criteria of Sustainable Beef," said Johnson-Hoffman.

Ikea sets sustainability goals for chicken; pork, beef are next

Ikea Food Services AB introduced the Better Chicken Program, which sets criteria for broiler chicken housing, breeds and antibiotics use for its chicken suppliers with an eye toward expanding to pork and beef suppliers by 2025.   Through the Better Chicken Program, Ikea Food aims to ensure broiler chickens are raised in accordance with criteria including space, lighting, enrichment and breeds with improved health outcomes. The program works toward responsible use of antibiotics and addresses environmental impacts such as deforestation and pollution from manure.

Rural Pennsylvania’s Working Poor

For this analysis, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, using a modified definition from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, defined the rural working poor as: non-institutionalized individuals age 18 years old and older who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force during the preceding 12 months and whose household income was below the poverty level.The rural working poor make up about 5 percent of the total rural Pennsylvania workforce.

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