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Volume of New Ag Loans Drops

The volume of new farm loans dropped sharply in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to respondents to the Survey of Terms of Bank Lending to Farmers. The survey, which asks bankers about new loans to farmers, indicated the volume of non-real estate loans in the farm sector dropped 40 percent from a year ago. The 40-percent drop was the largest year-over-year decline in nearly 20 years. The sharp reduction in the volume of new farm loans at commercial banks occurred during a prolonged decline in farm revenue.

Why coal jobs aren't coming back, despite Trump's actions

President Trump's "America First" energy plan makes clear that the White House is committed to "reviving" the country's long-suffering coal industry.It's part of Trump's effort to live up to his campaign pledge to coal miners, whom he has told: "Get ready, because you're going to be working your asses off."As soon as this week, Trump could back up that campaign talk with real action.

EPA Staff told to 'stand down' on axing climate page

Trump administration officials appear to have walked back plans to scrub climate change references from U.S. EPA's website.  "We've been told to stand down," an EPA employee told E&E News today. That new directive comes after staff were told yesterday to remove the agency's climate change page from its website, worrying climate change activists and sending data specialists scrambling to download files.  The backlash that erupted after reports surfaced last night that the climate page would be eliminated may have prompted administration officials to change course.

Wyoming proposal would require utilities to use fossil fuels

A group of Wyoming lawmakers is bucking the U.S. trend of supporting renewable energy with a plan to do the opposite: Fine utilities if they provide energy produced by wind or the sun. Blustery Wyoming ranks among the top states for wind-energy potential, but the coal, oil and natural gas industries are the backbone of the state’s economy. With a $360 million budget shortfall in public education caused by downturns in those industries and corresponding state revenue declines, legislators are hard-pressed for solutions.

'Family Farm Relief Bill' could help local dairy farmers

Finding workers who are willing to show up at 4:30 a.m. and work for more than 12 hours a day for minimum wage is not easy.In fact, it’s almost impossible to find Americans who will do the job, say many dairy farmers in Washington County.But foreigners are not allowed to have a work visa for year-round agricultural work. That means dairy and meat farmers often hire workers who do not have authorization to work here. New York's U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, is proposing to change that by making the H-2A visa a three-year visa for year-round agricultural workers.

Clovis takes lead in installing Trump team at USDA

Sam Clovis, Donald Trump's top farm policy adviser during the presidential campaign, will be leading the transition group installing his team and policy at the Agriculture Department.  Clovis, a co-chair of the Trump campaign, confirmed to Agri-Pulse that he would be leading the USDA transition team.  Clovis served as a surrogate for Trump during the campaign.

Beef Benefits From Bird Flu

Despite a regain in consumer interest for imported pork, ostensibly because of bird flu, South Korea's pork imports slightly decreased over the past year, both overall and from the U.S.  Contrastingly, beef imports volumes have surged, with the U.S. product the main beneficiary.  Korea Customs Service figures provided by Meat Export Federation South Korea director Ji-Hae Yang show South Korea's January-November overall pork imports very slightly dipped from 422,766 to 421,123 metric tons. During the same period, imports from the U.S. went down 4% from 129,224 to 124,093 tons.

Farm Direct Marketing Revenue Topped $8 Billion in 2015

USDA has released its first-ever survey on direct marketing, and it shows that the local food industry is huge. More than 167,000 U.S. farms sold food through direct marketing, earning $8.7 billion in 2015, the survey shows. The report includes not only fresh produce, but also “value-added foods,” defined as foods like meat and cheese.  The report, titled “Local Food Marketing Practices Survey,” is the first survey USDA has conducted focusing on the economic impact of farm marketing in the U.S.

$2 million proposed in funding for dairy relief bill

Dairy farmers are officially on the 2017 legislative docket.  Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley presented a relief funding bill to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.  “It’s hard to imagine drought after all the moisture we’ve had over the last couple months,” Bradley said.

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