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Immigration agency removes "nation of immigrants" from its mission statement

The federal agency charged with processing immigration applications to the United States slashed the phrase “nation of immigrants” from its mission statement. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director L. Francis Cissna announced the agency’s new mission statement in a staff-wide email. “U.S.

Iowa:Nearly 50,000 Iowa jobs tied to biofuels

Nearly 50,000 Iowa jobs are supported by biofuels production. In addition, the biofuels industry boosts household income for Iowans by more than $2.4 billion and accounted for $5.0 billion, or 3.4%, of Iowa GDP.

California Sets Two New Solar Records

On Sunday, March 4, the California Independent System Operator saw an all-time peak percentage of demand served by solar, hitting a record 49.95 percent.

With wind farms, bias is in the eye of the beholder

Attraction is subtle and complex, and it can change over time. This insight applies equally to our judgments of food, art, music, architecture and design. Perceptions of beauty are not stable, nor are they universal. Rather, they are constantly shaped by our values, attitudes and beliefs. Nowhere is this more evident than in the debate over wind energy. Depending on your ideas about renewable power, you may view a towering, twirling wind turbine as the paragon of elegance or a hideous monstrosity. For some, Saito explained, lofty, white turbines represent progress, safety, cleanliness.

USDA Forest Service chief resigns in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

Tony Tooke, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, stepped down from his post following reports of sexual harassment and retaliation at the agency that revealed the Agriculture Department was investigating misconduct allegations against Tooke himself. Tooke, who was appointed by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in August, announced his resignation in an email to employees. 

Monetary Policy and Agricultural Commodity Prices: It’s All Relative

Historically, agricultural commodity prices tend to rise during periods of low real interest rates. For example, from 1940 to 1951, the producer price index for farm products rose 200% when real interest rates on 3-month treasuries were negative (Figure 1). A similar pattern emerged in the 1970s and more recently from 2005 to 2014. In fact, analyzing data from 1950 to 2005, Frankel (2006) found strong correlations between changes in real interest rates and agricultural commodity prices. The strongest relationships were in crop markets.

Will Rising Interest Rates Lead to Intensifying Risks for Agriculture?

To encourage economic recovery, the Federal Reserve responded to the Great Recession by slashing interest rates and engaging in monetary easing. Short-term interest rates were pulled down and held near zero for several years. Due to these historically low interest rates, borrowing has been inexpensive for farmers. Along with lower income, the availability of cheap debt encouraged farmers to take on more credit. According to the most recent official USDA Farm Income and Wealth Statistics data (2018), farm sector debt has grown by more than 50% since the Great Recession began.

Dean Foods to terminate more than 100 dairy contracts

More than 100 dairy farmers in eight states need to find a new home for their milk.  Dean Foods issued a written statement saying they made the difficult decision to end milk procurement contracts with selected farmers on May 31st. The farms are in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina.  Dean foods says the surplus of raw milk at a time when the public already is consuming less fluid milk is one factor in the decision.  They also say companies expanding their presence in the milk processing business have exacerbated the situation.

World's Largest Cheese Contest Returns To Wisconsin

Judges in Madison this week will sample 3,402 types of cheese, butter, and yogurt — all in the name of crowning the winner of this year’s World Championship Cheese Contest. The competition first took place in 1957, as a panel of judges tried about 50 different cheddars in the back of a creamery warehouse.Now, it’s the largest competition in the world. And this year, it has a record number of entries. 

Trump’s Justice Department sues California over immigration enforcement

The Justice Department sued California late Tuesday, escalating the battle between the Trump administration and local governments over the issue of providing sanctuaries from a crackdown on immigration enforcement. The lawsuit, which also names Gov. Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, challenges three recently passed state laws that the Trump administration says hinder enforcement of federal immigration law and endanger federal agents. In signing the bills into law last October, Gov.


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