Senate vs. House confrontation looms over relocating ERS and NIFA

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to approve a bill on Thursday that effectively approves Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s removal of two research agencies to Kansas City from Washington, setting up a clash with House leaders. The $151.7 billion USDA-FDA funding bill …

USDA final hog slaughter rules imperil consumers and plant workers, advocates say

The Department of Agriculture released final rules Tuesday that will shift some inspection responsibilities at hog slaughter plants from USDA inspectors to meatpacking workers and allow plants to speed up processing lines. The overhaul of hog inspection, the agency’s first in 50 years, …

Today’s quick hits, September 18, 2019

‘Big league’ sales of U.S. soy (FERN’s Ag Insider): China is “starting to buy our farm products big league,” said President Trump as USDA reported the third sizable sale since Friday of U.S. soybeans to Beijing. With the new sale of 260,000 tonnes, China has …

With EPA permit looming, open sea acquaculture sparks fight

Americans eat an average of 16 pounds of fish each year, and that number is growing. But how to meet our demand for fish is a controversial question, one that is entering a new chapter as the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to approve the nation’s only aquaculture pen in federal waters.

Keep trade war payments flowing, say farm-state Democrats

With USDA sending $1 billion a week to farmers, senior Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee argued on Monday for Congress to give USDA an early infusion of cash to keep trade-war payments flowing to farm country. The House is scheduled to vote this week on a short-term government funding bill that may include money for aid to agriculture, the only sector of the U.S. economy to get a trade-war bailout.

Trump says he will sign trade deal with Japan

Eleven months after initiating negotiations, President Trump notified Congress on Monday that he intends to sign a trade agreement with Japan in the coming weeks. The agreement is expected to put U.S. farmers on equal footing in trade with Japan in competition with the "TPP-11" trade bloc and the EU.

China buys U.S. soybeans ahead of trade talks

Private exporters reported their second major sale of U.S. soybeans to China as the two nations prepare for working-level meetings to resolve their trade war, said the USDA on Monday. Mid-level negotiators are expected to meet on Friday, ahead of ministerial discussions in early October.

Today’s quick hits, Sept. 17, 2019

Urgency around climate change grows (Washington Post): Nearly 40 percent of Americans believe climate change is a “crisis” and another 38 percent believe it is a “major problem,”  a new poll shows, placing a wide majority of Americans at odds with the Trump …

A close-up look at precision agriculture

In FERN's latest story, Michael Behar takes a close look at precision agriculture — cutting-edge tools like drones,  satellite imagery and artificial intelligence that help farmers keep careful watch over their crops. In addition to improving yields, Behar shows how the technology also allows farmers to reduce water and chemical use. The story was produced in collaboration with EatingWell magazine.(No paywall)