At a House Agriculture Committee hearing on “opportunities for agriculture” through the renegotiation of NAFTA, an array of farm and trade groups testified that customers, especially in Mexico, are hedging their bets about access to U.S. farm exports and looking for alternative suppliers.
In a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee, Michael Jacobson, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that while Sam Clovis has a broad resume and “there are likely senior jobs in the Administration that he would have been qualified to hold, the job of USDA chief scientist is not one of them.”
Monsanto, the world’s largest seed and ag chemical company, said it has agreed to sell its seed-planter business to farm-equipment maker AGCO. A 2015 deal to sell its Precision Planting unit to Deere and Co. fell apart in the face of an antitrust suit filed by the Justice Department.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters that it’s just a matter of time until Bill Northey, the Iowa state agriculture secretary, is nominated for a senior post at the USDA. Since spring, Northey has been considered the likely nominee for undersecretary for farm production and conservation, overseeing farm subsidies and land stewardship programs.
The Swiss company Climeworks says it’s the first to develop a “commercial carbon dioxide capture plant” that can suck the greenhouse gas directly out of the air. It’s the kind of solution, some experts say, that is imperative given the dire pace of climate change.
Hampton Creek, producer of the eggless “Just Mayo,” is losing $4 million a month and could run out of money in six months absent additional funding, said Bloomberg. The company has experienced months of infighting over control of the start-up and the role of co-founder Joshua Tetrick.
Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in 2018, and Republicans are lining up to take him on. Rep. Luke Messer, who currently represents Vice President Mike Pence’s former district, is the latest to announce his candidacy.
At the same hearing where he said President Trump promised not to cut crop insurance funding in 2018, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts confronted statements by Trump nominee Sam Clovis, questioning whether it was a valid federal function. "If there is some nominee coming before this committee who says crop insurance is unconstitutional, they might as well not show up," said Roberts, arguably the strongest congressional advocate of the risk management tool.
Poultry farms in India are dosing their chickens with antibiotics at such high rates that 94 percent of meat chickens and 60 percent of laying hens tested in a new study harbored multi-drug-resistant bacteria that can cause grave human infections.