Powerhouse Democrats propose ‘blue card’ for undocumented farmworkers

Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate unveiled bills on Thursday that would give undocumented farmworkers “blue card” status, allowing them to work legally in the United States and gain the chance to become permanent residents, with an eventual path to citizenship. (No paywall)

Farmers borrowing more money, paying higher interest rates

Ag bankers are charging higher interest rates and asking farmers to pledge more collateral in the face of a rising demand for loans, the Federal Reserve said Thursday in its quarterly Agricultural Finance Databook.

Today’s quick hits, Jan. 18, 2019

USDA Outlook Forum still on track (FERN’s Ag Insider): The annual USDA extravaganza of speakers and statistics, the Agricultural Outlook Forum, is still set for Feb. 21 and 22, although the partial government shutdown may interfere with the preparation of income and export forecasts that are an …

Diet for a healthy planet: Half the red meat and sugar, more grains, nuts, produce

A three-year collaboration by three dozen experts in nutrition, agriculture, economics, and the environment says it has solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to feed an expected 10 billion people at mid-century without imperiling future food production. The answer is the “planetary health diet.”

USDA opens local offices for three days to work on existing farm loans

About half of the USDA’s local offices will be open for three days, beginning Thursday, to deal with existing farm loans and provide tax documents to farmers and ranchers. USDA employees will not consider applications for new loans, the new dairy support program, disaster relief, or Trump tariff payments.

Today’s quick hits, Jan. 17, 2019

‘Pockets of difficulty’ in farm country (FERN’s Ag Insider): With farm income in a rut, farmers’ financial health is “a very mixed picture,” says Todd Van Hoose, president of the Farm Credit Council. “We are seeing pockets of difficulty.” Two farm credit leaders based in the Midwest said …

Farm-state Rep. Steve King votes for resolution that admonishes him for racist remarks

On the birthday of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, the House passed a resolution rejecting white nationalism and white supremacy. Majority-party Democrats called the vote a day after House Republicans barred Rep. Steve King of Iowa from serving on any committee after the representative was quoted questioning why the language of white supremacy has "become offensive."

Farm sector in Plains is in ‘prolonged downturn,’ says Kansas City Fed chief

U.S. economic growth is likely to slow this year after a strong expansion in 2018, said Esther George, president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank on Tuesday. In a speech, George pointed to emerging stress throughout the economy and said in the Plains, "the farm sector is in a prolonged downturn as a result of declining agricultural prices, made worse by retaliatory tariffs on U.S. farm products."

Today’s quick hits, January 16, 2019

China culls 916,000 hogs in disease drive (Reuters): The world’s largest hog producer, China, has killed 916,000 hogs in combating outbreaks of African swine fever around the country, said the Agriculture Ministry. Food kitchen for furloughed feds (Washington Post): The charity World …