USDA and Interior stress cooperation in fighting wildfires

The two largest public-lands agencies in the United States, the Interior and Agriculture departments, “signed a memorandum emphasizing cooperation among federal, state, tribal and local agencies in battling wildfires as the main part of the wildfire season arrives,” said The Associated Press. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signed the memorandum following a briefing at the interagency fire command center in Boise, Idaho.

Groups ask USDA for stronger rules on scientific integrity

A coalition that includes some of the largest U.S. environmental groups called on USDA “to take the necessary steps to ensure that the USDA maintains scientific integrity” and to inaugurate a third-party review of complaints by USDA scientists that their work has been censored or suppressed. …

USDA to award $8 million for nutrition training

The Agriculture Department said it will award $8 million "to help school nutrition professionals better prepare healthy meals for their students."

Broader program to preserve Southwestern willow flycatcher

The Agriculture and Interior departments unveiled an eco-system-wide program to enhance habitat for threatened and endangered species in the U.S. Southwest.

U.S. directs $150 million in forest, drought aid to California

The Agriculture Department announced $150 million to revitalize forests in Northern California and for drought relief for farmers and rural communities.

USDA offers $66.5 million for specialty crop, organic research

A total of $66.5 million is available for work that will benefit specialty crop and organic producers, said the Agriculture Department. The money would cover the cost of research and "extension" -- activities that deliver information about improved crops...

USDA to update protocols at animal research center

The Agriculture Department stopped all new research projects at its Meat Animal Research Center until new protocols are implemented in response to reports of the harsh treatment of animals at the facility in Nebraska, according to Feedstuffs.

USDA to start over on overhaul of biotech regulations

Seven years and 88,000 public comments after it began an overhaul of the regulation "of certain genetically engineered organisms," the Agriculture Department has withdrawn its proposed rule.

States, tribes will test ways to reduce rural child hunger

Five pilot projects will test ways to reduce child hunger in rural America, with approaches that range from home delivery of food to providing three school meals a day, says the Agriculture Department. The USDA awarded $27 million in grants for the demonstration projects in Virginia, Kentucky and Nevada, and the Chickasaw and Navajo nations, from money provided in the 2010 child-nutrition law.