Dean Foods seeks to get back money paid to dairy farmers before bankruptcy

Hundreds of dairy farmers nationwide fear they could owe substantial sums to the bankrupt dairy processor Dean Foods after the company sent out letters attempting to claw back payments made to farmers in the months preceding the company’s Chapter 11 filing last year. Dean’s actions have been harshly criticized by farm groups and, for some, underscore the dangers of a heavily consolidated dairy industry that leaves farmers with few processing options. (No paywall)

American adults skip meals as coronavirus clips income

A quarter of adults have eaten less or skipped meals because they lacked the money to buy food, said an antihunger group on Monday in calling for expansion of food assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. The largest U.S. farm group and a food bank network suggested that the USDA should create a voucher system to get farm-fresh food directly to nearby food banks. (No paywall)

Economic impact of coronavirus outweighs federal help, says U.S. farm group

Congress allotted $23.5 billion for agriculture in the coronavirus relief package, but "that amount of money will not sustain" the farm sector, said the president of the largest U.S. farm group. The sector will need "a whole lot more [money] than was in the CARES Act," said Zippy Duvall of the American Farm Bureau Federation.(No paywall)

More trade-war payments ‘coming very quickly,’ Trump tells farmers

In his third appearance in three years before the largest U.S. farm group, President Trump told cheering farmers that they will get a final round of $3.6 billion in trade war payments despite trade deals intended to spur money-making ag exports. Trump pointed to an upturn in farm income, aided greatly by federal subsidies in 2018 and 2019, and predicted on Sunday, "the big stuff is yet to come."

Trump asks farmer support on shutdown, hints at farmworker reform

In a speech to the largest U.S. farm group, President Trump asked American farmers on Monday to take his side on the partial government shutdown over a border wall and said that with a secure border, "I'm going to make it easier" for farmworkers to enter the country. "Because we want to take people in to help our farmers, et cetera. Very important," he said.

Largest U.S. farm group backs WOTUS foe for EPA chief

The EPA has saddled farmers and ranchers with "burdensome, unnecessary and, too often, unlawful federal regulations," said the American Farm Bureau Federation in calling for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to approve Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to lead the agency. "We desperately need an administrator who understands the challenges our farmers and ranchers face in producing safe, wholesome and affordable food for our nation and the world."

Anxiety among farm groups as battle lines harden on immigration reform

When Donald Trump announced his campaign for president, he promised to deport all undocumented workers if elected. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best ...[T]hey’re sending people that have lots of problems,” Trump told reporters at Trump Tower in New York City. U.S. farmers might have noted that Mexico also sends the majority of the workforce on American farms, a workforce that dropped more than 20 percent between 2002 and 2014.

California ag leader hopes for TPP; Japan sees pivot to China

The president of the California Farm Bureau says he's optimistic President-elect Donald Trump will see the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a good deal despite campaigning against it, reports Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is to meet Trump on Thursday, says there will be an Asian pivot to a Chinese-led trade pact that would exclude the United States if TPP founders.

Ag crisis is on the horizon unless farm economy improves

U.S. farm income is down sharply from the records set in 2013, with little improvement forecast in the near term. "If something doesn't change between now and 2018, we will be in a big crisis," said Zippy Duvall, president of the largest U.S. farm group, during a luncheon session with reporters, referring to the target date for Congress to overhaul farm policy law.

U.S. appeals court blocks disclosure of CAFO ownership

A U.S. court of appeals overturned a lower court ruling and blocked the disclosure of ownership information about concentrated animal feeding operations, Agri-Pulse reported. The appeals court determined that the EPA had violated the Freedom of Information Act by releasing personal information, including phone numbers and email addresses, of CAFOs.