Can Democrat presidential hopefuls win rural votes?

While the growing list of Democratic candidates for president is dominated by politicians from predominantly urban settings, some still have decent track records on agriculture and food issues. This policy experience could help them in rural communities, a weak spot for the party in 2016. But rural advocates caution that the candidates need to build on past proposals if they hope to steer rural voters away from Donald Trump and the GOP.

Avian flu expected back in the fall

This spring the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza epidemic tore through poultry farms across 15 U.S. states, leading to the death of 48 million birds. The bulk of those were egg-laying hens, though turkey production was affected, too.

Embassy pact fuels hope for end of U.S. embargo on Cuba

A U.S. agricultural coalition said it hoped for an end to the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba now that the nations agreed to re-open embassies in each other's capital.

Rail snarl may have cost upper Midwest growers $570 million

The rail-car snarl of last winter may have cost corn, wheat and soybean growers in the upper Midwest $570 million, or 3 percent of their cash receipts for the crops, says a USDA report. To calculate the figure, department economists looked at the impact of higher shipping costs and lower local grain prices in Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, where shipping delays were the worst due to a harsh winter, a large volume of grain awaiting transport and competition for rail service by the oil-shale industry.

Cuba trade embargo would end under Senate bill

Six senators introduced a bill, dubbed the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act, to end the decades-old trade embargo with Cuba. "It is time to turn the page on our Cuba policy," said lead sponsor Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Another Ag panelist joins Senate leadership

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, an Agriculture Committee, member will be part of Democratic leadership in the next session. She was elected to chair the Democratic Steering and Outreach committee.