While EPA ponders, California will ban insecticide chlorpyrifos

California environmental regulators announced on Wednesday that the state will prohibit use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, a process that could take two years to complete. Even as California acted, the U.S. EPA was facing a court-imposed deadline of mid-July to decide on a federal ban of the pesticide.

Senate clears way for disaster aid to agriculture

In a test vote, senators overwhelmingly supported a $13.5 billion disaster bill on Tuesday that includes flood aid for the Northern Plains and Western Corn Belt. "People back home are counting on us to get this done," said sponsor Sen. David Perdue, after speaking against proposals to boost funding for Puerto Rico beyond $600 million allotted for food stamps.

A ranch that produces not just beef, but medical parts

Just south of the Oregon border in Macdoel, California, the Prather Ranch has made a successful business not just selling top quality beef — but parts for the medical industry. "The hides are used to make purified collagen used in cell research. And the bones? Some have been made into screws for knee surgery," reports Lisa Morehouse in FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with KQED's The California Report.

Combative Rep. Steve King is challenged by high-ranking legislator

Randy Feenstra, a Republican leader in the Iowa Senate, announced that he will run against Rep. Steve King in the 2020 Republican congressional primary in northwestern Iowa on a promise of effective conservative leadership.

Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to California animal welfare laws

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear Missouri's challenge to California's expanded animal welfare laws, ending the legal dispute over the Golden State's rigorous humane animal standards. The decision follows a December recommendation from the Department of Justice that the highest court not hear the case and others like it.

Farm bill axes ‘King amendment’ on egg rules

Five weeks after Californians voted for still-stronger animal welfare standards, House and Senate negotiators discarded farm bill language sponsored by Iowa Rep. Steve King to roll such state measures back. King, a Republican who recently won a tight race for re-election, had hoped to overturn …

DoJ’s stance on California egg law could bode well for other states

In a surprising amicus brief, the Justice Department last week recommended that the Supreme Court not hear Missouri’s challenge to California’s animal-welfare laws, which mandate larger cages for some farm animals. The stance could bode well for animal-welfare advocates fighting for similar legislation in other states.

California fights an invasive rodent that poses threat to farms

Nutria, invasive and elusive rodents that weigh up to 20 pounds and were once thought to be eradicated from California, have made a comeback and are posing a threat to agriculture, according to FERN's latest story with KQED's The California Report. Lisa Morehouse and Angela Johnston report that a few of the rodents were first spotted last year in Merced, but are spreading. (No paywall)

How Oakland became a leader in cutting school food waste

Among the 40 percent of all food thrown out is this statistic: America’s school lunch programs waste $5 million in food every day. FERN’s latest story, published with Grist, focuses on Nancy Deming of the Oakland Unified School District, a leader in the movement to cut school food waste and redirect the food to students and people in need. Here’s the main take-aways: