Six months after withdrawing his nomination for USDA chief scientist, Sam Clovis will leave the department on Friday and return to Iowa. The nomination was doomed when Clovis was caught up in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Just as President Trump expressed his campaign through the slogan "Make America Great Again," a bill filed by two members of the House Freedom Caucus can be summarized as "Make the farm bill Trump again." South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman intends to offer the legislation, which would enact crop insurance and farm subsidy reforms espoused by Trump, as an amendment during House debate of the farm bill, which could occur as early as mid-May.
The president of Mississippi State University, Mark Keenum, is President Trump's choice to become chairman of a USAID advisory group, the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, said the White House. Keenum was the No. 3 Agriculture Department official during the George W. Bush era, overseeing U.S. farm subsidies, ag exports and foreign food aid before becoming university president in his home state in 2009.
President Trump selected Dan Berkovitz, who was general counsel at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama era, as his nominee for commissioner of the agency, said the White House.
President Trump sent a message to U.S. farmers in a phone call with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue: “We’re not going to allow them to be casualties if this trade dispute escalates. We’re going to take care of our American farmers.”
Hog farmers are headed for a money-losing year and a major factor will be the drying up of $1 billion a year in exports to China, says Purdue economist Chris Hurt. But Chinese consumers will feel little pain from the 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork because the EU and Canada are alternative suppliers. China acted sooner than expected with its weekend announcement of $3 billion of counter-measures on U.S. goods in response to President Trump's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
Five corn-state senators want to meet President Trump face to face to warn him against the oil industry's proposal of a cap on the price of RINs, the credits that refiners must buy if they don't blend enough ethanol into gasoline. Oil-state senators, led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, say the cap is needed to preserve jobs at oil refineries; midwesterners say it would destroy the market for corn ethanol.
American corn faces import levies of up to 25 percent, according to a 10-page list of potential targets for retaliatory tariffs released by the European Commission, reported AgriCensus. The tariffs would counter the Trump administration's announcement that it intends to imose high tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.
Along with the much-criticized Harvest Box of nonperishable food for low-income Americans, President Trump proposed in his budget more stringent limits on food stamps for people who work less than 20 hours a week. House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway may go beyond Trump in his proposals to restrict eligibility and to channel millions of food-stamp recipients into workfare and job-training programs.