GOP hoots ‘elitist’ as Democrats question USDA’s plan to relocate researchers

Hoping to dissuade Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, farm-state Democrats in Congress asked for a cost-benefit analysis that would justify moving two USDA research agencies out of Washington. Two senior Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee ridiculed the opposition to the relocation as elitism and knee-jerk obstructionism of President Trump.

Missouri bill that would end local control of CAFOs heads to governor’s desk

A bill in Missouri that would eliminate local regulation of CAFOs has passed in the state Senate and House and is headed to the desk of Gov. Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it into law. Opponents of the bill say it favors the interests of the largest livestock farms while exposing communities to greater health and environmental risks.

In Missouri, lawmakers are poised to eliminate local regulation of CAFOs

Communities in Missouri have been fighting the expansion of large-scale livestock operations in the state for years. But a controversial pair of bills moving through the state legislature would make community oversight of those farms even harder. The bills would eliminate local ordinances that regulate industrial animal farms in the state, or make it impossible to enforce those ordinances. The bills mirror trends in other states where legislators have moved to undermine local control of large-scale livestock farms.(No paywall)

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.

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.

FERN/Reveal investigation shows EPA ignored decades of science on dicamba drift

A new investigation by FERN and Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Journalism, shows that the EPA "ignored scientists’ warnings and extensive research that showed dicamba would evaporate into the air and ruin crops miles away, according to documents obtained through public records requests and lawsuits. Instead, the EPA’s approval was based on studies by the companies that manufacture dicamba, which independent scientists say were seriously flawed." (No paywall)

The bidding war begins for ERS and NIFA

Kansas City should be the new home of two agencies that USDA plans to move out of Washington, say three Missouri lawmakers, joining the expected bidding war for the 620 high-paying jobs that constitute the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. While the boost to a local economy is alluring, some researchers wonder if the relocation is part of a plan to slash the size and funding of the research agencies.

Class-action suit targets dicamba, Monsanto and BASF

A class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in St. Louis says Monsanto and BASF genetically engineered dicamba-resistant crops knowing the weedkiller was likely to harm neighboring crops, and that "everything they did and failed to do increased the risk," reports Harvest Public Media.

Community near Kansas City wins stay against cattle farm

Residents of Lone Jack, Missouri, won a stay last week against the planned expansion of a local cattle farm, which had applied for a permit to grow its herd from 600 to 6,999 cows. After much public debate, a state commission issued the stay on July 26.

Growing pains where urban meets rural

Central Iowa’s Dallas County is growing rapidly as the Des Moines metropolitan area spreads westward, says Harvest Public Media in a look at life in two midwestern counties where rural is meeting urban.