USDA final hog slaughter rules imperil consumers and plant workers, advocates say

The Department of Agriculture released final rules Tuesday that will shift some inspection responsibilities at hog slaughter plants from USDA inspectors to meatpacking workers and allow plants to speed up processing lines. The overhaul of hog inspection, the agency’s first in 50 years, …

Poultry companies subpoenaed in DOJ investigation of chicken industry

Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Perdue Farms have all been subpoenaed by the Department of Justice in the agency’s grand jury investigation into the poultry sector. FERN broke news of the investigation in June. The Wall Street Journal reports that the three poultry companies will …

Corn losses in rainy spring will be “similar to a severe drought” in scope

Heading into the final week of May, U.S. farmers have planted only 46 percent of the corn and soybean acreage that they intended this year, due to the rainy spring. Economist Todd Hubbs of the University of Illinois said on Tuesday the setback to the corn crop “appears set to hit a level …

Capitol Hill pours cold water of relocation of two USDA research agencies

In nearly identical wording, the House and Senate Appropriations committees told the USDA to delay the relocation of two research agencies outside of the Washington area because of insufficient justification of the proposal. The bills, due for votes this week, potentially derail Agriculture …

Congress sets the rules but farm subsidies are ‘a great investment,’ says Perdue

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue steered clear of a farm bill squabble on Tuesday that has Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley considering a vote against the bill because it would relax crop subsidy limits. Perdue said the farm program is “a great investment” that keeps U.S. food prices low …

Reorganization is an internal matter, Perdue tells inquiring senators

The USDA will need only a couple of months to pick the new homes for two research agencies that are being moved out of the Washington area, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a letter. He also told the leader of the Senate Agriculture Committee that "this is an internal operational decision" so there was no requirement to seek public comment before deciding to relocate the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

‘It’s really up to China,’ says Perdue in assessing course of trade war

The USDA began preparing for a trade war with China last fall, before President Trump confronted Beijing over unfair practices or imposed tariffs on Chinese imports, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Tuesday. Perdue said he would prefer a speedy settlement of the tit-for-tat battle of tariffs, but, "It's really up to China."

Senators protest using farmers as pawns in China-U.S. trade battle

The White House ought to be expanding agriculture export markets rather than disrupting relations with leading trade partners, said farm-state senators during a hearing with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Tuesday. Sales to the three largest export markets—China, Canada and Mexico—are at …

Perdue’s spotty past presents ongoing ethics concerns, advocacy group says

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue brings with him a legacy of ethics violations, climate denialism, and deregulation, all of which could threaten the future of the Department of Agriculture, argues a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report, out today, gathers information from Perdue’s past political career and his current administrative and policy choices to analyze whether and how the Secretary’s tenure could have a long-lasting negative affect on agricultural research and policy.