Trump administration

Trump administration tried to influence state responses to meatpacking plant outbreaks, documents reveal

Top staff at the Department of Agriculture, including former agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue, and at the Vice President’s office sought to influence how states responded to early outbreaks of Covid-19 in meatpacking plants last spring, a trove of documents reveals.(No paywall)

EPA wants to retract three last-minute RFS waivers

In a legal motion filed in Denver, the EPA asked a federal appeals court to vacate RFS exemptions granted to three small refineries during President Trump’s last day in office. The EPA, now directed by Biden appointees, said the outgoing Trump officials “did not analyze determinative legal …

Environmentalists, fishermen protest bill to allow open-ocean aquaculture

Environmental advocates, fishermen, and residents of several states on the Gulf of Mexico appeared at a virtual hearing on Wednesday protesting a bill and other measures to expand ocean aquaculture. Under the new legislation, which is looking to settle a long-running debate over the future of aquaculture in the United States, fish farming would be allowed in federal waters.

Religion comes with the USDA food box

Some faith-based groups taking part in USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box giveaway, the Trump administration’s answer to hunger during the pandemic, are mixing religion with their taxpayer-financed charity work, reported The Counter on Tuesday. The groups include letters saying the food is …

Trump administration seeks overhaul of fishing industry with new executive order

As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the meatpacking sector, the Trump administration late last week made a major announcement about another essential food industry: seafood. With a late-afternoon executive order, the administration laid out a pathway for the approval of ocean aquaculture in federal waters, a controversial departure from existing policy that could reshape the country’s seafood production.(No paywall)

Farmers to Congress: make sure coronavirus aid isn’t just for agribusiness

A coalition of organizations that represent rural and farming communities called on Congress to ensure that federal coronavirus aid earmarked for agriculture goes to independent farmers rather than multinational agribusiness companies. The groups emphasized that smaller and independent growers …

Trump SNAP rule called unwieldy

The Trump administration saddled state officials with an unwieldy threshold for determining when they can provide SNAP benefits to able-bodied adults without dependents beyond the usual 90-day limit if they do not work at least 20 hours a week, said an Urban Institute report on Tuesday. The …

Trump administration weakens fuel economy standards

Federal agencies sided with the oil industry in relaxing the gasoline mileage requirements for cars and light trucks in model years 2021 to 2026, said the pro-ethanol group Renewable Fuels Association. The DOT and EPA finalized the new standards, which were proposed two years ago, on …

‘Public charge’ rule chills nutrition program enrollment among immigrants

Across the country, fear and confusion about the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule has prompted immigrants and their families to drop out or stay out of pubic nutrition programs, even when they are eligible, according to immigrant and anti-hunger groups. Enrollment in the Special …

Senate Democrats slam inequities in Trump tariff payments

The Trump administration should immediately reform its multibillion-dollar trade-war bailout for farmers and ranchers so money flows to the producers who are hurt the most and aid is focused on family-sized farms, said Senate Democrats on Tuesday. In a 12-page report, Senators said the …

New Trump administration rule could deny green cards to immigrants using SNAP

The Trump administration announced a rule on Monday that would allow federal officials to deny green cards and visa extensions to legal immigrants who have used certain public assistance programs, including food assistance.

Tougher SNAP rules may worsen food insecurity, per USDA analysis

A cost-benefit analysis by USDA says its proposal for tighter eligibility rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program “may also negatively impact food security,” reported Politico. The USDA estimated 3.1 million people, or nearly 9 percent of SNAP recipients, would be denied …

To get around the shutdown, SNAP benefits will be paid nearly two weeks early

The Trump administration will release an estimated $4.8 billion to SNAP recipients on January 20, nearly two weeks early, to ensure they get their February food stamps despite the partial government shutdown, announced Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Tuesday. The USDA said its other public nutrition programs, including WIC, school lunch and food donations, are funded through February, alleviating concerns of hunger among millions of Americans during a protracted shutdown.

NAFTA is mutually beneficial, say ag ministers, but needs to be ‘modernized’

President Trump calls NAFTA a bad deal for the United States and insists it needs a major overhaul. But today the agriculture ministers of Canada, Mexico, and the United States said that while the agreement should get an update, it has been beneficial for North America’s farmers and ranchers.

Trump tabs Stump for CFTC, Gerrish as USTR

President Trump will nominate Dawn Stump, a former vice president of NYSE Euronext, as a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He has also selected Jeffrey Gerrish to be a deputy U.S. trade representative.

Field of candidates for USDA posts becoming clearer

The White House has settled on Steve Censky, a top foreign trade official at the USDA before becoming a farm group executive, for the No. 2 job at the department, according to published reports.

Scientists plan march on Washington, but some think they should stay in the lab

Inspired by the Million Woman March on Washington, D.C., scientists are planning their own march to urge policymakers to base their rules on sound research. “There's been a lot of concern about the fate of science under President Trump. His appointees include climate change skeptics; he's met with an anti-vaccination campaigner. He regularly cites false numbers on things like voter fraud and crime rates, while his surrogates defend the use of "alternative facts," says NPR.