USDA opens local offices for three days to work on existing farm loans

About half of the USDA’s local offices will be open for three days, beginning Thursday, to deal with existing farm loans and provide tax documents to farmers and ranchers. USDA employees will not consider applications for new loans, the new dairy support program, disaster relief, or Trump tariff payments.

House passes USDA-FDA funding bill that GOP says is doomed by shutdown

On Thursday, in a test of partisan resolve, the Democratic-controlled House passed, on a nearly party-line vote of 243-180, a funding bill to reopen the USDA and FDA. With the exception of essential work such as meat inspection, both agencies have been shuttered since late December by the partial government shutdown.

USDA to postpone major reports until shutdown ends

The Agriculture Department is expected to announce today that a set of major crop reports scheduled for release Jan. 11 will be delayed until the government shutdown is over, said chief economist Robert Johansson.

Shutdown likely to delay crucial USDA reports

Barring a breakthrough in negotiations between the White House and Congress, the partial government shutdown will force the USDA to delay next week’s scheduled release of potentially market-moving reports that take a final look at the 2018 crops and provide the first hints of this year’s production.

USDA releases GMO labeling rule

The USDA released rules on Thursday for on-package labeling of bioengineered ingredients. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard will require most food manufacturers, importers, and some retailers to clearly label bioengineered ingredients.

USDA nominee Vaden wins test vote in Senate

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on the nomination of Stephen Vaden, a member of the Trump administration since early 2017, to be USDA general counsel. Senators voted, 49-45, on Monday to limit debate on the nomination in a vote that also gauged support for Vaden.

USDA’s rural broadband plan met with citizen criticism

Slow speeds, bad coverage and expensive service. These are just some of the concerns contained in nearly 300 public comments on Rural Broadband Pilot Program proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found.

Fighting fires, or shifting public lands from federal control?

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, in a press briefing Tuesday on California’s raging forest fires, called for more management of federal forest lands to be shifted to local authorities, arguing that this would help prevent fires.

FDA and USDA to jointly oversee cell-based meat

The USDA and FDA will both oversee the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Friday, ending a dispute about the future oversight of the nascent industry.

After years of decline, rural population shows modest growth

For the first time in six years, rural America is gaining population rather than losing it, although the increase was a slender 0.1 percent, or 33,000 people, said the annual USDA report Rural America at a Glance.