A USDA report released March 20 finds that consolidation is rampant across agricultural sectors, affecting nearly all crops and most livestock.
A growing number of farmers and rural advocates say President Trump's trade and rural infrastructure proposals would further damage the struggling farm economy, despite his vow to boost rural America through renewed investment.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue plans to be at the Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner in Des Moines this evening to give the oath of office to Undersecretary Bill Northey, who will oversee the crop subsidy, crop insurance and land stewardship programs. He will be fifth Trump nominee to go to work at USDA out of 13 senior positions subject to presidential nomination and Senate confirmation. "I expect to see him on Wednesday," said Deputy Secretary Steve Censky during remarks at a school nutrition conference. Censky is in charge of day-to-day operation of the USDA.
Senators needed only 75 seconds to confirm Bill Northey by voice vote as the No 3. USDA official, ending a four-month delay tied to a fight over the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The USDA official in charge of public nutrition told openly skeptical anti-hunger activists that the administration's proposed Harvest Box of processed and canned food would be a more efficient way to feed poor Americans than food stamps. To an undercurrent of dissent, Brandon Lipps said the boxes of food could be delivered to tens of millions of residences each month "with billion of dollars in savings" compared to current system of food stamp recipients buying groceries from local stores.
The Agriculture and Health departments said they will decide the issues that will be discussed by experts in updating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, precluding divisive topics such as meat consumption and long-term availability of food that delayed the 2015-2020 edition for months. Released every five years, the guidelines have a major impact on what the country eats, although three-fourth of Americans don't eat as much fruit or vegetables as recommended.
At the annual USDA Ag Outlook Forum, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue doubled down on his support for the recently proposed “Harvest Box” food stamp program. Perdue provided some elaboration on his vision for the program but offered little evidence of growing support. (No paywall)
At a USDA event for Black History Month last week, Rosetta Davis took the stage to describe her experiences of sexual harassment and retaliation during her 16 years working for the agency.
The chairwoman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during the closing years of the George W Bush administration, Naomi Earp, is President Trump's choice for assistant secretary for civil rights at the USDA, announced the White House.