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Federal News

US eases land restrictions meant to protect Sage Grouse in West

AP News | Posted on March 20, 2019

 The Trump administration on Friday finalized changes to sweeping federal land use plans for the West, easing restrictions on energy companies and other industries in a way officials said would still protect a struggling bird species. The Trump administration on Friday finalized changes to sweeping federal land use plans for the West, easing restrictions on energy companies and other industries in a way officials said would still protect a struggling bird species.

Brazil move opens door to U.S. wheat imports

Capital Press | Posted on March 20, 2019

A new agreement between the U.S. and Brazil means U.S. wheat farmers will compete on a level playing field to sell their crop to that South American nation. U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers welcomed the news that Brazil has agreed to a duty-free tariff rate quota for wheat, a longstanding obligation under that nation’s World Trade Organization commitments.The agreement opens an annual opportunity for U.S. wheat farmers to sell up to 750,000 metric tons — about 28 million bushels — of wheat tariff-free to Brazil under the TRQ, the two organizations said in a press release.

Supreme Court will take up immigration-related case next term

CNN | Posted on March 20, 2019

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear a case next term concerning Kansas' prosecution of three undocumented immigrants for using stolen Social Security numbers in an effort to gain employment.Those convictions were overturned when the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the federal immigration law at issue preempts a state from prosecuting undocumented immigrants, when the basis of the claim comes from information that has been culled from federal immigration forms.The case raises the question about the extent to which federal immigration law preempts states from also trying to enforce immigration law.

Trump sends US officials to investigate land expropriation in South Africa

Business Tech | Posted on March 20, 2019

A number of US officials visited South Africa at the request of President Donald Trump as part of an investigation into the country’s land expropriation process. Trump raised eyebrows in 2018 after he tweeted that the South African government was ‘seizing land from white farmers’.Trump asked his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to study the seizure and expropriation of land in South Africa, along with the killing of farmers.

USDA adds new website on pests and diseases

USDA | Posted on March 20, 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is launching a new “Pests and Diseases” webpage. The new page lists all pest and disease programs managed by APHIS as part of its mission to protect American agriculture and natural resources. On the new page, users can search by type (plant, animal), keyword (avian, fruit fly, cotton), or by the specific pest or disease (coconut rhinoceros beetle, brucellosis). You can also scroll through the page, which lists the pests and diseases alphabetically and includes a corresponding image.APHIS created the webpage to make it easier for its customers to find critical information on pests and diseases of concern. With this tool, members of the public will have the information they need to report pests and diseases and together we can protect America’s agriculture and natural resources.

US GDP will lose $290 billion due to tariffs

AEM | Posted on March 19, 2019

With tariffs continuing to take a toll on U.S. businesses, farmers, communities, and families across the country, a new report by IHS Markit outlines the impact of tariffs on the equipment manufacturing industry and the broader U.S. economy. “This report shows that tariffs continue to take a toll on U.S. equipment manufacturers, who will pay significantly more to manufacture equipment in the United States in the coming years,” said Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). “Tariffs on steel, aluminum, and Chinese imports, as well as the potential for additional tariffs, are driving up the cost of production, delaying capital investments, and impeding job creation for our more than 1,000 member companies.”

US seizes pork from China amid swine flu fears

The Hill | Posted on March 19, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have seized about 1 million pounds of pork imported from China amid concerns it could contain the African swine flu disease. Authorities seized the supplies over the last week in New York after the disease was found to have infected some Chinese pork products.

Trump’s proposed SNAP cuts could damage the economy. Here’s how.

The Washington Post | Posted on March 18, 2019

One thing you can say about any member of the Trump administration: They are consistent in their hatred of almost anyone who needs a financial helping hand. And they will pursue that hatred to the point of damaging the American economy. The Trump administration’s new budget, released Monday, includes staggering proposed cuts to social welfare programs and needs such as Medicare, Medicaid, housing and education. These cuts are not just mean, though they are indeed very, very mean. They are also a form of economic sabotage.Let’s use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps, to explain. The $17.4 billion the Trump administration proposes taking from the program in fiscal 2020, and the $220 billion it would cut over the next decade (a cut, by the way, of one-third), will leave many Americans scrambling for a way to feed themselves adequately. And it will, according to an analysis the Center for American Progress provided to The Post, also cost the economy jobs — lots of them. They estimate 200,000 positions in 2020 and as many as 2.8 million job-years over the next decade.

U.S. and EU Work out Deal on Beef

WNEX | Posted on March 18, 2019

The United States and European Union have reached an agreement in principle to allow U.S. farmers a share of the E.U.’s annual 45,000-ton quota for hormone-free beef imports. South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association President Steve Ollerich says that’s a good first step in possibly establishing more market share for U.S. beef in that market. He says a final trade agreement with the E.U. won’t come overnight.However, Ollerich says once the European consumers get a taste of U.S. beef, they’ll want even more of it.Negotiations to include the U.S. in the EU beef market started in September of last year as the Trump administration starting to work out a bi-lateral trade deal with the EU.

FDA Publishes Final Rule Extending Compliance Dates for Agricultural Water Provisions

FDA | Posted on March 18, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a rule to finalize the new compliance dates for the agricultural water requirements in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

Larger farms are now required to comply with the agricultural water requirements by January 26, 2022, while small farms have until January 26, 2023 and very small farms until January 26, 2024. This rule does not change the compliance dates for sprout operations.These compliance dates have been extended while the FDA considers how best to protect public health while addressing widespread concerns about the complexity of the agricultural water requirements and the practicality of implementing them across a wide variety of farms, water sources and uses. The FDA intends to use this time to work with stakeholders to address these concerns.