As soggy fields prevent planting, U.S. corn production set to drop 5 percent
The USDA projected a corn crop that is 5 percent smaller than last year, foiling May predictions of the second-largest crop ever. In one month, the outlook for corn shrank by 1.4 billion bushels.
NIFA employees vote to unionize by large margin
Eligible workers at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture voted Tuesday, 137 to 2, to join the American Federation of Government Employees. The unionization drive began after Secretary Sonny Perdue announced last August that two USDA agencies, NIFA and ERS, would be moved out of Washington.
First the Trump tariff payments and then the trade deals, says president
The government will send billions of dollars in trade-war payments to farmers over the next two months or so, said President Trump in Iowa on Tuesday, with the promise of booming business with China, Japan and Mexico in the near future.
White House calls for light regulation of low-risk gene-edited crops and livestock
The USDA, EPA and FDA, were ordered by President Trump on Tuesday to modernize their handling of agricultural biotechnology, both to assure U.S. preeminence in the field and a safe food supply for a growing population.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
U.S. behind on pesticide oversight (Environmental Health): A new study finds that the U.S. lags behind the EU, Brazil, and China in regulating harmful pesticides, and has made pesticide regulation “largely an exercise that requires consent by the regulated industry.”
Why does processed food hurt our health? (Vox): A new study suggests that highly processed foods may disrupt our gut microbiome, which may then heighten our risk of chronic disease.
High waters close the Missouri (Iowa Public Radio): The Missouri River remains closed to boat and barge traffic as well as recreation, due to unusually high waters.
And more water means more dredging in the Mississippi (La Crosse Tribune): The Army Corps of Engineers is planning for a higher-than-usual dredging season, anticipating that more water moving downriver will bring more sediment that needs to be moved.
Inmate labor in the field (The Conversation): As farmers run short of migrant workers, states are increasingly leasing prisoners, in numbers not seen in decades, to private corporations to harvest food for American consumers.