EPA Issues Biofuel Mandate – December 20, 2019

EPA issues biofuel mandate, is accused of breaking a deal on ethanol


Less than two weeks before the new year, the EPA said it modified the Renewable Fuel Standard to ensure that “a net of 15 billion gallons” of corn ethanol is blended into gasoline in 2020. But ethanol makers and farm groups were skeptical.


Lawsuit alleges turkey companies conspired to keep prices high


A new class-action lawsuit brought by two food distributors alleges that the country’s top turkey companies conspired for most of the past decade to raise turkey prices. The allegations mirror those brought in recent years against beef, pork, and chicken companies, and all revolve around the use of reports made by a secretive data company called Agri Stats. 


Ten pesticides approved for use on industrial hemp

With the 2020 growing season on the horizon, the EPA announced on Thursday the approval of 10 pesticides for use on industrial hemp, the first such products cleared for hemp.


Here are the rural residents who sued the world’s largest hog producer over waste and odors – and won

Mostly black rural residents in North Carolina took on the hog industry’s biggest producer, Smithfield, and won multimillion-dollar verdicts against pollution, reports Barry Yeoman in the latest story, published with The Nation. But Yeoman notes that these judgments are far from certain, as an appeal gets underway early next year.

Why don’t we know how much livestock farms pollute the air?

America’s thousands of confinement livestock operations pollute the air every day with chemicals like ammonia, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. Yet no one tracks exactly how much air pollution these farms produce, according to another new story, published with The Nation.



House sends USMCA to Senate (Ag Insider): The House passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on a bipartisan 385-41 vote and sent the “new NAFTA” to the Senate for final congressional approval, expected early next year. The trade pact preserves duty-free access to Canada and Mexico for most U.S. farm exports and is forecast to bring marginal increases in export sales.


Trump endorses Van Drew (Ag Insider): House Agriculture Committee member Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey announced he was switching political affiliation to Republican during a White House meeting with President Trump, who endorsed Van Drew for re-election.


Reduced animal oversight at USDA (Washington Post): USDA has been issuing fewer citations to the 10,000 zoos, circuses, and other animal facilities that it oversees; former employees say the more lax approach is putting animals at risk.


Farm bill turns 1 (Senate Ag): On the first anniversary of enactment of the 2018 farm bill, the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee pointed to provisions that strengthened crop insurance and agricultural research programs, created a vaccine bank against epidemic livestock diseases, and greatly expanded funding for deployment of broadband service in rural America.


Chile accuses feed firms of price-fixing (Undercurrent): Antitrust officials in Chile are seeking fines of $70 million apiece from three salmon-feed suppliers for price-fixing from 2013-15; a Cargill subsidiary would be exempted from fines because it acted as a whistleblower.


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