House sends bipartisan farm labor bill to Senate
On a strong 260-165 vote, the House passed a bipartisan bill on Wednesday to give legal status to undocumented farmworkers and modernize the H-2A guestworker program. Lead sponsor Rep. Zoe Lofgren said that although action in the Republican-controlled Senate is not certain, “there is an interest” in assuring a reliable farm workforce.
Keep trade war payments flowing, say ag bankers
The Trump administration has sent $10.5 billion in cash to producers since mid-August to mitigate the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade war, aid that comes on top of $8.6 billion paid for 2018 crops and livestock. “Yes, [the payments] are helpful,” said a Kansas banker on Wednesday — and the government should keep writing the checks.
Are there ‘forever chemicals’ in the nation’s milk supply?
When a dairy farm in New Mexico was shut down last year due to contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of chemicals that have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems as well as cancer, it revealed how little federal and state regulators know about the presence of these chemicals in our food supply, according to the latest story, published with HuffPost.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Iowa farmland slides again (CARD): Trade disruptions and stagnant commodity prices pulled Iowa farmland values down for the fourth time in five years, dropping the average price of farmland in the No. 1 corn state to $7,264 an acre.
More time for aid signup (USDA): Due to the “prolonged and extensive impacts” of bad weather, the deadline to sign up for trade war payments through the Market Facilitation Program and for dairy subsidies through the Dairy Margin Coverage program was extended to Dec. 20.
Farms expand in arid Arizona (Arizona Republic): Agricultural empires are pumping millions of gallons of water from beneath the sere landscape of Arizona, and this “free-for-all is draining away the water that homeowners also depend on, leaving some with dry wells.”
Arctic crosses a threshold (Washington Post): Federal scientists say that the Arctic is moving into a new climate state that will include far less ice and a vast increase in the release of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost.
China buys more U.S. soy (USDA): With a deadline looming for additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese consumer goods, U.S. exporters reported the sale of 585,000 tonnes of soybeans worth $192 million for delivery to China in coming months.