USDA takes an earlier look at the long-term crop forecast
Almost unnoticed, the USDA has shifted to an earlier reference point for an arcane but important document that helps shape the federal budget and provides a first look at the likely size of next year’s crops.
Multiple lawsuits allege price-fixing by big beef companies
Just a few months after news broke that the U.S. Justice Department was investigating Big Chicken for alleged antitrust violations, similar allegations are piling up against Big Beef. Consumers, ranchers, and a meat distributor have now filed lawsuits alleging that the country’s biggest beef companies have broken antitrust law by conspiring to raise the price of beef and lower the amount paid to producers.
Senate approves $5 million for ‘heirs’ property’ initiative
On a 90-1 roll call, senators voted on Monday to provide $5 million for a USDA “re-lending” program to resolve ownership of so-called heirs’ property, an issue that has vexed black farmers for generations. Alabama Sen. Doug Jones said the issue, which has led to forced sales of land, was “yet another vestige of the Jim Crow era that has lasted far too long and we must correct.”
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
USDA to issue industrial hemp rule (Marijuana Moment): The USDA is expected to issue a regulation on the cultivation of industrial hemp Tuesday. It will begin approval of state regulatory plans and “provide clarity on a wide range of hemp-specific policies such as THC potency testing guidelines and quality control standards.”
Phase one of the China trade agreement? (White House): U.S. and China are “probably ahead of schedule” in drafting a phase-one trade agreement that would resolve a “very big portion” of the trade war and take care of farmers, said President Trump.
House panel to vote on CFTC reauthorization (Agriculture Committee): The House Agriculture Committee will vote on a bill to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the federal overseer of the futures industry, on Wednesday. The draft bill is available here.
USDA withdraws animal ID plan (Drovers): The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has withdrawn a plan to phase in the use of electronic ID tags for cattle and bison.