Midwest Considered for USDA Agencies – March 13, 2019

Headed for the Heartland? Midwest, Plains dominate USDA semifinal list

A day after asking for $25 million in moving money, the USDA said on Tuesday that at least 67 sites, predominantly in the Midwest and Plains, are being considered for the new homes of two Washington-based research agencies. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue insists he has the power to move the agencies despite resistance from lawmakers.

With summer near, EPA sets short comment period on E15 sales

The EPA intends to approve the year-round sale of E15 in time for the summer driving season, said administrator Andrew Wheeler on Tuesday. In proposing an end to the ban on summertime sales, the EPA set a 45-day comment period on its proposal.


Puerto Rico slashes food stamp benefits (Washington Post): Authorities on the island have cut benefits by an average of 25 percent for 677,000 recipients while hoping for additional federal funding. Enrollment surged after Hurricane Maria, but the program is funded each year by a block grant.

FDA interim leader named (CNBC): Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, will become acting FDA commissioner when Scott Gottlieb leaves next month, said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Johanns tabbed for MCC (White House): President Trump named former agriculture secretary Michael Johanns to the board of the Millennium Challenge Corp., an independent U.S. foreign aid agency that encourages economic growth and fights poverty.

Trade war hits rural counties hardest (University of California): The trade war cost the U.S. economy $7.8 billion in 2018, with the greatest impact on rural agricultural counties, say researchers from four universities.

‘Major issues’ in trade talks (New York Times): U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer told senators that he hopes U.S.-Chinese trade negotiations are in their final weeks, though he conceded that “major issues” remain. “We’re either going to have a good result or we’re going to have a bad result before too long,” he said.

A new ag buzzword (Grist): “Regenerative” is increasingly cropping up as an agricultural adjective, though it seems to mean different things to different people. But one aspect of its meaning is widely agreed-upon: removing carbon from the air and locking it in the soil.

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