Drop in Production, Rural Broadband – November 26, 2018

Hotter and drier, with a drop in production, is the future of U.S. agriculture

Climate change will bring higher temperatures and more frequent drought to farmers across the United States, resulting in reduced crop and livestock yields, according to the National Climate Assessment that was released over the weekend.

USDA’s rural broadband plan met with citizen criticism

rural broadband


Slow speeds, bad coverage and expensive service. These are just some of the concerns contained in nearly 300 public comments on the Rural Broadband Pilot Program proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found.

White House delays farm bill in fight over forests, says senator

Three weeks remain in the lame-duck session and farm bill negotiators are at odds over the forestry title of the farm bill despite hopes of enacting the bill this year.


Hyde-Smith and the Confederacy (CNN): Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who attended a segregational academy as a child, promoted a revisionist view of the Civil War as a state senator, says CNN’s KFile.

Soybeans pile up (International Grains Council): The world soybean inventory is forecast to grow 30 percent by the end of the 2018/19 trade year on “prospects of heavy accumulation in the United States” due to trade war with China, says the monthly Grain Market Report.

Pressure on beef prices (USDA): A large cattle supply will mean no more than marginal increases in beef prices this year and in 2019, helping to continue a streak of lower-than-normal food price inflation that began in 2015.

First federal charges for dicamba misuse (Harvest Public Media): A corn and soybean farmer in southeastern Missouri is the first in the nation to face federal charges alleging misuse of the weedkiller dicamba — 49 counts of misapplication of the herbicide and three counts of obstruction of justice for lying about it.

Romaine off the shelves in Canada (Glacier FarmMedia): Several major grocery chains in Canada are taking romaine lettuce off their shelves following reports of food-borne illnesses in three provinces; the action parallels an outbreak of food illness in the United State that officials say is likely linked to romaine lettuce.


– President Trump speaks at election-eve rallies for Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in Tupelo at 4 p.m. CT, and in Biloxi at 8 p.m. CT. Hyde-Smith is in a runoff with Democrat Mike Espy, agriculture secretary during the Clinton era.

– Senate is scheduled to vote today at 5:30 p.m. whether to limit debate on the nomination of Stephen Vaden for general counsel — the top lawyer — at USDA. A controversial nominee from the start, Vaden was part of the Trump transition team at USDA in 2017 and effectively has been USDA’s lead lawyer for months in his appointed position as principal deputy general counsel. Vaden has enforced unpopular workplace rules at USDA. In private practice, he was part of a team of lawyers who filed friend-of-the-court briefs in Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia in defense of voter ID laws. The Senate Agriculture Committee cleared the nomination for a floor vote in early December 2017. Action on it languished due to quiet Democratic opposition.

– Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue meet community leaders, firefighters and survivors of the Camp Fire, which destroyed Paradise, California, and tour the damage, 1:45 p.m. PT. Forest Service chief Vicki Christiansen and Rep. Doug LaMalfa, a California Republican, also participate. Last week, USDA said SNAP recipients can buy hot food with their benefits if they live in 14 California counties hit by wildfires.

– USDA releases final Crop Progress report of the year, 4 p.m. ET.

– Runoff Senate election in Mississippi between appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Democrat Mike Espy, agriculture secretary during the Clinton era. They were the top finishers among four candidates in a nonpartisan special election on Nov. 6. Because no one got a majority of the vote, the runoff was mandatory. Polling places are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. CT.

– Farm Progress hosts Tech Forum 2018, through Wednesday, Iowa City.

– International Forum on Food and Nutrition, through Wednesday, Milan.

– Senate Agriculture Committee holds confirmation hearing for Mindy Brashears, nominated for agriculture undersecretary for food safety; Scott Hutchins, nominated for undersecretary for research; and Naomi Earp, nominated for assistant secretary for civil rights, 9:30 a.m. ET, 328A Russell.

– Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, “Addressing America’s surface transportation infrastructure needs.”

– Association of Equipment Manufacturers hosts annual conference, through Friday, Palm Beach.

– USDA releases quarterly forecast of U.S. ag exports, 3 p.m. ET. At present, exports are forecast for $144.5 billion in fiscal 2019, the second-highest on record and $500 million more than in 2018. The Aug. 30 forecast said China, often the No. 1 customer for U.S. ag exports, would drop to fifth place due to the trade war, with purchases of $12 billion compared to $19 billion in 2018 and $21.8 in 2017. Canada, Mexico, the EU and Japan, in that order, would be the leaders.

– Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds confirmation hearing on Alexandra Dunn, nominated for assistant EPA administrator.

– USDA releases monthly Agricultural Prices report.

– Consumer Federation of America hosts annual Financial Services Conference, through Friday, Washington.

– USDA releases updated estimate of U.S. farm income, 11 a.m. ET. The previous forecast, on Aug. 30, was net farm income of $65.7 billion in 2018, higher than expected but the second-lowest since $57.4 billion in 2006. The Economic Research Service will hold a webinar on its estimate at 1 p.m.

– Statutory deadline for EPA to finalize the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2019. In June, it proposed an overall RFS of 19.88 billion gallons, up 3 percent from this year and composed of 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and 4.88 billion gallons of advanced biofuels. Advanced biofuels would include 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel and 381 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol.

– Group of 20 major economies hosts annual summit, through Saturday, Buenos Aires. President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China are expected to discuss trade issues on the sidelines of the meeting.

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