Relocation at hand, USDA research agency staff votes to unionize
Employees of the Economic Research Service voted in a landslide to unionize on Thursday in balloting that was an unofficial referendum on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s plan to move the agency out of Washington in the coming months. A vote on unionization is set for June at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, also slated for relocation.
Don’t look for farm bailout by Congress, warns Peterson
On Thursday, hours before the second-largest U.S. farm group said producers “are in desperate need of a lifeboat to keep them afloat,” the House Agriculture chairman said that fiscal constraints would preclude Congress from a multibillion-dollar bailout for farmers.
The greatest ag risk, say some bankers, is an adverse trade outcome
Farm income weakened in much of the Midwest and Plains during the opening months of this year, said reports from regional Federal Reserve banks on Thursday, with ag bankers telling the St. Louis Fed that an adverse trade outcome is clearly the most significant threat to agriculture in 2019. On Friday, the Trump administration increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Pence: Farm aid possible if trade war continues (Ag Insider): Vice President Mike Pence, while visiting a farm in Minnesota, said, “We have already had preliminary discussions in the White House for additional support for farmers if this impasse with China continues.”
Trump opposes disaster bill (FERN’s Ag Insider): The president said on social media that House Republicans “should not vote for the BAD DEMOCRAT” disaster bill scheduled for a vote on Friday. The $17.2-billion bill includes more than $3 billion in agricultural relief but more money for hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico than Trump wants.
Where have all the cut flowers gone? (National Journal): U.S. flower growers, through their trade group Certified American Grown, have asked the “America First” Trump administration to display U.S.-grown flowers, rather than imports, at the White House.
Faux-burgers shake a U.S. dining icon (Axios): The hamburger may be an American institution, but it is now sharing space at fast-food chains with plant-based burgers. Perhaps, says one observer, millennials, with their love of the story behind food, will rescue it.
Rural obesity outweighs urban rate (Washington Post): The global rise in obesity is driven more by weight gain in rural areas than urban ones, say researchers, who report that 55 percent of the worldwide increase in body mass index in the past three decades came from rural populations.