Wary Democrats slow path for USDA civil rights nominee
The Senate Agriculture Committee cleared three USDA nominees for a floor vote on Wednesday, but significant Democratic opposition could prevent a confirmation vote this year on Naomi Earp, President Trump’s pick to be the agency’s assistant secretary for civil rights.
Trade war side effect: Smallest ag trade surplus in 12 years
Although ag exports are consistently larger than ag imports, that trade surplus is forecast to narrow to $14.5 billion in fiscal 2019, which would be the smallest surplus since the $12.2 billion of 2007, say USDA economists.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Dicamba a menace for honeybees (St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Beekeeper and apiary expert Ray Nabors describes the weedkiller dicamba, notorious for vaporizing and drifting off target, as “the absolute worst” problem for the pollinators because “it’s going to kill everything that puts on a flower that bees can eat.”
Bloomberg backs off criticism of ethanol (New York Post): Billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg reversed his criticism of ethanol during a visit to Iowa, site of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, saying the biofuel “is going to be part of the mix for a long time.”
Wisconsin option: Dairy supply management (Brownfield Ag News): Delegates to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s annual meeting passed a resolution calling for consideration of dairy supply management as the remedy for low prices and the loss of dairy farms in “America’s Dairyland.”
Use free market to reduce runoff (EPA): In a letter to state regulators, the EPA and USDA called for a reinvigoration of efforts to reduce excessive nutrient runoff from agricultural lands by focusing on market-based and collaborative approaches to the problem.
Tech firms tackle food waste (Financial Times): Tech start-ups are helping to move food from the farm to the consumer more efficiently in an effort to reduce the huge amount of food, worth an estimated $1.2 trillion, that is discarded worldwide annually.
D.C. school food goes green (Good Food Cities): The Washington public school district will be the fifth in the country, and the first on the East Coast, to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Plan, which promotes more sustainable food buying.
Another suit against Trump’s USDA (Food & Water Watch): A coalition of food, farm, and sustainability groups filed suit against the USDA, challenging a policy that allows medium-sized CAFOs to receive government-backed loans without undergoing review of their impact on local residents.
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