Trump-backed legal group sues for debt relief – April 28, 2021

Trump-backed legal group sues for debt relief for white farmers

With Texas agriculture commissioner Sid Miller as the plaintiff, a Trump-aligned legal group on Tuesday challenged the $4 billion debt-relief plan approved by Congress for Black and minority farmers, saying it was unconstitutional. “Americans of all races and ethnicities must have the opportunity to receive” USDA loan forgiveness, said America First Legal Foundation in announcing the suit.

Senate Republicans question USDA funds for climate mitigation

President Biden lacks authority to tap a $30 billion USDA fund to pay for climate mitigation, said two senior Republican senators on Tuesday, potentially limiting the administration’s role in combating global warming on the farm. Suggestions for a “carbon bank” at USDA to help farmers and foresters adopt climate-smart practices hinge on access to the fund held by an agency known as “USDA’s bank.”

Today’s Quick Hits

Moffitt nominated for USDA: President Biden tabbed Jennifer Moffitt, a California state agriculture official who grew up on an organic walnut farm, to serve as agriculture undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, one of nine subcabinet posts at the USDA. (White House)

EPA deputy administrator: On a 52-42 roll call, senators confirmed Janet McCabe as EPA deputy administrator. She worked on EPA regulations during the Obama era to reduce carbon emissions by power plants. (Senate)

Klamath water dispute: The Interior Department, which slashed water deliveries to farmers for irrigation due to drought in the Pacific Northwest, says the Klamath Drainage District unlawfully diverted water to farmers and warned of legal action if it did not stop. (The Counter)

Ag journalist of the year: Bart Bfankuch and Nick Lowrey of South Dakota News Watch, a nonprofit news site, were the joint winners of the writer of the year award from the North American Agricultural Journalists for coverage of the impact of the pandemic on the agricultural industry. (NAAJ)

Nutrition aid record: USDA spending on public nutrition, from food stamps to school meals, skyrocketed by 30 percent to a record $122 billion last year in response to the pandemic. (Economic Research Service)

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