“Plussing Up” Needed – June 19, 2019

Some ‘plussing up’ needed before White House seeks USMCA vote

U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said he was in discussions with House Democrats about “plussing up” the new NAFTA and shied away on Tuesday from suggesting when the White House will ask for a vote on it.

Environmental groups sue to challenge North Carolina right-to-farm expansion

The suit takes on two state laws, passed in 2017 and 2018, that limit residents’ ability to file nuisance suits against large-scale livestock farms and the claims that plaintiffs can bring in such suits.

In slow planting year, corn yield could plummet by 21 percent

The U.S. corn crop could dwindle to an average 135 bushels an acre, “a yield loss similar to the drought of 2012,” because of rain-delayed planting this spring, said an Iowa State University economist.


Treat a fruit fly infestation with…more flies (New Food Economy): A USDA program that dumps millions of sterile male fruit flies into the Florida skies has a counter intuitive goal: cut down on the number of flies threatening the state’s produce harvest.

Freeze and bargain on USDA relocation (The Hagstrom Report): The American Federation of Government Employees sent USDA a “notice of its demand to bargain” on the proposed relocation of two USDA research agencies to Kansas City, with a freeze on all individual relocation decisions until negotiations are completed.

Rupe tapped to lead USDA agency (White House): President Trump said he intends to appoint Chad Rupe as administrator of USDA’s Rural Utility Service; he has been acting administrator since April 30.

First-ever food policy for Canada (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada):  Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the first federal food policy for Canada, with steps that include better access to healthy food, a reduction in food waste, promotion of Canadian foods and first steps toward a national school food program.

Shrimp farming in Illinois (Farm Journal): Southern Illinois farmer Grover Webb believes in diversity of production, so nearly two decades ago, he added shrimp to the corn, soybeans, cattle and specialty crops he raises.

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