USDA

USDA boosts forecast for wheat production

Jun 12, 2017
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday boosted its forecast for wheat production.

As Reuters reports, the USDA raised its forecast for overall winter wheat production from 1.246 billion bushels to 1.250 billion bushels

The report was expected to reflect a decrease in overall production to 1.239 billion bushels.

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Increased income limits through U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development may increase opportunities for rural families to own their own home.

As the High Plains Journal reports, the USDA announced the new 2017 income limits for its direct and guaranteed home ownership loan programs that may make more households eligible to obtain 100 percent financing.

President Donald Trump spent the campaign pledging to revive rural communities, where many voters have felt ignored by previous administrations. But after announcing staffing changes and budget plans that would make cuts to programs aimed at rural areas, critics are questioning whether the White House remains committed to that goal.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Several farm groups are opposing a reorganization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Bob, Robbie and Leah Maass ready equipment for planting season on their farm near Ellsworth, Iowa.Credit AMY MAYER / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIAEdit | Remove

Three months after his nomination, Sonny Perdue faces a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate Monday for the post of secretary of agriculture.

Andrew Harrer / The Washington Post

Sonny Perdue, Donald Trump’s appointee to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture, faced some tough questions last week during his confirmation hearing.

Farm and rural advocacy groups say cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would harm rural communities, at a time when many of them need an infusion of cash.

In what’s being called a “skinny budget” because it sets an outline and contains scant details, Trump’s proposal calls for a 21 percent reduction in the USDA’s annual discretionary spending, and lays out rationales for why some programs are either eliminated or scaled back, calling some “duplicative,” or “underperforming.”

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Ag experts are expecting a revised farm bill this year, as a new administration takes control in Washington.

As Politico has noted, employees from the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation have begun to exert heavy influence over the young administration.

Feed & Grain

Many in the ag sector were cheered by Donald Trump’s selection of former Georgia Governor sonny Perdue to head the USDA. But now, as The Guardian reports, there is growing concern that Perdue will focus on global agribusiness to the detriment of American family farms.

Perdue’s history suggests he will prioritize the exporting of commodity crops for global markets. But this presents a couple of questions.

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Some regulatory freezes instituted by President Donald Trump could be damaging to the country’s farm belt, according to some agricultural groups.

As Reuters reports, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will delay implementation of this year’s biofuels requirements along with 29 other regulations finalized in the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, according to a government notice, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will delay rules affecting livestock.

Bruce Tuten / Wikimedia Commons

After a long wait that caused no shortage of nervous fidgeting among the ag sector, Donald Trump has finally selected a candidate for Secretary of Agriculture.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Soon-to-be-former Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will join team dairy after he leaves his position as secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As Politico reports, Vilsack will become president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

President-elect Donald Trump appears to be closing in on a choice to head the Agriculture Department in his administration—and a few Texans are at the top of the list.

As Politico reports, Trump will meet with Former Texas A&M University President Elsa Murano today at the president-elect’s Florida resort, known as Mar-a-Lago. Trump also plans to speak tomorrow with controversial Texas ag commissioner Sid Miller.

More urban farms sprouting with USDA's help

Dec 29, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Farming, a largely rural activity, is moving to the cities, as urban farms continue to grow with help from the federal government.

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons

Donald Trump’s search for a Secretary of Agriculture is drawing criticism from some important contingents within the ag sector. As Politico reports, it’s been six weeks since the election and Trump has yet to name his nominee for the position.

Trump spent a good deal of time during the election building a relationship with agribusiness representatives, but some of his potential choices for the USDA position have begun to fracture that relationship.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Controversial federal rules that would change the production of organic meat may not be finalized before President Barack Obama leaves office, leaving open the possibility that they may never go into effect.

Eric Gregory / Journal Star

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2016 Farm numbers were released last week. As Farm Futures reports, farm income for 2016 is forecast to drop by almost 15% from last year’s levels. This is the third straight year net cash farm income has dropped. Most of the income decrease can be attributed to a drop in income from livestock and animal products.  

Travis Morrisse / Hutchinson News/AP photo

Beleaguered outgoing Kansas congressman Tim Huelskamp says a person closely associated with president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has contacted him about the possibility of becoming Agriculture Secretary in the new administration.

The world wheat market is showing signs of life, despite recent struggles.

Michael Flippo / Thinkstock

The United States Department of Agriculture is releasing up to five million dollars in grants to help create or strengthen farm-to-school programs, reports FarmFutures.com.

The competitive grants are part of a federal initiative further to increase foods from local farms and ranches in America’s school meals.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The country’s top agriculture official, Tom Vilsack, is declining to comment on some of the largest  mergers the farm economy has ever seen.

agpolicy.org

The US Department of Agriculture has been touting the recent expansion of the meat trade in the US. But the agency has only been highlighting the positives of the trade increase. As The Rural Blog reports, the nation has been importing more beef than it exports in recent months. In a recent column, two professors from the University of Tennessee said they understand that the USDA may want to put a positive spin on the situation.

USDA.gov

The US Department of Agriculture has launched a new fund that will invest millions in rural agriculture businesses, reports The Rural Blog. The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund has the potential to pour as much as $100 million into rural food and agriculture. The fund also has high growth potential, the USDA said in a press release.

USDA Continues to Invest in Ogallala Relief

Nov 16, 2015
ne.water.usgs.gov

The US Department of Agriculture will invest $8 million next year toward helping farmers and ranchers conserve water from the Ogallala Aquifer, while still maintaining and strengthening agricultural operations, reports Agri-Pulse.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced a new website last week to help new and young farmers, reports The Rural Blog. Chris Clayton of DTN/The Progressive Farmer explains: "The site has links for new farmers, women in ag, youth and military veterans to detail some considerations farmers need to think about when going into farming. The site provides different topics or issues a person needs to consider when getting into farming.

USDA

From Harvest Public Media:

Updated at 11:30 a.m. with comment from USDA

A senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a whistleblower complaint on Wednesday accusing the federal agency of suppressing research findings that could call into question the use of a popular pesticide class that is a revenue powerhouse for the agrichemical industry.

Farm Incomes Decline in 2015

Sep 9, 2015
Let Ideas Compete / Flickr Creative Commons

Net farm incomes in 2015 will be down 36 percent from last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. That’s the sharpest drop since 1983, notes The Rural Blog.

Farm income hit a record high in 2013. But since then, it’s dropped by 53 percent. Livestock income is also expected to fall 10 percent from last year. The USDA "expects growers to accelerate sales of 2015 crops this year to help generate more cash."

When it comes to crops, corn is thirstiest

Feb 17, 2015
USDA

Agriculture drinks up 80 percent of the freshwater in America every year.  Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports just how much that is, for what crops, and at what cost reports the National Geographic.

The latest survey shows corn is still king, using 14 percent more irrigation than the last report. 

Courtesy of wikipedia

Harvest Public Media was created four years ago to report on agriculture and food production in the geographic area where the majority of that takes place – the Midwest. This year, my third of counting the top ag stories of the year, I find that the issues taking center stage were set not here, but in the politics, policies and processes of Washington D.C., state legislatures or the ballot box.

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