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Dow DuPont merger acquisition
The European Union has approved the Dow DuPont merger after the companies agreed to sell substantial assets including key research and development activities. Continue reading

Singapore
Singapore will push forward to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a change from other nations taking a wait and see approach after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the trade agreement. Continue reading

president
President Donald Trump Monday signed a congressional resolution directing the Bureau of Land Management to repeal their Planning 2.0 Rule. The resolution was supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Farm Bureau, and others. The American Farm Bureau had suggested the rule, which was finalized in December, would negatively impact federal lands use. Ethan Lane, executive director of the Public Lands Council, applauded the action and called it a significant victory for western ranchers. He says the rule would have caused a wholesale shift in management focus at BLM by prioritizing social and environmental change over ensuring the multiple use of public lands. Lane says the Public Lands Council looks forward “to working with the new Administration to bring together a streamlined planning process that works for livestock ranchers and the western communities that depend on the use of BLM lands.”

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.

meat importsBans on meat imports from Brazil following the announced investigation into alleged bribery over meat safety issues were short-lived as China, Chile and Egypt have resumed imports from Brazil. Continue reading

Argentina
Mexico is mulling over drafting trade agreements that offer Brazil and Argentina duty-free access to the Mexican market for corn. Continue reading

repairA battle is brewing in at least eight states over “right-to-repair” legislation. Tractors have gone high tech and often require software downloads to aid in the repair process. Continue reading

study
A recent study by the Organic Trade Association finds that 82 percent of U.S. households in the lower 48 states buy organic products regularly. The Association says those findings build a strong case for continued U.S. Department of Agriculture funding under incoming secretary Sonny Perdue. Laura Batcha (Bat-cha), CEO and Executive Director of the Association, says, “The organic community is looking forward to working with new leadership coming into the USDA.” She says they’re looking forward to showing how important adequate funding is to keep a strong organic program moving forward and to help organic become a part of healthy diets across the country. Continue reading


Two of the bigger Agriculture groups are divided on the Republican plan (American Health Care Act) to replace the Affordable Care Act. Politico’s Morning Agriculture report says American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall sent a letter to Congress asking House members to pass H.R. 1628. Duvall said Farm Bureau believes the primary responsibility for health care lies with individuals. Continue reading

NPPC
Citing grave concerns that they would “cause serious harm to the pork industry,” the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in comments submitted said the U.S. Department of Agriculture should not finalize – or at least exempt pork producers from – regulations related to the buying and selling of livestock.

According to NPPC, the so-called Farmer Fair Practices Rules – an interim final rule and a proposed regulation – would “enable a torrent of lawsuits against members of the pork industry,” replace carefully negotiated contracts with standard terms that are unworkable, ignore crucial differences among the various sectors of the meat industry and raise serious constitutional concerns under the First Amendment.” The regulations were issued in the last weeks of the Obama administration by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). Continue reading

sustainable water research
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced $34 million in available funding for projects that promote sustainable water use for food production, processing, and other competing uses. Funding is made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Continue reading

Yara
Yara’s West Sacramento Terminal was officially welcomed Tuesday as the newest Yara North America facility in the U.S. While continually operational since Yara purchased the West Sacramento facility from Agrium in December 2015, this event acknowledged the transition of the terminal to a fully integrated Yara site.

Immediately after acquiring the facility, Yara converted the former UAN production plant into an import terminal for UAN and urea, which it receives from the U.S. and overseas. Most recent improvements include completely reskinning the 29,000 MT urea warehouse, utilizing energy-efficient translucent panels to allow natural light to enter. Continue reading


Fresno State and the University of São Paulo have agreed to an official memorandum of agreement to broaden their cooperative agriculture student, faculty and staff exchange programs.

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro and Dr. Sandra Witte, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State, signed the agreement on campus March 1 with three University of São Paulo leaders: Dr. Raul Machado Neto, provost for international affairs; Dr. Luiz Gustavo Nussio, agriculture dean, and Dr. Durval Dourado Neto, agriculture vice dean. Continue reading

agro-terrorism house
The U.S. House this week passed the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, agro-terrorism preparedness legislation that’s also up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. The bill passed the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 406-6. Continue reading

Brazil
Amid a meat safety issue in Brazil and a trade priorities list from President Trump, some groups are calling for the reconsideration of country-of-origin meat labeling. COOL was repealed by Congress in late 2015 when the World Trade Organization authorized retaliatory measures against the U.S. because of the legislation. Continue reading

senate
Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue appears to have won over the Senate Agriculture Committee and is headed for confirmation by the full Senate, after the committee votes to move Perdue forward. Continue reading

by Richard Volpe, Annemarie Kuhns, and Ted Jaenicke
USDA Economic Research Service

What Is the Issue?

store formatsAmericans are buying more and more of their “food at home,” or groceries, from stores that are not conventional supermarkets. According to Nielsen Homescan data, U.S. households spent 80 percent of their grocery dollars at traditional supermarkets in 1999 but only 62 percent there in 2010. Over the past 20 years, a number of non-traditional store formats—including supercenters (such as Wal-Mart), dollar stores, and club stores—have gained market share and prominence in the food retail landscape. Whether traditional or nontraditional, store formats differ in prices, product assortment, advertising strategies, and location, and each of these characteristics can affect consumers’ food choices. This report broadly outlines the associations between store format choices and food-purchasing decisions, accounting for the role of demographics. Continue reading

by Katherine Ralston, Elizabeth Beaulieu, Jeffrey Hyman, Matthew Benson, and Michael Smith
USDA Economic Research Service

What Is the Issue?

local foods
USDA’s Farm to School Program was established in 2012 to improve access to local foods in eligible schools through grants and technical assistance. Farm-to-school programs bring locally or regionally produced foods into school cafeterias; provide hands-on learning activities such as school gardening, farm visits, and culinary classes; and integrate food-related education into the regular, standards-based classroom curriculum. Promotional activities and experiential learning also serve as an additional form of nutrition education to increase student awareness and interest in healthier foods. Frequent use of local foods in school meals has also been suggested as a way to expand the market for local agricultural producers. Continue reading

usda
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced more than $5 million in grants for fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students at colleges and universities. These awards are made through NIFA’s Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduate (REEU) Fellowships program, part of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Education and Literacy Initiative. Continue reading

disease
Beef, turkey, sheep and pork industry representatives all testified in favor of a stronger program to protect animals from disease, especially foot-and-mouth disease. The Hagstrom Report says the groups gave testimony on Tuesday at a hearing before the House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council both testified in favor of spending $150 million on an FMD vaccine bank. Continue reading

consumer groups
A dozen consumer groups have banded together to work against legislation that would make it more difficult for the government to issue regulations. The groups have dubbed it the “filthy food act,” which they say will make it more difficult to keep the American food supply safe. Continue reading

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