U.S. Department of Agriculture

President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget proposal is getting a lot of attention for its call for more border protection, but it also makes major changes to agriculture programs.

Without providing many specifics, it outlines a plan to reduce the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget by about $3.6 billion — 15 percent of its total funding. Some programs face cuts, while others get a boost, but it’s all just a proposal at this point and likely won’t survive Congress as-is.

Derek Gavey / flickr Creative Commons

Meant to fund the federal government through early September, the $1.3 trillion bill signed by President Donald Trump last week also includes money and changes for ag-related programs beyond the “grain-glitch” fix.

Some notable highlights include:

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The two federal agencies tasked with enforcing the nation’s food safety laws agreed this week to collaborate better, update biotechnology regulations and implement new safety inspections on produce farms.

USDA / flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will withdraw a final rule about how animals on organic farms are raised. The implementation of the rule has been delayed several times.

Supporters saw it as a way to certify that organic meat came from humanely raised animals.

The USDA said Friday it’s withdrawing the rule because it exceeds the agency’s authority under the existing Organic Foods Production Act.

The Organic Trade Association’s Nathaniel Lewis says he is dismayed.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The U.S. Department of Agriculture faces a lawsuit that argues the federal agency must bring back a proposed rule that defined abusive practices by meatpacking companies.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The delivery of federal food benefits for millions of low-income people is likely to change after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week it will allow states more flexibility in how they dole out the money.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The farm economy is showing some stability, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says, but the upswing doesn’t extend to all agricultural sectors.

Clovis Withdraws From USDA Nomination In Wake Of Ties To 2016 Election Investigation

Nov 1, 2017
COURTESY OF IOWANS FOR SAM CLOVIS

Updated 12:20 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3

Sam Clovis, who ran President Donald Trump's campaign in Iowa, has withdrawn his nomination to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientist position. Clovis was linked this week to the federal investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Clovis sent Trump a letter, dated Nov. 1, that says the political climate "has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position" during his Nov. 9 Senate confirmation hearing.

Derek Gavey / flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas agriculture community has been divided over a decision by the Trump administration to block new livestock rules from taking effect.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture had proposed the rules that were scheduled to go into effect Thursday. The new rules were intended to protect poultry producers from unfair commercial practices by food processing giants like Tyson Foods.

Amy Mayer / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa’s secretary of agriculture is one step closer to a new post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bill Northey appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday. He answered questions about a variety of farm-support and conservation programs he would oversee as undersecretary from the farm and foreign agricultural services.

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