Gov. Walz Requests USDA Help During Minnesota Drought

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

Due to a severe statewide drought, Gov. Tim Walz sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, requesting assistance to aid Minnesota’s livestock producers by relieving the immediate impacts of drought on grazing land.

“Agriculture is the past, present, and future of Minnesota’s economy. We must do everything we can to address the challenges our farmers and ranchers are facing due to the severe drought conditions plaguing our state. That’s why I’m asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture for assistance,” Walz said in a statement. “The USDA’s ongoing support of Minnesota’s agricultural industry is well-recognized across the state, and with their continued assistance, our livestock producers will have a brighter outlook as we endure these harsh conditions and look forward to a thriving future.”

Walz supported implementing a plan to allow emergency haying and grazing on eligible Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land counties experiencing Level D2 or greater drought conditions, reducing forage pressures on Minnesota’s livestock producers. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor update on July 8 reported nearly 40% of Minnesota is suffering under Level D2 or greater drought conditions.

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Another Judge Temporarily Blocks Biden’s Debt Relief Program Exclusively for Farmers of Color

Silhouette of man on a tractor during golden hour

A federal judge in Florida temporarily halted President Joe Biden’s $4 billion debt relief program exclusively for farmers of color, saying in a Wednesday order that the program was racially discriminatory.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard sided with Scott Wynn, a Florida-based white farmer who sued to block the program in May. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) program was originally passed in March as part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, with the intention of providing relief to “socially disadvantaged farmers.”

“Section 1005’s rigid, categorical, race-based qualification for relief is the antithesis of flexibility,” Howard wrote. “The debt relief provision applies strictly on racial grounds irrespective of any other factor.”

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Commentary: Are Race-Based Government Programs on the Verge of Extinction?

United States District Judge William C. Griesbach sustained a motion last week for a temporary restraining order to block a program under the Department of Agriculture to forgive certain government loans for farmers belonging to at least one “socially disadvantaged group.” The Department of Agriculture identified groups eligible for this classification as “a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities . . . one or more of the following: Black/African American, American Indian, Alaskan native, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, or Pacific Islander.”

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USDA: Error Rate in National Food Stamp Program Increases in 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reporting an error rate of 7.36 percent for its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for fiscal year 2019.

Despite the error rate, and after state government shutdowns over the coronavirus, the federal government significantly extended emergency SNAP funding for states to distribute.

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Ellison Sues Trump Administration Over Food-Stamp Work Requirements

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison joined 15 attorneys general and New York City in filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration over changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.

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Commentary: USDA Workers, Kansas City Is Better Than You Think

by Joshua Sharf   On Thursday, a gaggle of civil servants protested the proposed relocation of a couple of Agriculture Department bureaus from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City, Missouri by boldly turning their backs on a speech delivered by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Perdue announced that the Economic Research Service,…

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USDA Workers Turn Backs to Sonny Perdue After Announcing Relocation from D.C. to Kansas City

  American Federation of Government Employees turned their backs on Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue Thursday while he spoke after the USDA announced its plan to relocate workers from Washington D.C. to the Kansas City region. Perdue announced the same day that the reason for moving the Department of Agriculture’s research…

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Pushes Back on ‘Sensational Reporting’ of Food Inspections Being Stopped

by Michael Bastasch   Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue pushed back on what he called “sensational reporting” that the government shutdown had put a halt to food inspections. “Want to calm some fears because of somewhat sensational reporting on the shutdown,” Perdue said in a tweet Friday in response to alarming…

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The Government May Require Almond Milk, Soy Milk to Use Non-Milk Names

Dairy Cow

by John-Michael Seibler and Taylor Chaffetz   If Washington politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists have their way, consumers of common non-dairy “milks”—such as almond milk and soy milk—may soon have to buy those products under obscure labeling such as “plant juice” and “tree-nut beverage.” In another unfortunate instance of overcriminalization, after efforts to make…

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Hundreds Of Federal Employees Will Be Moved Out Of Washington, D.C.

moving

by Tim Pearce   The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving two agencies and roughly 700 federal employees out of Washington, D.C., to save money and improve the department’s service to taxpayers. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Thursday that the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and…

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Got ‘Scam?’ – Dairy Farmers Are Getting Milked By The USDA’s Checkoff Program

Dairy Cow

by Andrew Kerr    – Dairy farmers are forced to pay a tax that funds nonprofits dedicated to boosting dairy sales  – One dairy farmer says the nonprofits are doing a “pretty piss poor job”  – The nonprofit that takes the most pays its top executives salaries so lavish they may…

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