USDA

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media file photo

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump promised to revitalize rural America, specifically through increased investment in infrastructure. And his ag secretary, Sonny Perdue, wants to modernize the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One rural bank representative said there’s a key piece to doing that: Fixing an outdated and burdensome loan application process to make it easier to access capital.

Dicamba-resistant soybeans sit in a field in rural McLean County, Illinois, in August.
Darrell Hoemann / Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting file photo

The details of the federal government’s $12 billion aid package for farmers affected by trade disputes are out — and soybean farmers are the major beneficiaries.

Updated Aug. 22, 2018 — Two research arms of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be moving out of Washington, D.C. Three of Missouri’s U.S. representatives and one from Kansas said Kansas City is the perfect place for those agencies.

U.S. farmers compete to sell their goods, like these soybeans in Nebraska, on a world market.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media file photo

The trade war has come home to roost among U.S. farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods are targeted by tariffs from China, Mexico and Canada. The U.S. Department of Agriculture did something about it Tuesday, announcing it'll spend up to $12 billion in aid, including direct payments to growers. 

The Trump administration is coming to the aid of farmers hurt by its own hard-line trade policies, announcing Tuesday that it will make an estimated $12 billion in government assistance available, including direct payments to growers.

The money comes after farmers, especially soybean growers, have felt the brunt of retaliatory tariffs placed on agriculture by China and other nations that the Trump administration has penalized with tariffs on imports.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in Cincinnati announces planned changes to the department.
Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media file photo

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the nation’s largest program to reduce hunger. It’s also the biggest program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But under the White House’s plan to reorganize the federal government, released Thursday, SNAP would have a new home at a revamped Department of Health and Human Services.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

Each spring, ranchers across the Eastern Plains look at their land and ask an important question: How much green can they expect this season?

In this case, “green” refers not to money, but grass. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently launched a new tool to help cattlemen predict just how much they can look forward to.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

Thirty-eight calves, between two and four months old, moo and kick at the dirt floor in a steel barn in Brush, Colorado. One by one, a handler leads them from the pen to a narrow chute, where their legs are restrained and they’re lifted onto a hydraulic table.  

Courtesy the Agriculture Marketing Service / USDA

Though it’s not yet clear which highly processed ingredients will be labeled as genetically modified foods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released possible designs for those labels.

The labels fulfill a law passed in 2016 that gives food companies three options to disclose GMO ingredients: a line of text, a scannable QR code, or a symbol. It is meant to be an impartial notice to shoppers, and the labels avoid the polarizing term “GMO.”

Yet, one of the label designs released this month is a smiling orange and green sun with the letters “b-e” standing for “bioengineered,” which is the word used in the law.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media file photo

Dozens of congressional Democrats are opposing a recently proposed federal rule that would change hog-slaughterhouse inspections and the number of hogs that can be processed daily.

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