Student Series: Investigation into USDA’s Handling of Climate Research

The USDA has come under scrutiny recently over whether the agency withheld various climate change reports from the public. On September 19, 2019, Senate Democrats released a report (the DPCC report) citing more than 1,400 climate studies from USDA that the agency failed to publicize. According to the report, the USDA did not issue announcements or press releases on more…

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Student Series: The USDA’s Interim Rule for Hemp Regulation

The USDA recently released its interim final rule regulating the production of hemp. Hemp, a resurging commodity, has recently found its way back into the hearts of Americans and has a wide variety of uses. Hemp is a cannabis plant that can be found in fabric, paper, construction materials, food products, cosmetics, the production of cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), and…

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Student Series: A Blow to Farmers? Trump Administration’s Proposed Biofuel Policy

On October 15, 2019, the Trump Administration EPA proposed a new method of estimating the amount of gasoline and diesel that would be exempt from biofuel blending requirements due to exemptions for certain refineries. Offered through a Supplemental Notice, the calculation would be used to increase the amount of biofuel that is blended into transportation fuel by accounting for and…

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Student Series: USDA Poised to Reduce SNAP Benefits for Thousands in Third Proposed Rulemaking

Today is the last day to submit comments to USDA for its proposed changes to utilities calculations for SNAP benefits. The below student post describes the changes contemplated by USDA. Following the Senate’s rejection of the House’s proposed restrictions on enrollment to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS),…

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USDA gave almost 100 percent of Trump’s trade war bailout to white farmers

Nathan Rosenberg is a visiting scholar at the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and Bryce Wilson Stucki is an independent researcher and journalist focusing on food and agriculture. Last July, the Trump administration announced a major new subsidy program designed to help farmers weather America’s ongoing trade war with China. That initiative—dubbed the Market Facilitation Program (MFP)—has become the…

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What USDA is Doing to Address Mental Health — Farmer Suicide

Recently, USDA has taken a particular interest in mental health concerns in rural America. This two part blog post will address what USDA is doing to address both the opioid crisis and farmer suicide. Farmer Suicide In 2016, the CDC reported that among various occupational groups, suicide rates were highest in the farming, fishing, and forestry (Triple-F) industry at 84.5 suicides…

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Fixing the Floodgates: The Need to Link Disaster Relief and Climate Change Resilience — Part One

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, farmers across the Southeast face devastating losses to this year’s harvest and livestock operations. Through the Farm Bill and other authorizing statutes, Congress has created several programs that allow farmers to receive financial assistance after a natural disaster. These USDA programs go far in helping affected individuals recover and move forward. However,…

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Connecting the Dots: Rob Verchick and Laurie Ristino Talk Food Security and Climate Change

Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) President Rob Verchick recently sat down to talk with me about the connections between climate change, food security, and policymaking tools like the Farm Bill that could be better used to promote sustainable agricultural practices. I’m excited to share an audio recording of that conversation as CPR prepares to “soft launch” their new “Connect the Dots” podcast. It’s a…

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