Farmworkers are getting some attention from congressional Democrats. The House’s fiscal 2023 funding bill for the Labor Department includes $1 million for a study by the National Academy of Sciences on the impact of pesticides on children working in agriculture.
”Pesticides have a detrimental effect on human health, with children among the particularly vulnerable, and low levels of pesticide exposure can affect children’s neurological and behavioral development,” the House Appropriations Committee says in the report that accompanies the spending bill.
The committee report is separately asking the Labor Department to do a report on the risk of injuries to children in agriculture.
Take note: The report praises the Labor Department for taking steps to “proactively inspect workplaces” for risks to workers from extreme heat.
House Ag sets next listening session
House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott has scheduled another farm bill listening session in the district of a panel Democrat who
s facing a tough re-election race. The first listening session was in Arizona in Tim OHallerans district.
A meeting set for July 22 will be hosted by Washington Rep. Kim Schrier, another target for Republicans this fall. The Cook Political Report rates her race as a toss-up.

USDA on track to complete transition to physical workplace

USDA is on schedule to finish transitioning workers back into their offices by next month, Deputy Ag Secretary Jewel Bronaugh says on the latest episode of Agri-Pulse Newsmakers.
She says the department is monitoring safety and offering workers flexibility as they return to their physical work spaces.
"As more employees return back to the physical workplace, we'll monitor the transition rates ... but we're going to continue to keep people safe while focusing on high productivity and offering up to eight days per pay period for telework options for those who qualify," she said.
Watch Newsmakers here.
Poultry workers get back pay after probe
Workers at two poultry plants in Mississippi have received $285,000 in back pay after a Labor Department investigation found they had not received minimum wage and overtime pay.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division says A&B Foods and PH Food failed to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act when they made illegal deductions that reduced employees’ average hourly pay below the federal minimum wage and failed to pay the correct overtime rate to some workers for hours over 40, among other violations.
The payments went to more than 300 workers at the plants in Morton, Mississippi.
Iowa high court establishes new test for determining when nuisance exists
The Iowa Supreme Court has scrapped a test for determining when a nuisance exists on a neighbor
s land. The decision stems from a case involving a concentrated animal feeding operation that a farmer claimed said used too much manure.
We overrule the [Gacke] test because it was wrongly decided, is difficult to administer, and has been superseded by subsequent decisions using the rational basis test,” the court said in its 4-3 decision.
The court upheld a lower court decision that did not find a nuisance. The Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation joined the case on the side of the defendant.

More Mexican berries on the way to the US
The berry business in Mexico is booming, and the country
s exports of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are expected to rise by 12% this year to 584,000 metric tons. That’s according to an account by Blueberries Consulting.
Mexican exports this year, up until June 16, are already at a record level, and strong crops are pushing the expanded trade, according to the firm, which got the data from Mexico
s National Association of Exporters of Berries.
The vast majority of Mexico
s berry exports – about 95% - are sent to the U.S., with the remainder going to Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Mexico is now seeking deals to open up markets in South Korea, India and Malaysia.
Ukraine starts EU accession process with geographic indications bill
Ukraine is getting a jump on its application to join the European Union with a move that won’t please the U.S. dairy sector. The Ukrainian parliament on Friday quickly approved legislation to adopt the EU’s geographic indications rules that protect food names like Gorgonzola, Fontina, Gruyere, Havarti, Asiago and Feta cheese.
The U.S. Trade Representative considers geographic indications a trade barrier, and the U.S. dairy industry has been fighting the European effort to spread food name protections around the globe.
The adoption of such a Law is one of the indispensable conditions for a country to become a member of the EU,” the Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry said after the parliament approved the legislation.
He said it:
 Between July 4th and Labor Day join me in going without added or processed sugar. We are a nation that uses tax dollars to drive down the costs of sugar and then we pay again for the booming health care costs associated with high sugar intake.” – Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., in a tweet. 

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