WASHINGTON, May, 4, 2016 - Donald Trump is turning his sights on Hillary Clinton after Ted Cruz dropped out of the Republican presidential race last night following his poor showing in the Indiana primary.
Trump is making it clear that trade is going to remain a major issue in his campaign. In his victory speech, Trump declared that Clinton “doesn’t understand trade,” citing her husband’s signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump called NAFTA “perhaps ... the single worst trade deal ever done.”
The president of the Indiana Farm Bureau, Don Villwock, tells Agri-Pulse that John Kasich’s decision not to compete in Indiana left the GOP race without a pro-agriculture candidate, even though farm trade supports 43,000 jobs in the state.
Villwock has a blunt message for U.S. agriculture about the presidential race: “The ag community will need to work hard to get the importance of trade on the ultimate winning candidate's radar screen or get ready to downsize.”
Bernie Sanders isn’t conceding the Democratic race yet. He won the Democratic race in Indiana but his path to the nomination remains steep because of the way delegates are apportioned.
Young wins GOP Senate race. Todd Young easily defeated Marlin Stutzman in the Republican primary race to succeed retiring Indiana Sen. Dan Coats. Stutzman, a fourth-generation farmer and Heritage Foundation favorite, has been one of the most vocal advocates for splitting nutrition from the “farm” programs in the farm bill.
House Agriculture Committee member Jackie Walorski easily won her GOP primary race in the 2nd district.
Conservation compliance oversight questioned. USDA’s inspector general says that the department doesn’t know how well farmers are meeting the conservation compliance requirements for farm programs and crop insurance. The Natural Resources Conservation Service is required to spot-check compliance using data provided by the Farm Service Agency.
But an IG report says the sample reviews have been inadequate because FSA omitted data on a significant number of tracts, including some that receive conservation assistance but not commodity payments.
The auditors also took a close look at the 1.3 million tracts provided to NRCS for last year’s review and found that there was so much double-counting that there were actually only about 602,000 individual tracts.
The report said the problems take on increased importance since crop insurance is being added to conservation compliance requirements, which will require cooperation with the Risk Management Agency. In response to the report, the three agencies said they are developing a memorandum of understanding to ensure NRCS has the correct data.
Activists demand action on glyphosate. Friends of the Earth and several other activists groups will hold a news conference in front of the White House today to demand that the Environmental Protection Agency end the use of glyphosate. The groups also claim to have 400,000 names on a petition that will be delivered to the EPA itself.
The event comes after a bizarre chain of events in connection with an EPA study of whether the popular herbicide, best known as Roundup, is likely to cause cancer in humans. A report posted to the agency’s website last Friday said it wasn’t likely to be a carcinogen, but the study was pulled from the website Monday. The agency said that the documents were “preliminary.”
The study was done in response to a controversial finding by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate would likely cause cancer in humans.
Oops, they did it again. As if the handling of the glyphosate report wasn’t strange enough, yesterday the EPA posted, and then removed, an extensive assessment on the ecological risks of the weedkiller atrazine. The agency had no immediate response as to why the report was pulled.
The 502-page report found that the “level of concern" for chronic risks to birds, mammals and fish has been exceeded significantly. The assessment also says there is a potential for chronic risks to amphibians, as well as likely impacts to plant biodiversity and plant communities from off-field exposures via runoff and spray drift.
Syngenta, the primary registrant of atrazine, had no immediate comment on the report.
State ag agencies back biotech mosquito. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture says it’s OK with the release for research purposes of genetically engineered mosquitoes. The FDA asked for public comment on a finding that there would be no significant impact from an investigational release of the mosquitoes to combat the Zika virus.
In its comments, NASDA says the mosquito “has the potential to be an important technology to help address and mitigate the human health concerns.”
Farm group to intervene in organic lawsuit. A federal judge in California has granted the Western Growers Association amicus status to defend USDA’s guidance for the use of compost on organic farms. The Center for Food Safety have filed suit to invalidate the guidance on grounds that it doesn’t require testing of compost to make sure it’s free of disallowed synthetic substances.
He said it. “Trump's America: North Dakotan spots 1st wolverine in state since late 1800s, so he shoots it.” - New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman, tweeting about a ranch hand shooting a wolverine that attacked some cattle.
Steve Davies contributed to this report.