WASHINGTON, June 8, 2016 - Hillary Clinton has made history, becoming the first woman to claim a major party’s presidential nomination. In her victory speech last night, Clinton wasted little time in setting the tone for her general election campaign. She called the presumptive GOP nominee, Donald Trump, “temperamentally unfit” for the presidency. 

Trump spoke earlier in the evening, and he appealed directly to Bernie Sanders’ voters for their support. Trump pointed out that he shared Sanders’ opposition to U.S. trade deals.

In other races yesterday, North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers became the first House Republican to lose a re-election bid this year. She lost to Rep. George Holding, who ran in her district this year because of a court-mandated redistricting.

Roberts, Stabenow talk GMO labeling. Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters yesterday that he’s seen no evidence of progress in negotiations over GMO labeling. But Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow both say they want to reach an agreement on GMO labeling and they talked about the issue during votes on the Senate floor late yesterday afternoon. 

Roberts said they agreed to keep talking on ways to get the 60 votes that they need. Stabenow told Agri-Pulse that it’s up to Roberts to find enough GOP support; Roberts said he’s working on his fellow Republicans but can only make so many concessions to Democrats. 

The president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach, urged the senators to reach a deal. “The time to act is now. Congress must come to a solution that provides America’s farmers, ranchers, and food manufacturers with federal preemption for GMO labeling,” he said. 

For more on the biotech labeling issue, be sure and check out this week’s issue of the Agri-Pulse newsletter

Vilsack leaving framework for cotton aid. USDA officials say the payments they’re offering to cotton producers are a one-time form of assistance. But Val Dolcini, administrator of the Farm Service Agency, concedes that the program sets a framework that his successor could use to provide additional payments in 2017. “My focus is on this year’s program. I’ll leave it up to my successor to provide next year’s,” Dolcini told Agri-Pulse. 

Cotton producers wanted the department to make cotton seed eligible for the Price Loss Coverage. That would have provided a long-term form of assistance and a funding source for the next farm bill. But Dolcini made clear that’s a dead issue for this administration. Dolcini said Vilsack was “pretty unambiguous” that he doesn’t have the legal authority to add cotton seed to PLC.

About 37,000 producers are expected to be eligible for the payments. Dolcini said the money will go out soon after producers complete their applications.

Panel demands interviews with EPA officials on glyphosate. A House committee chairman is demanding interviews with four EPA officials over the agency’s role in the World Health Organization’s deliberations over the safety of glyphosate. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith says he’s concerned about the integrity of the process that the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer used in making its decision that the herbicide could cause cancer. 

The Texas Republican also says he wants to know what influence EPA had on the IARC deliberations. The officials that Smith wants to interview are in EPA’s Office of Research and Development and its Office of Pesticide Programs.

House voting on weakening new smog rule. The White House is threatening to veto a bill that the House votes on today to weaken new requirements on states to reduce smog levels. The Ozone Standards Implementation Act would give states more time and flexibility to implement new limits for ground-level ozone. 

The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council and the Fertilizer Institute joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a variety of chemical and petroleum groups in signing a letter in support of the bill. There has been concern about how lower ozone limits would affect some rural areas. 

Obama pays tribute to late wife of Cesar Chavez. Helen Chavez, the widow of United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez, died this week at age 88. President Obama calls Mrs. Chavez a “force of quiet strength” who “left a legacy that will echo for generations. “Alongside her husband, Cesar, she devoted her life to organizing farmworkers in California and across America, fighting for higher wages, better working conditions, and a brighter future.” 

He said it. “I’m the only senator who has seen him spray his own hair. He carries his hair spray with him.” - Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, bantering with farm broadcaster Ken Root, who once tugged at Trump’s hair at the candidate's request. 


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