The U.S. is counting on an expensive campaign to protect nearby territories from African swine fever as well as international respect for the World Organization for Animal Health to protect American pork production and exports.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working to throw up a “protection zone” around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to insulate the U.S. pork sector in the event that African Swine Fever jumps from the Dominican Republic to either of the U.S. territories.
The Senate is expanding a long-stalled disaster assistance bill to aid farmers and ranchers swamped by recent Midwest floods, but it’s still not clear when Congress will pass the legislation due to a dispute between the White House and House Democrats over funding for Puerto Rico.
Farmers who were hit by hurricanes and wildfires last year can still sign up for significant financial assistance from the USDA, but time will run out Friday, Farm Service Administrator Richard Fordyce told Agri-Pulse in an interview.
The first release of 2017 Census of Agriculture results will occur Feb. 21 at the USDA 2019 Outlook Forum, says Hubert Hamer, administrator of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which conducts the five-year tallies.
Bruce Walker, the newly installed assistant secretary in DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, says his recent two-week visit to Puerto Rico showed the need to make the island’s electric grid more resilient against future storms.