The Trump administration has released a replacement for the former “waters of the U.S.” rule that significantly reduces federal jurisdiction over streams and wetlands, triggering what almost certainly will be a series of protracted legal battles over the scope of the Clean Water Act.
China’s commitments to dramatically increase its purchases of U.S. commodities have raised new questions for farmers as they face decisions about which farm bill program to enroll in and pencil out their finances and risk management for the year.
China will be huge for U.S. beef. That’s the conclusion of U.S. negotiators and the U.S. cattle industry, but it’s going to take a lot of work to get there and the Chinese will have to come through on major promises over the next two months that were made in the “phase one” deal that was signed last week in the White House.
A just-announced Bureau of Land Management effort to revise grazing regulations is already sparking sharp disagreements between ranching supporters, who welcome it as common-sense reform, and opponents, who say BLM is favoring the needs of cattle over the environment.
Biofuel industry advocates say they’re pleased with how the Democratic presidential candidates are talking about ethanol and biodiesel in Iowa, although most of the campaigns haven't provided specifics about how they would increase demand.
Some small-farm backers and animal welfare advocates are pushing for tighter policing of checkoffs, but the self-help commodity promotion programs are popular with most farmers, so don't hold your breath expecting new mandates from Congress.