Dawn, February 17: Wilsak: The Ministry of Justice must investigate the prices of materials

Agriculture Minister Tom Wilsak says the government must ensure that seed companies and other material suppliers do not use their market power to unfairly raise prices.

“It is important for us to ask whether all these increases are justified, every penny of these increases on the basis of disruptions, on the basis of supplies, on the basis of a normal economy,” Wilsak told the country’s agriculture commissioner on Wednesday.

“And if not, then shame on anyone who tries to take advantage of this circumstance.”

After the question-and-answer session with the commissioners, he also spoke briefly with reporters on the issue. “You start by telling the Ministry of Justice (that) we should ask questions. We need to make sure that these paying prices are a phenomenal increase, which we see that every piece of it is justified by the market, ”Vilsak said.

Keep in mind: USDA economists estimate that farmers will pay 12% more for fertilizer this year, but seed costs are not expected to increase.

Take note: Wilsak used a speech to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to promote his $ 1 billion Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative. Vilsack says the involvement of these farmers will provide important data on the impact of practices on carbon emissions.

NASDA: Offer H-2A employees the path to citizenship

During their winter political conference, the commissioners for the organizing committee adopted a policy change that requires offering H-2A and H-2B workers a path to permanent residence or citizenship. The second amendment, adopted by the commissioners, involves offering H-2A workers a “contract visa” that would be good for working with the manufacturer for a period of time.

Critics of the measures questioned whether the group needed additional wording on immigration reform. But in the end the changes were approved by a vote.

Doug Goering, North Dakota’s commissioner of agriculture, insisted on the changes, saying the U.S. could not fill critical jobs in the hearth supply chain.

The USTR requires China to publish hormone levels for beef

China has promised to lift its zero tolerance for growth hormone traces in beef and set internationally recognized maximum residue levels, but the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office continues to demand evidence – something Beijing has promised to do in the “first phase” of the deal.

“The lack of publication contributes to regulatory ambiguity for U.S. beef producers and traders, who remain uncertain as to which products will be allowed to be imported into China,” the USTR said in a statement. new report to Congress.

Some representatives of the American agricultural industry argue that the publication of standards is not necessary, and the recent sharp increase in beef imports to China is sufficient evidence that the Chinese are fulfilling the “first stage”.

The states will have several months for the first broadband funds

The Ministry of Trade expects to start allocating funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law to expand broadband by the summer.

At a hearing in the House subcommittee on energy and trade on Wednesday, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alan Davidson said the National Telecommunications and Information Office would release its “funding announcement” for an initial $ 100 million around May 16.

The rest of the money will not be released until the Federal Communications Commission finishes drawing up areas that are underserved, which, according to Davidson, is likely to come later this year.

Ryan Zinke (right) with then-Ag secretary Sonny Purdue

Zinke has violated ethical obligations, according to the Inspector General of Internal Affairs

Former Home Secretary Ryan Zinke continued to be involved in a development project in his home state of Montana after he took over the ministry, contrary to his previous allegations. according to the Inspector General’s report.

Emails and text messages received by the IG Department of the Interior revealed that Zinke “repeatedly spoke with 95 Karrow project developers” and negotiated with them on how to develop a property owned by the Northern Veterans Peace Park Foundation, which he helped create. in 2007.

Zinke failed to fulfill ethical obligations, “in which he undertook not to manage or provide any other services to the fund” after becoming secretary, the report said. However, he did not violate federal conflict of interest laws because “we did not find that Secretary Zinke was involved in any official issues related to the 95 Karrow Foundation or Project ”.

Faced with numerous investigations of the development project and other issues, Zinke resigned from the department in December 2018, having worked for less than a year. He is currently a candidate from the newly created House district in Montana.

The poultry processor agrees to pay $ 2.2 million for wastewater

Perdue Foods will pay $ 2.2 million in fines and lawyers to settle a lawsuit over illegal wastewater discharges from a chicken processing plant in Washington state.

A decree of consent has been filed in Seattle federal court demands payment from Draper Valley Farms, owned by Perdue, of $ 950,000 to EarthCorps and $ 950,000 to the Rose Community and Environment Foundation “for projects to improve water quality in the Skagit River watershed”.

The company will also have to upgrade its wastewater treatment system. The complaint, filed by Waste Action Project, alleged numerous violations of the permit to reset the facility.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is requesting assistance from zoos in coronavirus research

Are tigers, kangaroos or elephants infected with new coronaviruses such as COVID-19? Should jaguars be vaccinated? The U.S. Department of Health’s Animal and Plant Health Service wants to know, so it is turning to zoos, aquariums and wildlife.

The main goal of the project is to identify new diseases of animal origin to limit the scale of future outbreaks.

He said that. “This is a big deal for our states. This is not an unequivocal problem. ” – Sen. John Buzman, a Republican on the Senate Committee of Ag, talks to reporters about the Livestock Market Reform Bill, which is authored by Senators Deb Fisher, R-Neb., And Chuck Grasley, Iowa.

Buzman said his staff is still “gathering information” about legislation that is designed to oblige more cash trade in cattle markets. He said that the bill should be considered, as well as the possibility of making changes to it.

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