All Eyes Are on the Construction of the New Farm Bill

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Every time the National Farmers Union board meets, the state presidents each get a few minutes to report on the top issues in their area, a collective checking of the pulse of the farm sector nationwide.

“Pretty much the entirety” of the discussion is the agricultural slump, says NFU president Roger Johnson. “There is deepening concern about the economic outlook.”

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NAFTA Isn't Dead Yet, But Trump's Vision Of One-On-One Trade Deals May Be

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The fourth round of trade talks between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which concluded Tuesday, were as contentious as they were expected to be. U.S. negotiators tabled a raft of controversial proposals. Mexican and Canadian negotiators refused to take the bait; they did not storm off in protest. But there was a decision by all three parties to postpone the next scheduled round of talks.

Negotiations will pick up in Mexico City Nov. 17-21, rather than resuming at the end of October. This delay came with an acknowledgment that it would be impossible to conclude this renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement by the end of the year and that the talks would spill over into at least the first quarter of 2018.

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USDA Withdraws GIPSA Rule

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture Oct. 17 announced it is withdrawing the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration interim final rule regarding the scope of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules of the Packers and Stockyards Act, and will not finalize the rules.

The rules, often called the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, were intended to enhance the power of livestock growers in relationships with buyers and processors.

While the GIPSA rules on Unfair Practices and Undue Preferences in Violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act won’t be finalized, GIPSA’s proposed rule on Poultry Grower Ranking Systems is still under consideration.

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California Signs Legislation to Prevent School Lunch Shaming

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Sacramento- Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, announced on Thursday that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed his legislation to stop schools from publicly shaming or embarassing students by either denying them lunch or providing a snack instead because their parents haven't paid lunch fees.

SB 250 ensures that school officials do not delay or deny food to hungry students as punishment for unpaid school meal fees, and it directs schools to establish a process for notifying their families about unpaid fees and collecting them.

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Update: California Governor Signs New Date Label Bill To Reduce Food Waste

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UPDATE: California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 954 into law on Oct. 14. This bill is designed to encourage a voluntary shift to standardized date labeling language among manufacturers, with state educational support. Clarifying the difference between a "quality date" and a "safety date" is anticipated to reduce some of the 5.5 million tons of food going to California landfills each year.

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