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Despite Huge Backlogs, The Government Shutdown Halts Most Immigration Court Hearings

NPR | Posted on January 9, 2019

The federal government shutdown — caused in part by disagreements over immigration policy — is delaying immigration court hearings across the country. Court appointments scheduled during the shutdown will be "reset" to new dates in the future, per a notice from the Department of Justice dated Dec. 26. The only exception are courts operating in immigration detention centers, where federal immigration authorities hold immigrants pending deportation. However, court staff may not be paid while continuing to hear those cases.In addition, some emergency motions in nondetained cases can still be filed to the judges that are working during the shutdown.Shutting down the country's massive system of immigration courts will gum up an already congested judicial process, immigration judges and attorneys say.

Farmers for Free Trade pushing for trade progress

Brownfield | Posted on January 9, 2019

The executive director of Farmers for Free Trade says he is hopeful farmers will see trade progress in the new year. Brian Kuehl says the recent trade truce with China is a start…“We’d like to see the trade war with China wrapped up,” he says. “We need to get back into the business of trading- China’s our biggest trading partner.”But, he tells Brownfield the tariffs on Canada and Mexico still need to be addressed.“We still have these steel tariffs in place which means they’re still retaliating against our agricultural products- cheese, pork, and processed foods,” he says. “All matter of products are being taxed because of this trade war and we need to get that over and lifted.”Kuehl says Farmers for Free Trade would also like to see the administration focus on new trade deals.

Trump cuts off federal funds to California to fight ‘Forrest fires’

Roll Call | Posted on January 9, 2019

President Donald Trump said he has ordered FEMA to withhold funds from California’s state government until officials there “get their act together” fighting forest fires. But he tweeted he thinks that is “unlikely.”

USDA Delays Deadline for Tariff Relief Applications

Ag Web | Posted on January 9, 2019

USDA has delayed the deadline for applications for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. Farmers had until Jan. 15 to apply for the tariff relief payments, but applications were stopped by the partial government shutdown when Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices closed December 28. USDA will resume taking applications for MFP when the government shutdown ends.  The deadline will extend for as many days as FSA offices are closed by the ongoing shutdown. The May 1 deadline for submitting 2018 production has not been changed according to a USDA spokesman. Farmers who applied for the program and had certified 2018 production before FSA offices closed on Dec. 28 will receive payments as scheduled despite the shutdown, according to USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey.

Trade war lingering for US chemicals

S & P Global | Posted on January 8, 2019

A 90-day pause on the Trump administration's plan to hike tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods in January may delay higher consumer costs for everything from tires to galoshes, but the US petrochemical industry remains among the top targets of tariffs already in place and there is no obvious end in sight.Petrochemical-heavy 25% tariffs the US imposed on Chinese goods in August are not part of the temporary trade detente reached by US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in early December at the G-20 Summit in Argentina.The two leaders agreed the US would hold off on raising 10% tariffs to 25% on Chinese goods -- many of which involve finished plastics products -- to allow the two largest global economies to negotiate a trade deal.

Livestock haulers no longer must use electronic logging devices

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on January 3, 2019

The Department of Transportation in the last weeks of 2018 permanently suspended the requirement that livestock haulers use electronic logging devices (ELDs).A brief statement on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated simply: “Transporters of livestock and insects are not required to have an ELD. The statutory exemption will remain in place until further notice. Drivers do not need to carry any documentation regarding this exemption.” As part of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act mandated that drivers of commercial motor vehicles replace by Dec. 18, 2017, their paper logs with ELDs, which record driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information.

China Buying Rice for the First Time From U.S.

Ag Web | Posted on January 3, 2019

China is buying U.S. rice for the first time. The "South China Morning Post" reported Chinese customs officials cleared American rice for import on Thursday. It's not clear how much China will buy, but the U.S. rice industry calls China the 800 pound gorilla for the industry, and a market barrier it's been trying to break for decades. Johnny Sullivan of Producers Rice Mill, Inc. says "China is a monster of a market. The facts are based on the consumption rate of rice in China, the short story is China could chew through the entire U.S. crop in 14 days, so it's unreal."

Now 11 countries are going ahead with TPP without the US

CNN | Posted on January 3, 2019

A major 11-country agreement goes into effect Sunday, reshaping trade rules among economic powerhouses like Japan, Canada, Mexico and Australia — but the United States won't be a part of it.That means that Welch's grape juice, Tyson's pork and California almonds will remain subject to tariffs in Japan, for example, while competitors' products from countries participating in the new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership will eventually be duty-free.Japan will offer similar tariff relief to the European Union, in a separate trade deal set to go into effect on February 1."Our competitors in Australia and Canada will now benefit from those provisions, as US farmers watch helplessly," said US Wheat Associates President Vince Peterson at a hearing on the potential negotiations with Japan.

Trump team makes controversial change to allow chicken plants to operate at faster speeds

Washington Post | Posted on January 3, 2019

he Trump administration is now allowing more chicken-processing plants to operate at faster speeds, a controversial move that some fear will hurt workers and chicken consumers by lowering safety standards. Plants that receive a waiver from the Trump administration will be able to process up to 175 birds per minute, up from the old limit of 140 birds per minute. The administration recently published new criteria spelling out what it would take to get a waiver.


Federal order prices reflect a bleak milk price landscape

Edairy News | Posted on January 3, 2019

The Class I mover ranged from a low of 13.36/cwt in March to a high of just $16.33 in October. At no time did the Class I mover in 2018 close higher than the December 2017 price of $16.88.The Class I mover is the base price for fluid milk prices, with differentials then added on top of the mover to determine the fluid milk minimum price for each Federal Order. In the Midwest, for example, a $1.80 differential is commonly added to the Class I mover; in Florida, the differential can be $5.40.The Class III price ranged from a low of $13.40/cwt in February to a high of $16.09 in September. The Class IV price ranged from $12.87/cwt in February to a high of $15.06 in November. In November, the Class IV actually became the “higher of” Class III and IV, making it the determinant for Class I prices. In November, the Class IV price was 62¢/cwt higher than Class III.In the Midwest, the producer mailbox price peaked at $17.40/cwt in September.