EPA considers change that could handicap states as they struggle to control dicamba damage

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering limiting a regulation states use to protect farmers and residents from plant damage caused by a controversial pesticide known as dicamba. The EPA announced Tuesday it’s re-evaluating how it reviews requests under section 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). States and other local municipalities submit Special Local Needs (SLN) requests to the agency when additional considerations are needed for using a pesticide in a more localized area. In recent years, states have used this to rule to limit the use of dicamba, a chemical that has proven useful in controlling weeds resistant to other pesticides, but that has also damaged trees, non-resistance row crops and other sensitive plants. On March 1, the Illinois Department of Agriculture announced that no dicamba could be applied to soybean fields after June 30.

USDA rural broadband investment tops $200 million in 2018

The USDA has announced plans for a pilot program to bring broadband internet to all of rural America.

The plan, which Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue calls a “proof of concept,” will provide $600 million dollars in grants and loans to internet service providers to bring connection to parts of the country that are too remote, underpopulated or expensive to serve.