U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Heather Dawn Thompson as Director, Office of Tribal Relations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the appointment of Heather Dawn Thompson as Director of the Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) reporting to the Secretary of Agriculture. Thompson is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, a Harvard Law School graduate, and an expert in American Indian law, tribal sovereignty, and rural tribal economic development. With Thompson in place, USDA will return OTR directly under the Secretary, restoring the office's important government-to-government role.

Trump Administration Invests $72 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Infrastructure in 40 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2020 - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $72 million in grants to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. These investments will benefit more than 12 million rural residents.

Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 75 Million Boxes Delivered

(Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 75 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

USDA provides update on investigation following 2019 Tyson beef plant closure and COVID-19 pandemic

(Washington, D.C., July 22, 2020) - As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a Boxed Beef and Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report on its ongoing boxed beef and fed cattle price spread investigation. "The closure of the Tyson beef packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, after a fire at the facility, and the COVID-19 pandemic clearly disrupted the markets and processing systems responsible for the production and sale of U.S. beef," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. "The report examines these economic disruptions and the significant increase in the spread between boxed beef and fed cattle prices that resulted from them. While we're pleased to provide this update, we assure producers that our work continues in order to determine if there are any violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action."

Secretary Perdue Statement on Dicamba Plaintiffs’ Attack on EPA Order

(Washington, D.C., June 12, 2020) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement:

"USDA supports the actions taken by the EPA to respond responsibly to the decision of the Ninth Circuit regarding Dicamba. At a time when the security of the food supply chain is paramount, the Center for Biological Diversity and its allies seek to cripple American farmers and further limit their ability to feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world. The Ninth Circuit should not allow plaintiffs' hostility against the American farmer to cloud the fact that the EPA's actions follow both legal precedent and common sense." EPA's order allowing for the limited use of existing chemical stocks already purchased follows EPA precedents from the Obama and Clinton Administrations when the registrations for other crop protection tools were cancelled. #

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Secretary Perdue Issues Letters on Meat Packing Expectations

These letters establish the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) clear expectations for the implementation of President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order signed last week. The President's Executive order directs plants to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance specific to the meat processing industry to keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.

USDA To Implement President Trump’s Executive Order On Meat and Poultry Processors

(Washington, D.C., April 28, 2020) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the following statement after President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order to keep meat and poultry processing facilities open during the COVID-19 national emergency. "I thank President Trump for signing this executive order and recognizing the importance of keeping our food supply chain safe, secure, and plentiful. Our nation's meat and poultry processing facilities play an integral role in the continuity of our food supply chain," said Secretary Perdue. "Maintaining the health and safety of these heroic employees in order to ensure that these critical facilities can continue operating is paramount. I also want to thank the companies who are doing their best to keep their workforce safe as well as keeping our food supply sustained.

DHS and USDA Move to Protect American Farmers and Ensure Continued Flow of America’s Food Supply

Department to Temporarily Amend Certain H-2A Requirements During COVID-19 National Emergency

(Washington, D.C., April 15, 2020) - The Department of Homeland Security, with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has announced a temporary final rule to change certain H-2A requirements to help U.S. agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment, protect the nation's food supply chain, and lessen impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. These temporary flexibilities will not weaken or eliminate protections for U.S. workers. Under this temporary final rule, an H-2A petitioner with a valid temporary labor certification who is concerned that workers will be unable to enter the country due to travel restrictions can start employing certain foreign workers who are currently in H-2A status in the United States immediately after United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives the H-2A petition, but no earlier than the start date of employment listed on the petition. To take advantage of this time-limited change in regulatory requirements, the H-2A worker seeking to change employers must already be in the United States and in valid H-2A status. Additionally, USCIS is temporarily amending its regulations to protect the country's food supply chain by allowing H-2A workers to stay beyond the three-year maximum allowable period of stay in the United States.