(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."
(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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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.
(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.
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.
USDA's COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide Lists Federal Programs That Can Help Rural Communities, Organizations and Residents Impacted by COVID-19
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2020 - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF, 349 KB) is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic. "Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities preparing for and impacted by COVID-19," Perdue said. "This resource guide will help our rural leaders, whether they are in agriculture, education, health care or any other leadership capacity, understand what federal assistance is available for their communities during this unprecedented time." USDA has taken many immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The passage of the Coronavirus response legislation will provide much needed relief to Americans across this country, especially workers and small-business owners who have been impacted by COVID-19. President Trump has made the safety and security of the American people a top priority during this national emergency, and this bill will help make Americans more financially secure. At USDA we will deliver relief assistance to farmers and ranchers as quickly as possible."
(Washington, D.C., March 17, 2020) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced new contacts to encourage communication with USDA to help feed kids and ensure the United States food supply chain remains strong in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:
"Food is essential all year round, but in the face of a pandemic it is critical the shelves remain stocked and supplies remain plentiful. America's farmers and ranchers, and those on the front lines in the food service industry are doing their part," said Secretary Perdue. "President Trump is encouraging a whole of America approach to the challenges we currently face. At USDA we know when we work together to solve the problems facing us, we can overcome this time of uncertainty and fear. If you have ideas or solutions for USDA, I urge you to reach out - we want to hear from the experts in the field."
(Washington, D.C., February 28, 2020) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a memo (PDF, 1.2 MB) today directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to acquire alternative fueled vehicles (AFV) when replacing conventionally fueled vehicles. USDA owns and operates one of the largest civilian fleets in the Federal Government and this move to a fleet that can use E85 or biodiesel will increase efficiencies and performance. Additionally, as part of the President Donald J. Trump's October agreement to seek opportunities to facilitate the availability of higher biofuel blends across the country, USDA will make $100 million in grants available this year for the newly created Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). Through this program, transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities will be able to apply for grants to help install, retrofit, and/or upgrade fuel storage, dispenser pumps, related equipment and infrastructure to be able to sell ethanol and biodiesel. The Department plans to publish application deadlines and other program information in the Federal Register this spring.
The United States and China have reached an historic and enforceable agreement on a Phase One trade deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to China's economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange.