Senate GOP Report: Minnesota Department of Education Failed to Follow Law in Feeding Our Future Oversight

A new report issued Monday by Republicans on the Senate Education Committee claims the Minnesota Department of Education failed to follow state and federal law in its management of federal meals programs. 

The report says agency leadership “either did not know how to responsibly manage [Food and Nutrition Service] programs or found the faithful execution of those duties burdensome and optional.”

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Majority of Funds for Climate Change Program in Pennsylvania Went to Repave Bloomsburg Parking Lots

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is sending $740,000 to Pennsylvania for “critical infrastructure to combat climate change” – but most of the money will go toward repaving parking lots.

The USDA Rural Development program provides taxpayer money for all sorts of programs, from infrastructure to health care to environmental and economic concerns in the rural parts of America. In fiscal year 2022, it provided almost $1.5 billion for local projects.

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Americans Could See Grocery Store Prices Skyrocket Even Higher: Report

Food prices in the U.S. may get worse in the coming months as European Union countries predict a dismal wheat harvest on top of the loss in Ukraine’s wheat exports, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The EU may produce 5% less wheat than 2021 because of dry weather, agriculture consulting firm Strategie Grains told the WSJ.

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Foreign Investment in U.S. Farmland May Be a National Security Issue, According to Expert

Foreign investment in U.S. farmland has tripled in the past 10 years, reporters at a non-profit investigative journalism group found.

Investigate Midwest used U.S. Department of Agriculture data to call attention to this trend. Farmer Joe Maxwell, co-founder of the group Farm Action, told The Center Square that control of U.S. farmland by foreign investors is worrisome on a number of fronts.

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Biden Admin Ties Federal Funds for School Lunches to Gender Identity

The Biden Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that all state and local agencies that receive federal funding for meals, a category that includes schools, must not discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In a press release dated May 5, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced it would now interpret the ban on discrimination based on sex included in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and food-related legislation and programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp program, to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Minnesota Farmers Are Far Behind Schedule This Planting Season

Minnesota farmers have been unable to plant nearly any wheat and have only planted a small amount of corn so far this year.

Last year, nearly all of Minnesota’s wheat (99%) was in the ground by mid-May, but per the most recent figures from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), only 5% has been planted so far this year. Corn producers are having a similarly rough year thus far. Only 35% of Minnesota’s corn has been put in the ground so far. Normally by this time, almost double as much would have been planted according to the USDA.

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Feds: Retail Food Prices to Increase by an Additional Five Percent

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects U.S. food prices to increase by at least another 5% on average this year as the majority of Americans surveyed in a new poll cite cost of living increases as a top concern and lack of confidence in President Joe Biden’s ability to do anything about it.

Rising prices are due to inflation, the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates, and consequences of Russia invading Ukraine, the USDA states in its most recent monthly Food Price Outlook, which forecasts retail food inflation.

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Biden DOJ Declines to Appeal Court Order Blocking Reparations for Non-White Farmers

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday failed to formally file an appeal in federal court against an injunction that was issued against one of the most controversial aspects of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, leaving the future of planned reparations for non-White farmers in doubt, as reported by Politico.

Monday was the deadline for the DOJ to do so, 60 days after federal judges ultimately ruled that the $4 billion program, which would forgive the debts of exclusively non-White farmers, was unconstitutional and thus could not be implemented. The measure was one of many elements of the bill passed by Congress and signed into law by Joe Biden in March.

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Florida Citrus Industry Yields Down in 2020-2021 Season

Close up of oranges

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that citrus growers in Florida produced under the expected yield for the 2020-2021 growing season that ended on Monday.

According to a release by the USDA on Monday, the total yield of all oranges in 2020-2021 was 52.8 million 90-pound boxes, 4.2 million fewer boxes than what the pre-season forecast in October 2020 predicted at 57 million.

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In Wake of Beef Supplier Attack, Wittman Co-Signs Agriculture Intelligence Measures Act

Rob Wittman and Tom Cotton

Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Virginia-01) was one of six Republicans last week who cosigned a bill that would create an Office of Intelligence in the Department of Agriculture. The bill was originally introduced by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas-02) last fall, but the current House version, HR 1625, has gradually gained Republican cosigners this spring.

“Two weeks ago, JBS, an international meat supplier, fell victim to a severe cyber attack,” Wittman explained in a Friday newsletter. “This marks the second attack targeting the production of American commodities, such as gasoline and food. This attack highlights the threat cyberattacks potentially pose to the American food supply chain.

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Commentary: President Trump’s Workfare Reforms of Food Stamps Will Boost Economic Empowerment, Lower Unemployment Even Further

Long-awaited changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) being unveiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Trump administration are once again making obtaining work a key emphasis of the program by conforming to statutory requirements that single, work capable people with no dependents between the ages of 18 and 49 are required to work in order to qualify for benefits.

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Hundreds Of Federal Employees Will Be Moved Out Of Washington, D.C.

moving

by Tim Pearce   The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving two agencies and roughly 700 federal employees out of Washington, D.C., to save money and improve the department’s service to taxpayers. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Thursday that the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and…

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