Latest U.S. Department of Agriculture News

Leader of largest US organic food fraud gets 10-year term

Aug. 16, 2019 9:24 PM EDT

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A judge on Friday sentenced the mastermind of the largest known organic food fraud scheme in U.S. history to 10 years in prison, saying he cheated thousands of customers into buying products they didn't want. U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said Randy Constant orchestrated a...

Farmers use tech to squeeze every drop from Colorado River

Aug. 13, 2019 8:26 PM EDT

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — A drone soared over a blazing hot cornfield in northeastern Colorado on a recent morning, snapping images with an infrared camera to help researchers decide how much water they would give the crops the next day. After a brief, snaking flight above the field, the drone landed and the...

Animals rights complaint details dog deaths at Johns Hopkins

Aug. 13, 2019 7:39 AM EDT

BALTIMORE (AP) — An animal rights group has filed a federal complaint against Johns Hopkins University researchers over a lab experiment in which nine dogs had to be euthanized after spinal surgeries. The Baltimore Sun reports that Stop Animal Exploitation Now wants the U.S. Agriculture Department to...

What's on school menus this fall? Trade mitigation

Aug. 11, 2019 12:22 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — School lunch menus already have Meatless Mondays and Taco Tuesdays. Now some may get Trade Mitigation Thursdays. This fall, some U.S. school cafeterias are expecting shipments of free food, one little known consequence of President Donald Trump's trade disputes. The products are coming from...

Mining region struggles as it faces loss of biggest employer

Aug. 10, 2019 4:15 PM EDT

METALINE FALLS, Wash. (AP) — Times are tough in a rural county in northeast Washington state because one of the region's biggest employers is shutting down. The Pend Oreille Mine, just north of Metaline Falls, closed on July 31, at a cost of about 200 family wage jobs in an area of less than 1,000...

Union: Deal with USDA eases impacts of Kansas City moves

Aug. 9, 2019 6:07 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — An employees union says it has a deal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lessen the burden of moving to the Kansas City area for employees of two agencies. The American Federation of Government Employees says the agreement allows employees of two USDA research agencies to continue...

Union: Mulvaney comments confirm agency moves meant to cut

Aug. 6, 2019 6:52 PM EDT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal employees union charged Tuesday that recent comments by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney confirm the Trump administration's "grand strategy" to cut the federal workforce by relocating agency offices out of Washington. Mulvaney said last week that the U.S....

Trump proposal seeks to crack down on food stamp 'loophole'

Jul. 28, 2019 4:06 AM EDT

Residents signing up for food stamps in Minnesota are provided a brochure about domestic violence, but it doesn't matter if they even read the pamphlet. The mere fact it was made available could allow them to qualify for government food aid if their earnings or savings exceed federal limits. As odd as that might...

Tiny beetles munch through endangered songbird habitat

Jul. 26, 2019 8:17 PM EDT

CLARKDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Matt Johnson treks along an Arizona riverbank and picks out a patch of yellow-tinged tamarisks. He sweeps a cloth net across the trees, hoping to scoop up beetles that munch on their evergreen-like leaves. He counts spiders, ants and leafhoppers among the catch and few beetles or...

USDA rule would cut food stamp benefits for 3.1 million

Jul. 23, 2019 5:23 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 3.1 million people would lose food stamp benefits under the Trump administration's proposal to tighten automatic eligibility requirements for the food stamp program. The Agriculture Department said Tuesday that the rule would close "a loophole" that enables people receiving only...