Latest U.S. Department of Agriculture News

USDA approves Indiana's plan for commercial hemp growing

Oct. 26, 2020 7:39 AM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Indiana's plan to allow farmers to commercially grow and process hemp. The plan will take the Office of the Indiana State Chemist’s pilot hemp program and transition it to one allowing for commercial hemp production. Previously,...

Maine farmers eligible for federal assistance due to drought

Oct. 21, 2020 10:52 AM EDT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The federal government is making Maine's farmers eligible for disaster relief assistance due to the drought that has affected the state. Most of Maine is facing extreme or severe levels of drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor. U.S. Department of Agriculture...

Hawaii aquaculture reached record sales of $83.2M last year

Oct. 20, 2020 11:33 AM EDT

HONOLULU (AP) — Farm-raised marine animal sales in Hawaii last year reached $83.2 million, breaking a record, a new federal report said. Aquaculture sales quoted in the report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture eclipsed the high of $78.2 million set in 2014. The increase appeared driven by sales of...

UP hospital awaiting decision on key federal loan

Oct. 19, 2020 6:43 AM EDT

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (AP) — A health care provider that is a major employer in an Upper Peninsula county is waiting for a decision on a $16.9 million federal loan. Dickinson County Healthcare System operates a hospital near the Michigan-Wisconsin border and has hundreds of employees. It has been grappling...

Rural Maine water systems to make fixes with federal help

Oct. 18, 2020 12:54 PM EDT

GARDINER, Maine (AP) — The federal government is providing a pair of rural Maine water systems more than $5.7 million to help make improvements. U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is giving the city of Gardiner more than $3.5 million and the Livermore Falls Water District $2.2 million. Most...

W.Va. man partakes in program to improve wildlife habitat

Oct. 17, 2020 9:00 AM EDT

IRELAND, W.Va. (AP) — At age 79, John Cobb doesn’t have to spend six to eight hours a day working to improve wildlife habitat. He does, though, because he wants to. Like an ever-growing number of West Virginians, Cobb participates in a program that reimburses private landowners for turning patches...

Governor extends state of emergency until Nov. 15

Oct. 15, 2020 4:28 PM EDT

BARRE, Vt. (AP) — Gov. Phil Scott on Thursday extended Vermont's coronavirus-related state of emergency until Nov. 15. Scott said the state emergency not only helps the state to suppress the virus but it keeps protections in place to mitigate economic hardships, including expanded housing and meal delivery...

Lawmakers: New Mexico farmers shortchanged on disaster aid

Oct. 14, 2020 6:52 PM EDT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's congressional delegation is calling for more oversight of a federal agency after some farmers and ranchers were shortchanged on disaster aid and Hispanic farmers who rely on traditional acequias to irrigate their crops have been told they’re ineligible for...

Mike Espy speaks to reporters, in Jackson, Miss., prior to winning the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. After his victory Tuesday, he will face Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Libertarian candidate Jimmy Edwards in November. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Espy: Hyde-Smith 'disrespecting' Mississippi by not debating

Oct. 14, 2020 6:13 PM EDT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Democratic challenger Mike Espy on Wednesday criticized Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith for not accepting invitations to debate him. Espy said the incumbent senator is depriving Mississippi voters of a chance to make a direct comparison between them on issues. He said, for...

USDA predicts slightly smaller Kansas corn harvest

Oct. 12, 2020 1:00 PM EDT

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers are expected to harvest slightly less corn than than last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said this year’s crop is forecast at just under 800 million bushels, down 2% from last year, The Hutchinson News reports. For Haven farmers, Bob Bacon and his...