The eastern New Mexico town of Portales is preparing for its 39th annual peanut festival this weekend. But the festivities may be overshadowed by anxiety over the shuttering of a local plant at the heart of a national peanut butter recall, The Associated Press reports.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., wrote a letter to USDA chief Tom Vilsack demanding that the department "remove all materials, training and recruitment efforts" he claims are used to pressure people to collect food stamps, The Daily Caller reports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $1.2 million to several Rocky Mountain front projects aimed at controlling weeds, promoting fish-friendly irrigation ditches and testing mid-sized wind turbines in Cascade County, The Associated Press reports.
Federal regulators who shut down a Central California slaughterhouse after receiving an animal welfare video were investigating Tuesday whether beef from sick cows reached the human food supply, The Associated Press reports.
The government slashed its expectations for U.S. corn and soybean production for the second consecutive month Friday, predicting what could be the lowest average corn yield in more than 15 years as the worst drought in decades scorches major farm states, The Associated Press reports.
Congress awarded the Agriculture Department $62 million in 2010 and $40 million in 2011 for security to make sure its computer systems were up-to-date and safe. But the department needs to be cautious in how it is allocating the money, according to a report by its own internal watchdog, the Office of Inspector General.
A Recovery Act program designed to develop water and waste disposal systems in rural areas has been slower than expected in adding jobs, according to a report by the Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General.
Created to help fund projects in towns smaller than 10,000 people, the Water and Waste Disposal System Loan and Grants Program has only added about 415 jobs, despite estimates it could add up to 3,384 jobs. Projects have been slow to get off the ground, sometimes taking as long as 30 months to begin after funding became available.
A program designed to compensate farmers for environmental conservation is using flawed metrics to determine payouts, according to a study by the Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General.
The Conservation Reserve Program multiplies the soil productivity rate with the local soil rental rate to determine how much to pay farmers who engage in programs like planting grass cover to prevent soil erosion and chemical runoff.
A new Agriculture Department Inspector General report finds poor oversight of stimulus funding for the National Resources Conservation Service caused the service to overspend by $1.3 million for its watershed protection operations. The discrepancy arose from the NRCS not requiring a local sponsor to pay an agreed share, the report found.
The IG suggested the NRCS needs to better specify the terms for awarding contracts and ensure that all required terms are set forth in agreements, the report said.