• It’s been nearly two weeks since the USDA started taking enrollment in four new farm bill programs for disaster assistance.

    The USDA reports more than 10,000 applications have been received so far from producers. Approximately 95 percent of the applications were for the Livestock Forage Program-known as LFP. That program provides payments to eligible producers for grazing losses.

    Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says since the sign ups started, 60 percent of the applications have been approved. He encouraged farmers impacted by drought, snowstorms or other weather events to contact their local Farm Service Agency office.

    The USDA will continue working through the springs and summer to assist producers who have experienced disaster losses.

  • President Obama left Japan on Friday with gaps still existing as part of the ongoing negotiations regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership.

    The administration said they had made progress in the negotiations in the manner of getting a better idea of what the TPP package may look like. Talks focused on vehicles and six agriculture sectors; beef, pork, dairy, wheat, sugar and rice.

    A Whitehouse official said the negotiations continued around the clock during the President’s stop in Japan. No specific details of the talks were made available.

    TPP negotiators are scheduled to meet again in mid-May.