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**Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA is investing $272-million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure for 270,000 people in rural communities in 37 states and Puerto Rico.

Vilsack says as people in many parts of the nation battle drought and fires, there’s never been a more urgent need for assistance.

USDA is financing 114 projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to help improve rural infrastructure.

**As inventories began to decline, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says ethanol output topped the million-barrel a day mark for the first time in two months for the week ending on October 8.

It’s the first time production averaged more than one million barrels a day since July 30.

The Midwest, the nation’s largest producing region, averaged 977,000 barrels a day, up from 937,000 barrels the previous week, the highest level since July 16.

**California agricultural interests are welcoming the U.S. trade representative’s recent call for a “new approach” to the U.S.-China relationship.

Ambassador Katherine Tai called for engaging China on trade while defending “American economic interests from harmful policies.”

China has pledged to buy $40 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products annually, but wide-ranging tariffs that affect California commodities remain in place.