**As you may have heard, controversial nominee Sam Clovis is no longer under consideration for a USDA undersecretary position after withdrawing his name from consideration last week.

According to Agri-Pulse, Clovis’ nomination to be USDA’s Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics was controversial from the beginning based on comments he made as a conservative blogger and talk radio host.

Recently, scrutiny grew as revelations linked him to the investigation into Russian interference in U.S. elections.

**Industry groups have complained for years that the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies give in too easily and ‘settle’ when sued by environmental groups.

As reported in Agri-Pulse, Critics say the executive branch is too quick to reach agreements with the litigants, whether it be meeting a Clean Air Act deadline or deciding whether a certain plant or animal species should be listed as endangered.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently issued a directive lauded by supporters, but criticized by environmental groups as redundant and, in at least one aspect, illegal.

**Some large grain trading firms are cutting spending as a result of low commodity prices. According to Brownfield, Archer Daniels Midland plans to spend hundreds of millions less in reaction to the world glut of corn, soybeans and wheat.

Five straight years of bumper crops have kept grain prices low, squeezing farmers and the companies that buy their grains and soybeans.

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