**Senator Debbie Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Senate Ag Committee, is questioning whether Sam Clovis, President Trump’s expected nominee as USDA's Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, has the chops for the job.

As REE under secretary, Clovis would have the title of chief scientist and would oversee the Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Ag, Economic Research Service, and National Ag Statistics Service.

Stabenow says she has "strong concerns" Clovis isn’t qualified and has "many questions about his views on climate change and providing public investment in crop insurance and education."

**Senate appropriators have agreed to provide new farm bill funding to cotton and dairy producers, potentially addressing a major challenge facing lawmakers as they consider writing a new farm bill.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal 2018 funding bill for the Ag Department and FDA that would make cottonseed eligible for the Price Loss Coverage program and overhaul the dairy industry’s Margin Protection Program to make it significantly more attractive to producers.

** Ranchers placed 16.1 percent more cattle in U.S. feedlots last month than in June 2016, making it the most for the month in more than a decade.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Friday that good profits for feedlots in June allowed them to buy more calves for fattening for sale to packing plants.

They say an increasing number of cattle in parts of the northern Plains were entering feedyards as drought grips that region.


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