Secretary Vilsack announced Tuesday more than 66.5-million dollars in funding for research and extension activities for specialty crops and organic agriculture through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. The projects funded by these programs will build on USDA support for local and regional markets - which will help the rural economy grow while improving access to healthy food for millions of children and supplying farmers markets, restaurants and other businesses with fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables.

The Japan Times reports chief negotiators involved in the Trans Pacific Partnership resumed negotiations early this week. May is apparently the deadline to conclude TPP talks - as the U.S. gears up for the 2016 presidential election - but there are still gaps over controversial issues within the negotiations. Japan’s Chief TPP Negotiator said prolonged U.S. debate on Trade Promotion Authority can’t help but affect the overall negotiations. Other TPP countries are watching what happens with TPA before making major concessions on their sensitive issues.