USDA organic cost-share program fails to reach some farmers

Since the cost-share program was created in 2002, approximately $60 million has been allocated to it. But due to a series of recent hiccups that have kept funds from reaching farmers, a large sum of that money remains available.

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April 24, 2017

CDC fund not used for zumba and massages, agency says

I submitted a FOIA request to the agency on March 10, asking for financial documents that would substantiate the allegations of frivolous spending. On April 20, the agency responded that no such document exists.
March 16, 2017

Claiming trade secrets, FDA won’t say who received contaminated fruit

The FDA is refusing to say which companies received recalled shipments of Egyptian strawberries contaminated with Hepatitis B last year — an act the agency defends as protecting companies’ trade secrets.
February 28, 2017

The FAA wants $2.3 million and 28 years for airspace hazard records

Some government agencies just hate releasing their records. The FBI and the USDA recently have proved they’ll do just about anything to skirt transparent recordkeeping, and I’d like to add the Federal Aviation Administration to that list.


February 10, 2017

Applause due for APHIS blowback

Let’s hear a round of applause for the journalists and advocates who rushed to the rescue when the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service pulled inspection and enforcement data from its website last week
January 31, 2017

Begrudgingly, I’ll test drive FOIAonline

The U.S. government has been pushing hard recently for requesters to file FOIAs through its own centralized portal, known as FOIAonline, instead of sending requests from personal or work email accounts.
January 28, 2017

The runaround, the spokesman

On Jan. 25, I filed a FOIA request with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, which in recent days has been under fire for ordering scientists not to speak to the public about their work, then later reversing course and lifting the gag order
November 1, 2016

Referendum could protect against ‘Elevator Man’ swindles

The victims of Bobby Johnson — the infamous North Texas swindler of grain elevator fame — likely understand the benefit of entering into grain insurance programs.