The agency is lowering its projections for Florida’s orange, tangerine and tangelo output.
The USDA is now forecasting Florida will produce 44.5 million boxes of oranges this season, with 27 million boxes of Valencia oranges and 17.5 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges. Florida is also projected to produce 800,000 boxes of tangerines and tangelos.
Those early season projections were the nadir or a decades-long decline in estimated Florida citrus output, and it appears those numbers are dropping further as the season progresses.
On Wednesday, USDA analysts said Florida is expected to produce 4.1 million boxes of grapefruit. That number remains steady from December’s report, represents an uptick from the original October projection and is in line with last season’s final output. The USDA predicted Wednesday Florida will produce 3.3 million boxes of red grapefruit and 800,000 boxes of white grapefruit.
Last year’s final citrus output in Florida fell below where analysts had projected it to land in late 2020. While the 2021-22 season’s final numbers likely won’t reach the low levels seen in the 2017-18 season — due to impacts from Hurricane Irma — they are still falling well short of the rebound some experts predicted.
After the USDA released final numbers for the 2020-21 season last year, Florida Citrus Commission Chairman Steve Johnson said he was hoping for a better output in the 2021-22 season.
“Next season’s crop is on the trees, and the conditions in the groves are encouraging,” Johnson said. “With the support of state leaders who believe in Florida Citrus and recognize the important role this industry plays in our state, we head into the new season optimistic about the future.”
“I think there’s still hope. And I think all of us hope that the citrus industry can be salvaged and turned around,” he said. “That’s the behemoth. That is the backbone of our agricultural industry, and has been for decades.”
Cruz Senior Adviser Jeff Roe Spotted Hanging Out With Anti-Trump Paul Ryan At Youngkin Inauguration
Senior Adviser to Texas Senator Ted Cruz and the architect of Glenn Youngkin’s campaign for Governor, Jeff Roe, was spotted over the weekend hanging out with anti-Trump Republican Paul Ryan, during Glenn Youngkin’s inauguration as the 74th Governor of Virginia.
Youngkin was sworn in on Saturday following a GOP sweep of statewide offices that also saw the Virginia House of Delegates fall back into Republican hands. As a native Virginian running against cosmopolitan Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who has long been derided as a carpetbagger, Youngkin largely won the 2021 Election on the basis of a statewide culture war, riding the wave of a parental uprising against the radical left and their CRT indoctrination, plus the “trans-affirming” bathroom policies of Democrats and the GOP establishment that led to the violent rape of schoolgirls in Loudoun County Public Schools.
His campaign for Governor was run by Jeff Roe and Axiom Strategies, the same firm that ran Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign for President, which he ultimately lost to 45th President Donald J. Trump. At that year’s GOP convention, with Roe serving as Cruz campaign manager, a hardcore contingent of Cruz backers fought until the bitter end to subvert the will of the voters and replace Trump on top of the party’s ticket.
Cruz has once again drawn the ire of Trump supporters just recently, calling those who demonstrated against election fraud, on January 6th of last year, “terrorists” during a Congressional hearing with the Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police. Cruz hailed Capitol cops as heroes while making his remarks, neglecting to mention the fate of unarmed Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot down by a federal law enforcement officer from the other side of a locked door, during the demonstrations.
Jeff Roe has also been known as a close associate of Paul Ryan and other Wisconsin GOP establishment figures over the years, working in 2012 to help then-Governor Scott Walker beat back a recall campaign funded by big union interests that drew national attention. Walker, like Ryan, later won the admiration of the anti-Trump wing of the GOP, serving alongside Cruz as a vessel for Never Trumpism during his 2016 run for the presidency.
Though he’s no longer in Congress, Paul Ryan has remained plugged into establishment circles and has become increasingly vocal and visible following the 2020 election, joining with other GOP establishment figures, like Liz Cheney, to claim that Joe Biden won a legitimate race, despite mountains of evidence pointing to election fraud, an issue Ryan repeatedly claimed to care about during his time in Congress but failed to ever take meaningful legislative action on, even as Speaker of the House.
“President Trump lost the election. Joe Biden won the election,” Ryan told a Milwaukee ABC affiliate in 2021, as he began to reappear in corporate media headlines. “It was not rigged. It was not stolen,” Ryan continued. “Donald Trump lost the election. Joe Biden won the election. It’s really clear,” said Ryan, doubling down on his “Trump Lost, Biden Won” mantra.
After taking office, Youngkin followed through with several core campaign promises, signing executive orders to reverse Ralph Northam’s draconian mask and vaccine mandates as well as banning anti-white Critical Race Theory in Virginia schools. He also ordered the Attorney General’s office to investigate the aforementioned Loudoun County Public Schools, where officials engaged in documented cover-ups of child rape.
Despite the promising actions on his first day in office, Youngkin also included a bizarre order to form a commission on combating anti-Semitism in Virginia, echoing left-wing accusations against the GOP that anti-Semitic National Socialists are playing a key role in conservative politics. Like his work with Jeff Roe, some of Youngkin’s early staff hirings, including Never Trump former Bush official Kay Coles James of the open borders Heritage Foundation, have drawn concerns from grassroots, America First conservatives, who say GOP establishment figures, like Paul Ryan, have co-opted Youngkin’s victory and rise to national prominence, hoping to take control of the GOP away from the American people and return the party to its days of elite dominance.
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Obama Official Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Property, Wire Fraud and Scheme to Defraud US Govt
Obama’s Acting Homeland Security Inspector General Charles Edwards pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the US government.
Charles Edwards and his subordinate were indicted on 16 counts of theft and fraud, the Justice Department announced in March 2020.
“The indictment charges Charles K. Edwards, 59, of Sandy Spring, Maryland, and Murali Yamazula Venkata, 54, of Aldie, Virginia, with conspiracy to commit theft of government property and to defraud the United States, theft of government property, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The indictment also charges Venkata with destruction of records.”
The charges alleged that in addition to stealing government software and databases, Venkata helped Edwards by reconfiguring his laptop so that he could upload the stolen software.
“The indictment further alleges that, in addition to stealing DHS-OIG’s software and the sensitive government databases, Venkata and others also assisted Edwards by reconfiguring his laptop so that he could properly upload the stolen software and databases, provided troubleshooting support whenever Edwards required it, and helped him build a testing server at his residence with the stolen software and databases,” the Department of Justice said in a press release announcing the indictments. “As further part of the alleged scheme, Edwards retained software developers in India for the purpose of developing his commercial alternative of DHS-OIG’s software.”
Although Edwards left the DHS in 2013, according to the indictment he leveraged his relationship with Venkata to carry out the scheme which began in October of 2014 and continued to April of 2017.
Law & Crime reported:
The ex-watchdog who oversaw the Department of Homeland Security pleaded guilty on Friday to stealing propriety software and sensitive databases from his old job for his private business.
Charles K. Edwards, 61, served in the Obama administration as the Acting Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security between February 2008 until December 2013. He served before that time as the inspector general for the U.S. Postal Service.
During a federal court hearing on Friday morning, Edwards pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss to conspiracy to defraud the United States and theft of government property. Edwards’s sentencing date has not yet been set.
His attorney Courtney Roberts Forrest, from the firm Kaiser Dillon, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Biden Is Going to “Fix” the Meat Supply Chain? The Government Broke It Decades Ago
Elizabeth Warren and others are running around blaming inflation on greedy corporations’ “price gouging.”
Of course, this narrative falls apart when you realize producer prices are rising faster than consumer prices. If anything, producers are letting consumers gouge them by not passing on all of their rising costs.
But the “greedy corporation” narrative is great for politicians. It lets them deflect the fact that their reckless borrowing and spending is the problem.
It’s also empowering for them. Now they can come in and fix things!
But here’s a truth you’d be wise to remember — if the government is telling you it’s going to fix something, it probably broke it to begin with.
Warren isn’t the only one blaming business for inflation. Biden is on the bandwagon too. He has specifically zeroed in on meat producers.
Overall, meat prices have climbed 16 percent over the last year. Beef prices are up 20.9 percent. Biden says the problem is a lack of competition in the meatpacking industry. That’s causing “supply chain issues.”
“Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism — it’s exploitation,” Biden said.
According to a factsheet released by the Biden administration, four processing companies control 85 percent of the beef market. The largest four firms control 70 percent of the pork market and 54 percent of the poultry market.
The Biden plan is to distribute $1 billion in coronavirus relief funds to help independent meat packers expand their businesses. According to the AP, the plan would also allocate funding to train workers in the industry and improve conditions. The administration would also issue new rules for meatpackers and labeling requirements for being designated a “Product of USA.”
But a question remains – how did a few big corporations come to dominate the meatpacking industry?
Biden and other supporters of federal intervention into the economy would have you believe it’s just the inevitable march of capitalism. Greedy corporations get bigger and bigger and swallow up the “little guy.” If you believe this narrative, high meat prices stem from corporate greed and the inherent evils of the free market.
But it wasn’t “capitalism” or the greedy corporations that caused this consolidation in the meatpacking industry. It was the federal government.
The Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 mandates meat must be slaughtered and processed at a federally inspected slaughterhouse, or in a facility inspected in a state with meat inspection laws at least as strict as federal requirements. Small processors found it difficult if not impossible to meet the federal requirements. The cost was simply too high. Of course, large corporations can bear regulatory costs. As a result, the meat processing industry went through massive consolidation after the enaction of this act.
Since the passage of the Wholesome Meat Act, the number of slaughterhouses dropped from more than 10,000 to 2,766 in 2019. Today, instead of hundreds of companies processing meat, three corporations control virtually the entire industry.
Federal law also prohibits the interstate sale of custom processed meat – meat from an animal slaughtered and processed at a facility where an inspector is not required to be present to observe the slaughtering and conduct an ante mortem and post mortem inspection of the animal.
We constantly hear about supply chain issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. (More accurately, government response to the pandemic.) But the lack of adequate processing capacity due to consolidation was already causing supply issues back in 2015. A report by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund sounded the warning at that time.
“The bottleneck caused by the lack of slaughterhouses has frustrated small livestock operations in getting their products to market and has led to an inability to meet the overall demand for locally produced meat. The 1967 Act has been one of the worst laws ever passed for local food; what’s more, it was known from the beginning that the Act would have the effect it did.”
The impact on small meat processing businesses was apparent within years of the passage of the act. In 1971, the Small Business Administration (SBA) presented a paper to the United States Senate Select Committee on Small Business titled: “The Effects of the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 upon Small Business – A Study of One Industry’s Economic Problems Resulting from Environmental-Consumer Legislation Prepared by the Small Business Administration.” The paper warned that the cost of compliance would have adverse impacts on small-scale slaughterhouses and packing plants, saying “the Wholesome Meat Act was as much of a disaster for many small meat firms as a hurricane.”
“[T]he meat industries are among the more competitive in the American economy. But the Wholesome Meat Act could lead to a significant diminution of competition. How many firms would have to shut down because they could no longer compete due to the new law? … Would the Wholesome Act lead, however unwittingly, to an undesirable increase in concentration in the meat industries? Questions such as these, highly fundamental questions, were barely raised during the legislative process.”
It comes as no surprise that these regulations caused a massive consolidation of the meat processing industry. And it’s no surprise that this consolidation has led to supply chain breakdowns. Centralized systems are brittle systems. They lack redundancy. They lack escape valves. They are prone to fail under stress. This is true of supply chains, economies and governments.
In other words, this was entirely predictable.
But now Biden wants to fix what the federal government broke by throwing more money at it.
Here’s an idea: why not just do away with federal control?
Supporters of federal intervention will scream “Safety!” But if the Wholesome Meat Act was really about food safety, it doesn’t even deliver on its own terms.
By concentrating meat processing in relatively few facilities, the likelihood of widespread contamination increases. A single sick cow can infect thousands of pounds of beef in one of these corporate slaughterhouses. In a more diversified, decentralized system, outbreaks generally remain limited to small regions. Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense report said, “The Wholesome Meat Act has not led to the production of safer meat today; there are more recalls than ever for positive pathogen tests in meat products.” You seldom saw nationwide recalls in the era of diversified meat processing.
More generally, states with “food freedom” laws that allow small producers to sell food outside of the established regulatory structure have not seen increases in foodborne illnesses. According to Forbes, representatives from health departments in Wyoming, North Dakota and Utah reported exactly zero outbreaks of foodborne illnesses connected to a business operating under a food freedom law. Meanwhile, “Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated and advised the public on 24 multistate outbreaks of foodborne illness, the highest in over a decade, with federally regulated romaine lettuce, chicken salad, and even Honey Smacks Cereal all linked to outbreaks that hospitalized Americans.”
In a sense, Biden is correct – the U.S. needs more players in the meat industry. But the government created the problem and there is zero self-reflection or ownership of responsibility. Only promises to fix what the feds already broke.
This article was originally published at Michael.Maharrey.com
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