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January 2021, Volume 27, Number 1

US Ag, Trade

Cash receipts from the sale of crops and livestock were $358 billion in 2020, down from $370 billion in 2019, due to lower prices for major crops associated with trade disputes with China and the global recession. Net farm income is nonetheless exceeded $100 billion due to government aid of $50 billion.

President-elect Biden named ex-USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to lead USDA again; Vilsack led USDA for eight years in the Obama administration. Between administrations, Vilsack earned $1 million a year as a lobbyist for the dairy industry, raising fears among some that USDA will not counter growing consolidation in farming and food-related industries.

Europe. The 14-chapter book edited Rye and O’Reilly explains that most international migrants are in urban areas, but rural areas have emerged as new destinations for migrants. The 2008-09 financial crisis, the 2015 migrant influx, and political changes, from Brexit to populism and nationalism, highlighted the fact that migration increasingly affects rural areas that previously were sources of internal rural-urban migration.

The Rye-O’Reilly book covers topics that range from Romanians in Spanish agriculture to migrants in the Scandinavian Arctic. The stepwise nature of migration is illustrated by Poles going to work on the German and Norwegian farms, while Ukrainians fill jobs in Polish agriculture. The emphasis is on the need for migrants in rural areas of Europe, and their often precarious existence.

Rye, Johann. and O’Reilly, Karen. Eds. 2021. International Labour Migration to Europe’s Rural Regions. Routledge.

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