AGRICULTURE

Updated at 5:26 p.m. ET

China's leaders followed President Trump in taking another step toward a new trade war, announcing a plan to put steep tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. imports. China's proposed 25 percent tariffs would target a wide range of American products, from soybeans and whiskey to airplanes and cars.

"China currently buys about $14 billion worth of American soybeans each year — almost a third of the entire U.S. crop," NPR's Dan Charles reports for our Newscast unit. "Prices for U.S. soybeans tumbled by 3 to 5 percent" on the news, Dan adds.

While Vermont is by far the highest producing maple syrup state in the United States, 70 percent of the world's maple syrup is made in Québec.

And that's where the benchmark global price for bulk maple syrup — the price paid by processors to Vermont's maple syrup producers — is set each year by a powerful, but legal, cartel.

A row of buildings on Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut, in 2013.
John Phelan / Creative Commons

The city of Hartford, Connecticut, is planning changes around its new downtown baseball stadium. The once-busy, historic North End neighborhood now has a lot of vacant lots and boarded-up buildings. We check in with Hartford residents about what should come next, what the area needs and what might be lost.

As the nation's dairy farmers struggle through their fourth year of depressed milk prices, concerns are rising that many are becoming depressed themselves. The outlook for the next year is so bleak, it's heightening worries — especially in the Northeast — about farmer suicides.

Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative with about 1,000 members, saw three farmers take their own lives in the past three years. The most recent was last month. It's a very small sample, but very sharp and disturbing increase.

Bok choy and lettuce from a Massachusetts farm.
Tim Sackton / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/sackton

Massachusetts residents who have been using what used to be called food stamps to buy fruits and veggies from farmers markets and farm stands have been getting a bonus for those purchases.

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