**In the U.S. Apple Association’s first storage report of the season, fresh apple holdings on December 1 totaled 118.3 million cartons, 15% above year-ago levels, with red delicious and galas leading the way.

Thepacker.com reports, the monthly Market report also shows the total number of apples in storage at 161.7 million bushels, 17% over a year ago and 3% higher than the 5-year average.

Washington state accounted for about 85% of all fresh U.S. apples.

**The USDA is set to make $550 Million in funding available next year for high-speed broadband internet infrastructure in rural America.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the availability of a second round of funding for the Reconnect Pilot Program funding appropriated by Congress.

USDA will make available up to $200 million for grants, $200 million for 50/50 grant/loan combinations, and up to $200 million for low-interest loans.

The application window will open January 31st, and will close no later than March 16th.

**Monsanto is back in court, but not for a Roundup lawsuit.

This time the company has pleaded guilty of spraying a banned pesticide called Penncap-M in Hawaii.

According to modernfarmer.com, Monsanto conducted research in 2014 in Maui by spraying the pesticide that contains an ingredient called methyl parathion, classified as “extremely hazardous” by the World Health Organization and is banned in most countries including the U.S.

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