In a sign of rising tensions with the farm community, the Trump administration withdrew staffers from a privately run tour of Midwestern corn and soybean fields after a government employee received a threat.

The latest monthly survey of bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states indicates a shrinking rural economy, and three-quarters of bankers said President Donald Trump's trade policies are having a negative effect on their local economies.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told U.S. lawmakers in March his ultimate goal is to reform the WTO and he sees the appellate body as leverage. “If you are not willing to be bold and use the only leverage you have with the WTO, which is to say that we won’t approve the appointment of appellate body members without reform, then I don’t know any other way to do it.”

Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said moves by former Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt contributed to less ethanol being blended in 2018 than the year before —breaking a streak of increasing ethanol usage that stretched back more than two decades.