**The Senate has confirmed Rick Perry as the nation’s 14th Secretary of Energy, a department he once vowed to abolish.

He was sworn in following the 62-37 vote.

During his confirmation hearing, the former Texas governor told lawmakers he regrets his statement about doing away with DOE and believes it performs critical functions, including protecting the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

**As Congress begins to work seriously on crafting a new farm bill, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway says when it comes to budget cuts, “we gave at the office.”

Conaway gave a speech to farmers and ag leaders Friday morning at Commodity Classic in San Antonio, and followed up with a press conference to farm media. His overarching message in both forums was the same, however: To avoid adding more uncertainty to an already strained farm economy, the next farm bill must be done on time.

**The first 2017 detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial U.S. flock has been confirmed in Tennessee.

According to the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an H7 strain of HPAI was detected in a flock of over 73,000 commercial chickens.

Testing is underway to determine the “N-type” of the virus.

Samples taken from the facility confirmed the detection after the flock began experiencing increased mortality. The facility has been quarantined and will be depopulated. The birds will not enter the food system. This is the first HPAI detection in a commercial flock in almost 14 months.

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