Black U.S. farmers awaiting billions in promised debt relief

BOYDTON, Va. — U.S. farmers of color are battling in the courts to save a $4 billion debt relief program approved by Congress. Congress approved the debt relief for 16,000 farmers of color in March as part of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package. The funding was intended to remedy past discrimination in U.S. Department of Agriculture loan programs. White farmers have sued, arguing that the relief is discriminatory. The USDA’s history of discrimination is so pervasive that many Black farmers call the government agency “the last plantation.” They’re now fighting with the USDA to defend the debt relief program.

OPEC steadily adds back production as economy recovers

FRANKFURT, Germany — OPEC and its allies are adding more oil back to the market as demand recovers from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. The oil producing cartel and its allies agreed during an online meeting Wednesday to stick to plans and add back 400,000 barrels of oil per day from Oct. 1. The group, known as OPEC+, is gingerly restoring deep cuts made last year, when lockdowns and travel restrictions caused fuel demand and prices to crater. De facto cartel leader Saudi Arabia has wanted to avoid a sudden price dip from adding too much oil back too soon. Prices fell ahead of Wednesday’s meeting but rose afterward to trade little changed on the day.

U.S. asks Tesla how Autopilot responds to emergency vehicles

DETROIT — The U.S. government’s highway safety agency wants detailed information on how Tesla’s Autopilot system detects and responds to emergency vehicles that are handling traffic crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made the request in an 11-page letter to the electric car maker that was dated Tuesday. The letter is part of an investigation into how the company’s partially automated driving system behaves when it encounters first responder vehicles. The agency also added a 12th crash to its probe in which a Tesla on Autopilot hit a parked Florida Highway Patrol cruiser Saturday on an interstate highway near downtown Orlando. Tesla has to respond by Oct. 22 or seek an extension. The agency says it can fine Tesla more than $114 million if it fails to comply.

Kansas City Southern takeover vote delayed after bid gutted

OMAHA, Neb. — A planned shareholder vote on Canadian National’s $33.6 billion offer has been delayed after regulators rejected a key part of the plan, so now Kansas City Southern railroad can consider all of its options, including a competing $31 billion offer from Canadian Pacific Railway. While both Kansas City Southern and Canadian National expressed disappointment in Tuesday’s ruling from the Surface Transportation Board, Canadian Pacific officials expressed optimism Wednesday that they will be able to consummate the deal they first announced back in March after months of back and forth. KCS shareholders had been set to vote on the CN deal on Friday.

Stocks end with tiny gains, enough to nudge Nasdaq to record

NEW YORK — Stocks inched mostly higher on Wall Street Wednesday, enough to nudge the Nasdaq composite index to an all-time high. The S&P 500 gave up nearly all of a midday gain and ended just 1 point higher, or less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq added 0.3% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave back 0.1%. Small-company stocks did better than the rest of the market. Markets remain quiet ahead of Friday’s jobs report and the Labor Day holiday in the U.S. on Monday. Bond prices were stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 1.30%.

Small businesses face slow recovery after Ida

NEW YORK — Small businesses are struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, facing days or weeks without power and Internet, storm damage and difficulty communicating with clients or customers. Experts say there are several ways to begin to recover from a natural disaster, including low-interest natural disaster loans from the government and insurance claims. But first and foremost, an owner should make sure all staff and their families are safe. More than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi were left without power as Ida pushed through on Sunday into Monday. Officials said some areas could have no power for weeks.

The Associated Press