Organic agriculture sales up 31 percent in three years
While still a small sector of U.S. agriculture, organic agriculture is booming, reported the USDA on Thursday. Sales totaled $9.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 31 percent in three years, and 29 percent of organic farmers say they plan to expand production. There are more farms and more land in organic production — 16,585 farms and 5.5 million certified acres — than ever before.
Trump, Biden debate source of billions in aid to farmers
President Trump took credit for billions of dollars in trade war payments to U.S. farmers during the final presidential debate on Thursday. “I just gave $28 billion to our farmers,” said Trump. “Taxpayers’ money,” interjected Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the only reference to agriculture, lasting less than a minute, in the two debates between the candidates.
Federal payments offset declines in farm revenue
Government payments have improved the outlook for farm finances, but like the general economy, that outlook remains highly uncertain amid the pandemic, said a Federal Reserve report on Thursday.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
‘Extreme’ adjustments: As extreme rainfall of 2 or 3 inches at a time becomes more common across the Midwest, farmers are looking for ways to adapt to the changing climate, including doing less springtime tillage, planting more cover crops to prevent erosion, and changing their mix of crops to suit the evolving weather. (Farm and Dairy)
Bags are back: Coronavirus-wary grocery shoppers are seeking packaged citrus fruit — in netting or reusable containers — to avoid handling fruit that may have been touched by other consumers, say growers. (The Packer)
‘Worked to death’: Latino farmworkers in California’s Imperial Valley, who live among industrialized farms with jobs that bring “low wages, poor nutrition, and scant access to healthcare,” have one of the highest death rates in the country from Covid-19. (USA Today)
Keep ethanol at 10 percent: A group of Republican senators asked the EPA to require no more than a 10 percent mix of corn ethanol into gasoline in 2021 to help the oil industry cope with the steep decline in fuel sales due to the pandemic. (Reuters)
Ag consultant dies: Steve Kopperud, a Washington consultant on food and livestock issues and former senior vice president of American Feed Industry Association, died on Monday during a trip to Minneapolis. (Brownfield Ag News)