Trump plan lowers quality of school meals, say former ag secretaries
Former agriculture secretaries Ann Veneman and Dan Glickman, co-chairs of an obesity prevention initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said the Trump administration proposals announced last week “would reduce the nutritional quality of foods served to children in both school breakfast and lunch programs.”
Across the country, a call grows for moratoriums on huge livestock farms
As the number of massive livestock farms balloons in states like Iowa, Maryland, and Nebraska, communities are scrambling to figure out how to control the pollution and waste produced by thousands — or tens of thousands — of animals. In some places, officials have opted to ban the mega-farms altogether, and the idea of a moratorium on the biggest animal farms is gaining support in local governments, statehouses, and even in Congress.
Biggest rise in restaurant and takeaway food prices in a decade
USDA says prices for “food away from home,” a category that includes restaurants, carry-out food and institutional meals, rose 3.1 percent in 2019 — the largest increase since 3.5 percent in 2009.
Talks & Eats – Manhattan – Surf ‘n’ Turf: Can our seafood survive Big Ag and climate change?
As oceans warm, our major fisheries are shifting. At the same time, farm runoff is contributing to dead zones from the Gulf of Mexico to Long Island. Both of these issues – climate change and farming practices – affect the health of ocean ecosystems and, ultimately, the seafood that winds up on our plates.
Join moderator and best-selling author Paul Greenberg for a stimulating discussion Feb. 10, 2020, 7:30 p.m., at Subculture in Greenwich Village. VIP reception with drinks and bites beforehand.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Wisconsin governor proposes rural package (Associated Press): After calling a special legislative session for this week, Gov. Tony Evers detailed an $8.5-million package of bills to help rural Wisconsin, which has lost a third of its dairy farms since 2011.
Western monarch butterfly at historic low (Bay Area News Group): Only 29,418 western monarch butterflies were tallied during an annual count along the California coast, the second year in a row that numbers were at an historic low.
Gates launches ag project (Devex): The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will create a new nonprofit, dubbed Gates Ag One, to accelerate scientific breakthroughs to improve crop productivity for small farmers and help them adapt to climate change.
Scientists leave federal agencies (Washington Post): More than 1,600 federal scientists left the government during President Trump’s first two years in office, a drop of 1.5 percent, and one-fifth of the high-level appointee positions in science are vacant.
Settlement sought in Roundup cases (DTN/Progressive Farmer): Bayer said it was engaged in discussions with a court-appointed mediator about a possible settlement of lawsuits that allege its Roundup herbicide is to blame for cancer cases.
Maple syrup from the U.S. Northwest (Northwest News Network): Vermont is the top producer of maple syrup, but Neil McLeod has been producing syrup since 2011 in Washington State, tapping bigleaf maple trees native to the Pacific Coast.
ON THE USDA CALENDAR
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue meets EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Trade Commissioner Paul Hogan and EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides as part of five-day European tour, Brussels.
– National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition holds annual meeting, through Wednesday, McAllen, Texas.
– International Dairy Food Association hosts Dairy Forum 2020, through Wednesday, Scottsdale, Arizona.
– Farm Journal holds Hemp Summit, through Tuesday, Chicago.
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. ambassador Pete Hoekstra to visit an agricultural research station and Koppert Cress, The Netherlands.
– House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “To review implementation of farm bill conservation programs,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.
– USDA issues State Stories, noon ET. The report provides “an assessment of winter weather on crops, livestock, fruit trees; consideration for moisture, snow cover, temperatures, and crop condition; and the effect of weather, insects, diseases, etc., on crops and livestock.” The material is republished in the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin.
– Farm Credit Council annual meeting, through Thursday, San Francisco.
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue meets FAO director-general Qu Dongyu and World Food Program executive director David Beasley, Rome.
– American Enterprise Institute holds panel discussion on the agriculture and rural development proposals from presidential candidates, 9:30 a.m. ET, Washington.
– Deadline for public comment on USDA guidelines for state and tribal regulation of industrial hemp cultivation. The deadline for comments on the interim final rule, issued on Oct. 31, originally was Dec. 31 but USDA extended the comment period 30 days.
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue meets Italian Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova and takes part in a pasta-cooking demonstration to promote U.S. farm exports, Rome.
– USDA releases semi-annual Cattle, monthly Agricultural Prices and annual Sheep and Goats reports, 3 p.m. ET.
– Northeast Organic Farmers Association holds New Jersey winter conference, New Brunswick.
– American Seed Trade Association holds annual Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference, through Feb. 4, Monterey, California.
– Groundhog Day. By folklore, if the groundhog sees its shadow today, it means six more weeks of winter; if it doesn’t see its shadow, it’s only six weeks until spring. The U.S. epicenter of Groundhog Day is Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with a celebration dating from 1887. Somewhere, a cable TV channel is running the comedy movie “Groundhog Day” today; most appropriately as an all-day marathon.