After years of shrinking, Conservation Reserve to expand this year
The federal program that pays landowners to take environmentally fragile land out of crop production to prevent erosion, protect water quality, and preserve wildlife habitat will expand for the first time this year after losing ground annually since 2007. The USDA said on Monday that it expected a net gain in acreage in the Conservation Reserve Program, which was retooled in April to help slow climate change.
China headed for record purchases of U.S. ag exports
Exporters sold $15.2 billion worth of American farm products to China in the first six months of 2021, raising the possibility of record sales this year, wrote economist David Widmar on Monday on the Agricultural Economic Insights blog. Sales are on pace to hit $33.7 billion, with some of the most active months for sales — during and after the fall harvest — still to come.
Today’s Quick Hits
Online marketing: New e-commerce apps have allowed farmers to cope with the pandemic by selling their fruits and vegetables digitally rather than setting up stands at farmers markets. (The Verge)
Paraquat losing its punch: Ryegrass, which is one of the worst weeds in Australia and already tolerant of glyphosate, is developing resistance to the herbicide paraquat. (ABC Rural)
Beyond forest management: In an era of hotter, larger, and more frequent wildfires, ecologists in California say the focus should shift from forest management to “home hardening” and community protection, including making structures more resistant to fire and improving early warning and evacuation systems for towns. (Los Angeles Times)
Pest declines: Fewer invasive spotted lanternflies, a menace to trees and plants including grapevines, have been found in the Philadelphia region this summer, possibly because more birds and predatory insects are eating them. (Billy Penn)
No mask, no inspection: Starting Wednesday, USDA inspectors will work at meat plants in counties with “substantial” or “high” community transmission of Covid-19 only if the plants’ workers follow CDC guidance on mask wearing. (Food Safety and Inspection Service)