Beef and pork exports run ahead of 2019 pace despite pandemic
Exports of U.S.-grown pork and beef are flowing at a higher volume than in 2019, with a sales value of $4.86 billion through April. Strong meat exports are a sign that the United States is a reliable supplier worldwide despite coronavirus disruptions in meatpacking plants, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday.
U.S. court rules dicamba use must cease, affecting millions of acres of crops
Farmers can no longer spray the controversial pesticide dicamba over the top of genetically modified soybeans and cotton, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. Dicamba is a weedkiller whose use has skyrocketed in recent years after agribusiness giant Monsanto introduced genetically engineered soybean and cotton seeds that resist the herbicide. The ruling means that farmers will have to immediately cease using dicamba on an estimated 60 million acres of crops across the Midwest and South.
Provide free meals for all students, say school food directors
The USDA should extend all school food waivers through the end of the coming school year and make all meals free to students, said the School Nutrition Association in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday.
Five states get one-third of initial coronavirus payments
Farmers and ranchers have received $545 million in the first batch of coronavirus relief payments, said the USDA on Thursday. One-third of that money went to producers in five states: Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Find a way for dicamba (USDA): Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urged the EPA “to use any available flexibilities to allow the continued use of already purchased dicamba products” by farmers despite a federal court ruling that vacated EPA approval of the weedkiller.
Biggest farm group to examine racism (AFBF): The American Farm Bureau Federation said that identifying and addressing racism in U.S. society should include “looking within our own organization” so it can be “a positive influence against racism.”
Five million Food Boxes (USDA): In the month since its launch, the Farmers to Families Food Box program has distributed more than 5 million boxes of food for hungry Americans, with a goal of delivering 40 million boxes by June 30.
Getting paid to reduce emissions (Washington Post): A bipartisan Senate bill would make it easier for farmers to earn money from carbon trading markets by planting trees, restoring wetlands, or using fertilizer more precisely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Food prices weaken due to the coronavirus (FAO): The Food Price Index fell for the fourth month in a row, to its lowest level since December 2018, “as supplies appear strong and demand weakens due to economic contractions triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.”