Coronavirus package allots $13 billion for crop and livestock producers
Row crop farmers would see payments of $20 an acre and livestock producers would be compensated for animals culled during the pandemic under the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill that was unexpectedly challenged by President Trump on Tuesday, a day after Congress passed it. The $13 billion bill includes a $400 million dairy donation program, aid to contract poultry growers, and assistance for textile mills and, potentially, ethanol refineries.
Farmers need coronavirus aid less than hungry people, say economists
Congress allotted the same amount of funding for public nutrition programs that it did for agriculture in the new coronavirus relief bill, even though hunger is on the rise, wrote three economists on Tuesday. “An obvious way to address the problem would be to shift all or most of the $13 billion earmarked for farmers to federal nutrition programs that serve hungry families in real need,” the economists said in an essay in The Hill.
A farm-to-table restaurant confronts climate change — head on
The SingleThread restaurant in Northern California’s Sonoma County is best known for multi-course meals that have won it widespread acclaim and three Michelin stars. What’s less well known is that the farm-to-table restaurant, now facing a pandemic, is already confronting the ravages of climate change, from fires to floods, that threaten its existence.
Today’s Quick Hits
USDA names new NIFA director: Carrie Castile, who formerly worked in the USDA rural development and farm program agencies, will begin work on Jan. 4 as the director of the grant-making National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which was moved to Kansas City from Washington in 2019. (USDA)
Ag leader Rominger dies: Fourth-generation California farmer Richard Rominger, who was deputy agriculture secretary during the Clinton era and also served as state agriculture director, has died at age 93. (Woodland Daily Democrat)
Loeffler touts rural roots in Senate campaign: Appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, cites her childhood on an Illinois farm but “appears to be a traditional business-oriented Republican” and boasts of voting with President Trump 100 percent of the time. (New York Times)
Hemp is hard: Midwestern hemp farmers face daunting obstacles, from the sheer amount of manual labor required to grow the crop to the challenge of keeping their hemp below the THC limit when it’s harvested. (Harvest Public Media)
Vilsack advanced food safety: As agriculture secretary under President Obama, Tom Vilsack had a hand in food safety accomplishments that included pathogen reduction standards for poultry and prohibiting the “big six” strains of E. coli from beef products. (Food Safety News)