Covid-19 drives emergency steps for school food in two states
The USDA approved requests from California and Washington State to provide free meals to low-income students when schools are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. The waivers, good through June 30, were the first by USDA to help schools deal with the disease, in part by allowing them to stop serving meals in group settings, such as a cafeteria.
House Ag chair Peterson, a GOP target, runs for re-election
Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, a conservative Democrat in a Republican-leaning district, announced he would seek re-election in November, saying he was worried rural America is being left behind. President Trump has endorsed a Republican challenger against Peterson, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, in a contest that is regarded as a toss-up.
A shipping ‘standstill’ and herd culling if African swine fever is found
The USDA will move quickly to eradicate the African swine fever if the viral disease is discovered in the United States, said Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Rather than move, staffers leave BLM (The Hill): In attrition that rivaled USDA’s relocation of two research agencies to Kansas City, fewer than half of Bureau of Land Management employees targeted to move out West have accepted reassignment, with the majority leaving the government.
White House may appeal RFS decision (Reuters): The Trump administration plans to appeal a court decision that questions EPA’s power to exempt small-volume refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard.
A room with a moo (Harvest Public Media): A dairy farming couple in northeast Iowa runs a bed and breakfast with a difference: Guests stay in apartments in the dairy barn, where they can watch the herd throughout the day and help with chores.
Cox-Valadao rematch in California (Secretary of State): First-term Rep. T.J. Cox, a Democrat, will face David Valadao, the Republican incumbent he defeated in 2018, in a general election rematch this fall, according to preliminary results from the primary election.
Farmers cautiously optimistic about 2020 (AFBF): In an informal online survey, farmers said they expect farm profitability to be lower or the same as last year, despite the “phase one” agreement with China and congressional approval of the USMCA.
ON THE CALENDAR
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and School Nutrition Association leaders hold a “fireside chat” as part of SNA Legislative Action Conference, 3 p.m. ET, Washington. Also today at the conference, research will be released on costs and benefits of universal free meals and elimination of the reduced-price category for school meals. The conference continues through Tuesday.
– National Grain and Feed Association’s 124th annual convention continues through Tuesday, Austin, Texas.
– Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington State hold presidential primaries with 352 delegates at stake for the Democratic National Convention.
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is lead witness at House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on USDA’s fiscal 2021 budget, 10 a.m. ET, 2362-A Rayburn.
– House Agriculture Committee votes on annual “budget letter” to Budget Committee, 9:30 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.
– House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “U.S. agricultural trade: Stakeholder perspectives,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.
– Farm Foundation forum, “Consumer attitudes about gene editing,” 9 a.m. National Press Club. Speakers include Vincenzina Caputo of Michigan State University and Courtney Weber of Cornell.
– USDA releases monthly Crop Production and WASDE reports, noon ET.
– U.S. Canola Association holds annual membership meeting, through Thursday, Washington.
– Consumer Federation of America holds annual National Food Policy Conference, through Thursday, Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth Street NW.
– FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn is lead witness at House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the agency’s fiscal 2021 budget, 11 a.m. ET, 2362-A Rayburn.
– USApple holds Capitol Hill Day, Washington.
– Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, “Agriculture innovation and the federal biotechnology regulatory framework,” 10 a.m. ET, 328-A Russell.
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is lead witness at Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on USDA’s proposed fiscal 2021 budget, 10:30 a.m. ET, 138 Dirksen.
– USDA releases monthly Oil Crops Outlook and Cotton and Wool Outlook reports, noon ET.
– USDA releases monthly Feed Outlook and Wheat Outlook reports, 3 p.m. ET.
– Deadline for comment on USDA’s proposal to use four criteria to determine if meat processors violate fair-play rules in livestock marketing by favoring some producers over others.
– Northern Mariana Islands holds presidential primary with six delegates at stake for Democratic National Convention.
– It’s Pi Day, March 14 a.k.a. 3/14, like the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. A day to celebrate numbers and math. The Exploratorium in San Francisco takes credit for the observance.
– National WIC Association holds Washington Leadership Conference, through Tuesday, Washington.