Equity Commission to examine USDA programs and policies for bias – September 27, 2021

Equity Commission to examine USDA programs and policies for bias

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh will co-chair a congressionally approved Equity Commission to address racial discrimination within the USDA and its programs, announced the Agriculture Department. The USDA has been called “the last plantation” because of racial bias in its operations; it paid $2.2 billion to Black farmers and their descendants in the so-called Pigford settlements of 1999 and 2010.

Iowa Sen. Grassley runs for eighth Senate term

While many Republicans were swamped by the Watergate tide, Republican Chuck Grassley won election to the House in 1974 and will surpass half a century in Congress if elected to his eighth Senate term in 2022. Grassley announced for re-election on Friday and is regarded as the heavy favorite by political handicappers.

Today’s Quick Hits

Beef and pork, again: Beef prices will be 5-percent higher and pork 6-percent higher than last year, said the monthly Food Price Outlook, raising its forecast of beef and pork inflation for the sixth month in a row. (USDA)

South American drought: From Patagonia to Brazil, drought is withering crops, drying up waterways and driving up coffee prices. (Washington Post)

Ferret has Covid-19: A ferret in Florida is the first in the United States confirmed to have Covid-19; previously, a case was reported in a ferret in Slovenia. (USDA)

Virginia’s beehive lottery: In an attempt to reverse a decline of the honeybee population in Virginia, the state’s agriculture department inaugurated a lottery to distribute beehives, but only half of the recipients have beekeeping experience. (Modern Farmer)

Covid-19’s rural rates: The rural death rate from Covid-19 increased by one-third to a level not seen since early March and more than double the urban rate. (Daily Yonder)

On The Calendar

Ahead of a meeting of House Democrats on Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week will be “a time of intensity” for Congress, with deadlines to pass the administration’s $3.5-trillion “build back better” bill, the $1-trillion infrastructure bill, and a short-term funding bill to keep the government running when the new fiscal year opens on Friday. The infrastructure bill includes $60 billion to bring high-speed internet access to the entire country. The “build back better” bill has $66 billion to expand USDA’s forestry, rural development and agricultural research. Democrats say an additional $28 billion for conservation and climate-smart practices will be added to the bill but it was yet to appear during the weekend.
USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.

World Dairy Expo, through Saturday, Madison, Wisconsin.

House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “The 2021 wildland fire year: Responding to and mitigating threats to communities,” 10 a.m. ET.
House Small Business subcommittee hearing, “Sustainable forestry’s role in climate solutions,” 10 a.m. ET, 2360 Rayburn.
USDA releases Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.

USDA releases annual Small Grains Summary and quarterly Grain Stocks reports, noon ET. Traders expect the USDA to lower its estimate of the U.S wheat crop by 1 percent, according to wire service surveys. Traders also believe the corn stockpile on Sept. 1 was 3-percent smaller than USDA’s estimate in the latest WASDE report. The corn stocks number would be the smallest in eight years.
Farmdoc Daily hosts webinar, “Managing weeds in variable weather: Insights from data mining,” noon ET.
USDA releases monthly Agricultural Prices report, 3 p.m. ET.

House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee hearing, “Ending veteran hunger: Examining the impact of Covid-19 on food insecurity,” 11:30 a.m. ET, University of California-San Diego.

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