Grocery prices rising at highest rate since 2012
Prices at supermarkets are rising at the highest rate in eight years, as the coronavirus constricts meat production and grocery chains limit sales, said the USDA in a monthly forecast. Grocery prices will rise by a higher-than-average 2.5 percent this year, double the previous estimate.
Poultry slaughter slides but not as far as beef and pork
While red meat production fell by nearly one-fourth during April, poultry slaughter dropped by a much smaller 8 percent, said the USDA’s monthly Poultry Slaughter report.
USDA gave Food Box contracts to novices, say lawmakers
Concerned that “entities with little or no experience in agriculture or food distribution” were given contracts in the Farmers to Families Food Box program, the Democratic leaders of three House Agriculture subcommittees asked the USDA how it will ensure the work is performed.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Pandemic goes rural (Washington Post): Coronavirus outbreaks in urban areas are being followed by a rising number of cases in rural areas, “a fundamental shift in who it touches and where it reaches in America.”
Covid-19 at five LA meat plants (Los Angeles Times): Five meatpacking plants in Los Angeles County, including Smithfield-owned Farmer John, “producer of the beloved Dodger Dog,” were hit by outbreaks of Covid-19 between March and May, said the county health department.
‘Virtual’ tour finds smaller crop (Hutchinson News): The Kansas wheat crop will total 284.4 million bushels, 7 percent smaller than the mid-May estimate from USDA and 16 percent less than the 2019 harvest, said the annual wheat tour, conducted by internet for the first time because of the coronavirus.
Stay at home, shop at home (Harvest Media): Rural grocers are benefitting from the pandemic in two ways: local residents are shopping in town instead of driving to bigger stores in a bigger towns, and people drive out from the city because rural stores are less crowded.
Worries about Loeffler (New York Times): President Trump’s political advisers are increasingly concerned about the electoral prospects of appointed Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, who faces strong challengers from both parties in a winner-take-all special election on Nov. 3.
Florida tomato area has more cases than Fort Lauderdale (WFTX-TV): Immokalee, a tomato-growing agricultural community in southwest Florida, has more confirmed cases of Covid-19 than Fort Lauderdale and the rising number of cases could herald a second wave of the disease.
ON THE CALENDAR
– Enrollment opens for $16 billion in cash payments to farmers and ranchers from USDA’s coronavirus relief program.
– USDA issues weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.
– House is scheduled to vote on a bill to modify the Paycheck Protection Program.
– Innovation Forum holds online Future of Food conference, through Thursday. Leaders of major food companies, such as Cargill, Walmart and ADM, are scheduled to speak.
– USDA releases semi-annual Farm Labor report, 3 p.m. ET.
– International Grains Council releases monthly Grain Market Report, London.
– Farmdoc Daily Live webinar, “Summary of 2019 FBFM income and expense estimates for Illinois farms,” 10 a.m. ET.
– USDA releases quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade and monthly Agricultural Prices report, 3 p.m. ET. In February, the USDA estimated exports of $139.5 billion this fiscal year, a 3 percent increase from fiscal 2019 when the Sino-U.S. trade war was in full effect. Ag exports to China were forecast at $14 billion, compared to $10 billion in fiscal 2019. Before the trade war, sales to China averaged $21 billion a year. The forecast was written before the scope of the coronravirus pandemic was apparent.