Hog farms in coronavirus crisis need more aid, say producers
More federal aid is needed if hog farmers are to survive the coronavirus pandemic, said pork industry leaders on Thursday. They urged the Senate to approve compensatory payments for hogs that are culled and an additional round of cash payments to all U.S. farmers and ranchers.
Farmworkers at Driscoll’s supplier demand fair pay, safe conditions amid pandemic
In a rare organized action, more than 100 nonunion workers joined a work stoppage at Rancho Laguna Farms, a California grower that supplies Driscoll’s, the largest berry producer in the world. The workers were protesting a demand that they pick only the best fruit for the same pay, even though quality was spotty, making it hard to earn more than minimum wage at their piece-work rate of $1.90 a box.
Record global corn and wheat crops on the way
World grain production will reach an all-time high of 2.23 billion tonnes, with record-setting wheat and corn harvests, said the International Grains Council on Thursday. The global inventory of all grains will rise for the first time in four years.
The lethal Covid-19 connection between meatpacking plants and rural communities
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the U.S. meatpacking industry and the communities where meatpacking plants are located, a number of disturbing connections are becoming clearer, says FERN’s latest story, produced with The Daily Yonder. The story cross-references Covid-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants with infection rates in U.S. counties. Among its findings: Rural counties that have meatpacking plants with Covid-19 outbreaks have an average infection rate of nearly 1,100 cases per 100,000 residents. In rural counties without meatpacking plant-linked outbreaks, the average infection rate is only 209 cases per 100,000 residents.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Only if you ask (Des Moines Register): Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds defended the state’s decision to confirm coronavirus outbreaks at meat plants and other businesses only when asked by reporters and only when more than 10 percent of employees test positive for the virus.
Wilson to lead organic institute (UCANR): Agricultural entomologist Houston Wilson was named director of the newly endowed Organic Agriculture Center at the University of California and will launch its work.
Where are the boxes? (Politico): Food banks in the U.S. Southwest have yet to receive deliveries from the San Antonio event planning company that got a $39 million contract in the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program.
Nutrient overload (EWG): In Minnesota, the combination of manure plus commercial fertilizer, from an expansion of crop and livestock production, is likely to load too many nutrients into cropland in much of the state, threatening excessive runoff into waterways and drinking water.
A coronavirus bump for Blue Apron (CNBC): In a three-month period, as competition intensified in the meal-kit sector, meal-by-mail pioneer Blue Apron signed up 200,000 new customers in a surge likely driven by the pandemic.