There are holes in USDA’s Food Box, say congressional Democrats
When Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue talks about hunger relief during the pandemic, he puts the spotlight on the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program. But Democrats in the House and Senate question if the donation program is a fair and efficient way to help families.
Record-high world grain production for second year in a row
With production surging by 4.4 percent, corn will drive world cereal grain production to record levels in 2020/21, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in its first forecast of the new crops. It was the second forecast in a week of record global output as the planting season ends in the northern hemisphere.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Politics seen in USDA coronavirus payments (New York Times): President Trump has taken the USDA’s support of agriculture “to a new level” with the planned payment of $16 billion to producers to offset the impact of the coronavirus, “raising questions about how the money will be allocated and whether there is sufficient oversight to guard against partisan abuse of the program.”
More local meat in Maine (AP): The state Agriculture Department added three new meat processors to Maine’s food system in a step to ease a bottleneck, allowing “more locally raised meat to reach Maine people,” said Commissioner Amanda Beal.
Pilgrim’s Pride chief pleads not guilty (Wall Street Journal): Jayson Penn, chief executive of the second-largest chicken processing company in the nation, pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to fix chicken prices.
Trump allows fishing in marine sanctuary (Washington Post): Commercial fishing can resume at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument under a proclamation signed by President Trump four years after the Obama administration closed off 4,913 square miles of territory in and near George’s Bank in the Atlantic Ocean.
U.S. demands beef info (Food Dive): The Justice Department sent investigative demands, similar to subpoenas, to four large beef packers about potential antitrust violations.
ON THE USDA CALENDAR
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue tours Kalera, a vertical organic hydroponic farm in Orlando, 9:30 a.m. ET, and takes part in a Farmers to Families Food Box event at 1 p.m ET, Lakeland, Florida.
– Biotechnology Innovation Organization holds BIO Digital, an online “gathering of the global biotech industry” and replacement of the BIO International Convention, through Friday.
– USDA issues weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.
– House Transportation Committee online hearing, “The impacts of Covid-19 on transportation workers,” 1 p.m.
– Congressional Joint Economic Committee hearing, “Supporting charitable giving during the Covid-19 crisis,” 2:30 p.m. ET, 301 Russell.
– Organic Trade Association holds annual meeting online.
– USDA releases Census of Agriculture data on Puerto Rico, noon ET.
– International Grains Council holds annual Grains Conference online, through Wednesday, London.
– House Oversight Committee online hearing, “No worker left behind: Supporting essential workers,” noon ET.
– Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly Consumer Price Index, 8:30 a.m. ET.
– USDA releases monthly Crop Production and WASDE reports, noon ET. Traders expect USDA to marginally reduce its forecast of a record-large corn crop and modestly increase the size of the soybean crop, expected to be the fourth-largest on record. The USDA also will raise, by 5 percent its forecast of the soybean “carryover” at the end of the 2020/21 marketing year to 426-429 million bushels.
– Covid Impact Survey releases results of the third week of nationwide polling and holds webinar.