House panel approves $8.5 billion disaster bill for agriculture
Responding to calamities that range from drought in the West to floods in the Southeast, the House Agriculture Committee approved an $8.5 billion disaster relief bill on Tuesday to cover farm and ranch losses in 2020 and this year. Producers would be eligible for up to $250,000 a year in aid.
SNAP falls short of meal costs in 41 percent of U.S. counties
Anti-hunger groups routinely report that food stamp benefits are inadequate and run out before the end of the month. An Urban Institute analysis says Congress narrowed the gap when it increased benefits by 15 percent because of the pandemic, but they do not cover the average nationwide cost of a meal, which is $2.41, in more than four of every 10 counties in the nation.
Land prices zoom to record highs in Indiana
Despite the pandemic, farmland values soared to record highs in Indiana, up by as much as 14 percent this year, according to agricultural professionals surveyed by Purdue University. “Surprisingly, many of the current economic forces put upward pressure on farmland prices,” said Purdue on Tuesday.
Today’s Quick Hits
Senate staffer to USDA: President Biden nominated Adrienne Wojciechowski, a veteran Senate staff worker and a former senior policy adviser to Appropriations Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, to be assistant agriculture secretary for congressional affairs, (White House)
Carbon credits burn: Wildfires in Oregon are ravaging forests that were being preserved to offset greenhouse gas emissions by businesses, raising questions about whether the carbon credit system can withstand widespread fire losses. (Politico)
Net-zero ethanol: The ethanol industry pledged in a letter to President Biden to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint for corn ethanol by 2050 or sooner, and asked the administration to commit “to rapidly increasing the availability of low-cost flex-fuel vehicles.”
ADM earnings surge: At $712 milllion, second-quarter earnings at agribusiness giant ADM were more than 50 percent higher than a year ago, due to strong overseas demand for corn and healthy margins for crushing oilseeds. (Reuters)
Leaving rural America: More people moved out of rural America than moved into it in the past decade, leading to a slight decline of 260,000 people or about half a percentage point. That reverses the population growth of 1 million people from 2000-2010. (Daily Yonder)