iden chooses Virginia ag commissioner for deputy secretary at USDA
A day before his inauguration, President-elect Biden selected Jewel Bronaugh, the Virginia state agriculture commissioner, as his nominee for deputy agriculture secretary, the No. 2 post at USDA. Bronaugh would be the first Black deputy secretary at USDA.
After two years of work, USDA publishes national hemp rule
Two years after the 2018 farm bill legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, the USDA completed work on a regulation to oversee production. Some advocates say hemp could become a profitable crop grown across the country while other analysts say comparatively low demand will limit hemp acreage to the level of a niche crop.
USDA to allocate nearly $2 billion in coronavirus aid to contract growers
Contract growers of hogs, poultry and eggs are eligible for an estimated $1.98 billion in coronavirus aid, announced the USDA. The payments, along with a “top up” of aid to hog farmers, are the first to flow from the $13 billion earmarked for agricultural assistance in the pandemic relief bill enacted last month.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Chief resigns at FFA: Less than four months after announcing an ambitious plan to increase diversity in the National FFA Organization, chief executive Mark Poeschl resigned, saying, “I know there have been challenges we have faced during my tenure.” (National FFA)
Pathway to citizenship: President-elect Biden will ask Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the United States without legal status. (Los Angeles Times)
China remains unpredictable: “China remains a difficult and unpredictable market for U.S. agricultural exporters, largely because of inconsistent enforcement of regulations and selective intervention in the market by China’s regulatory authorities,” said the U.S. trade representative’s office in a report on China’s compliance with WTO rules. (USTR)
Gun-toting ‘tenacious unicorns’: On the flanks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in south-central Colorado, Penny Logue and Bonnie Nelson created the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch, “a community of gun-loving, transgender, anti-fascist alpaca ranchers.” (High Country News)
Biggest U.S. farmland owner: Tech billionaire Bill Gates is the largest single owner of farmland in the United States, with 242,000 acres, according to work by The Land Report. (Forbes)
ON THE CALENDAR
National Biodiesel Board holds annual conference online, through Thursday.
USDA releases monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, noon ET.
U.S. Custom Harvesters holds annual convention, through Jan. 23, Des Moines.
USDA releases North American Potatoes and annual Pecan Production reports, 3 p.m. ET.
USDA releases Census of Agriculture Typology report, noon ET.
USDA releases monthly Cattle on Feed report, 3 p.m. ET.