In pandemic year, cropland values in Farm Belt are steady to slightly lower
The coronavirus pandemic may be the defining event of 2020, driving the United States into a recession and pummeling commodity prices, but cropland values in the Farm Belt have been relatively unaffected — stable to slightly softer, said the USDA on Thursday.
Farm state GOP senators speak favorably of more food assistance funds
Four Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Committee have spoken favorably in the past few days of additional funding for public nutrition programs during the pandemic, possibly including an increase in SNAP benefits. (No paywall)
Churned by hurricane, ‘dead zone’ is one-third expected size
The fish-killing “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico this summer is the third-smallest in 34 years of surveys, reported scientists. At 2,116 square miles, the hypoxic region is about one-third the size of the forecast of 6,700 square miles.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
House Ag panelist positive for Covid-19: Illinois Republican Rodney Davis, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, is the third representative to test positive for Covid-19 this week. (Rep. Davis)
‘Murder hornet’ genome is released: USDA researchers released the first complete genome of the largest wasp in the world, the Asian giant hornet — also called the murder hornet — part of a response to sightings of the invasive insect in the U.S. Northwest. (Agricultural Research Service)
World food prices rise again: The FAO Food Price Index is up for the second month in a row, propelled by higher vegetable oil, dairy, and sugar prices, and is now 1 point higher than it was a year ago. (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)
Farmers amp up on solar power: An increasing number of farmers in Missouri are seeking USDA grants to install solar panels on their farms. One farmer said he had reduced his electricity bill by two-thirds. (Harvest Public Media)
Oaxaca bans junk food, sugary drinks for kids: Legislators in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca have banned the sale of junk food and sugary drinks to minors. A sponsor of the bill said Oaxaca has the highest rate of child obesity in the country. (Mexico News Daily)