‘Legitimate reason’ behind debt relief for minority farmers, says Vilsack
The USDA will proceed with $4 billion in loan forgiveness for socially disadvantaged farmers despite lawsuits that want to add white farmers to the program, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday. The assistance is intended to address the cumulative effect of ingrained discrimination against Blacks and other farmers of color.
Restaurant workers would stay in the industry if wages rose, new report finds
Restaurant owners have reported difficulty finding workers as many states and cities lift the pandemic restrictions that led to mass layoffs in the sector last year. But the vast majority of restaurant workers say they would stay in the industry if provided with a stable, livable wage, according to a new report from One Fair Wage and the U.C. Berkeley Food Labor Research Center.
Global hunger climbs 15 percent, at five-year high
Warfare, the pandemic, and extreme weather pushed an additional 20 million people into acute food insecurity in the past year, driving the worldwide total to 155 million, said the Global Network Against Food Crises on Wednesday. It was the highest total in five years.
Today’s Quick Hits
’30×30′ is coming: The Biden administration plans to announce on Thursday a voluntary and locally led effort to meet its goal of preserving 30 percent of U.S. land and coastal waters by 2030. (Ag Insider)
Food insecurity declines: The U.S. food insecurity rate dropped to 8.1 percent, according to the latest Pulse survey by the Census Bureau, down 0.7 points from mid-March, and that should continue to improve, says a Northwestern University social policy professor. (Diane Schanzenbach)
Sino-U.S. talks soon: U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai expects to talk “in the near term” with Chinese trade officials to assess the “phase one” agreement that de-escalated the Sino-U.S. trade war in early 2020. (Reuters)
Less rural Covid: Although the number of new Covid-19 infections in rural America dropped by 5 percent, to 42,462 cases, last week, the number of deaths rose by 14 percent, to 734 people. (Daily Yonder)
Ag exports boom: U.S. farm exports totaled $92.4 billion in the first half of this fiscal year, $18.7 billion higher than at the same point in fiscal 2020, said USDA data. Exports are forecast to set a record this year. (Economic Research Service)
Local food funding: Some $92.2 million in grant money is available through the Farmers Market program to expand farmer-to-consumer marketing and local and regional food markets. (USDA)