Meat Plants Open Despite COVID-19 Risk – May 11, 2020

Most meat plants will be on line this week despite coronavirus, says Perdue


Although beef and pork slaughter plants ran at less than three-fourths capacity last week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “We think most of our facilities will be back on line” by the end of this week. That would account for as much as 85 percent of U.S. meat-processing capacity.


Trump administration seeks overhaul of fishing industry with new executive order


The Trump administration’s executive order last Thursday laid out a pathway for the approval of ocean aquaculture in federal waters, a controversial departure from existing policy that could reshape the country’s seafood production.

Coronavirus aid limits will be higher than initially proposed

Farmers and ranchers will need assistance from the federal government beyond the $16 billion in cash payments that were promised a month ago, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Two major meat processors part of USDA’s $1.2-billion Food Box program

Two of the largest meat processors in the country, Tyson Foods and Cargill Meat Solutions, are among roughly 200 “approved suppliers” for a USDA initiative to buy surplus fresh produce, dairy products and pre-cooked chicken and pork for distribution to needy Americans.


Trump ‘not decided’ on China (Politico): President Trump said he was “very torn” and “not decided” about the future of the “phase one” trade agreement with China, less than a day after administration officials conferred with China and said they were optimistic China would meet its commitments for large purchases of U.S. goods, including farm exports.



Egg prices bring lawsuits (New York Times): Egg prices tripled in many part of the country during the coronavirus pandemic and inspired a lawsuit by the Texas attorney general that accuses egg producers, wholesalers and supermarket chains of price gouging.



Senators seek poultry aid (Delaware Business News): Sixteen senators asked Agriculture Secetary Sonny Perdue to include direct aid to chicken farmers as part of the $16 billion in cash payments the USDA intends to make to farmers and ranchers because of the coronavirus pandemic.



Pork exports set a record (USMEF): A record $764 million of U.S. pork was exported during March, helping propel first-quarter exports to $2.2 billion, up 52 percent from the same period in 2019, while beef exports during the first quarter rose 8 percent, to $2.06 billion; coronavirus plant closures could slow second-quarter sales.



Infection rates rise in rural manufacturing counties (Daily Yonder): Rural coronavirus infections are rising the fastest in counties where manufacturing, which includes but is not limited to meatpacking, is a major part of the economy — 258 cases per 100,000 people vs. the rural average of 168 per 100,000.




– American Farmland Trust president John Piotti speaks at The Chicago Farmers webinar on “Farming is our future: How we must ‘get farming right’ to avert future crises,” 1 p.m. ET.



– USDA issues weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.



– USDA releases monthly Crop Production and WASDE reports, and Cotton Ginnings Annual report, noon ET. Includes USDA’s first estimate of the winter wheat harvest and projects the fall harvest for corn, soybean and cotton crops. It also will update its estimates of the 2019 corn and soybean crops, if warranted, based on a re-survey of producers in the upper Midwest and northern Plains who were unable to complete harvest before winter storms arrived. The USDA also will release the Cotton Ginnings Annual report.



– Bipartisan Policy Center webinar, “BPC food summit,” 2 p.m. ET. Speakers include Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, president Zippy Duvall of the American Farm Bureau Federation, chief executive Claire Babineaux-Fontenot of Feeding America and chief executive Jim Snee of Hormel, with former agriculture secretaries Ann Veneman and Dan Glickman as moderators.



– Farmdoc Daily Live webinar, “PPP — Eligible uses and the loan forgiveness program,” noon ET.



– Senate Commerce Committee hearing, “The state of broadband amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” G-50 Dirksen, 10 a.m. ET. Witnesses include Shirley Bloomfield, chief executive of NTCA — The Rural Broadband Association.


– USDA releases monthly Oil Crops Outlook and Cotton and Wool Outlook, noon ET.



– USDA releases monthly Feed, Wheat and Rice Outlook reports, 3 p.m. ET.



– It’s the USDA’s birthday; created on May 15, 1862, under a law signed by President Lincoln, who later described USDA as “the people’s department.”



– Purdue University webinar on “updated crop outlook,” with agricultural economists Michael Langemeier and James Mintert, 12:30 p.m. ET.



– Final day for landowners to offer land for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve grassland program.

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