More competition will reduce meat prices in fight against inflation, says Biden
Acknowledging “we need to get inflation under control” as part of the economic recovery from the pandemic, President Biden said on Wednesday that the administration will inject competition into the highly consolidated meat industry to bring down prices at the grocery store. Meat prices soared by 14.8 percent during 2021, part of overall food inflation of 6.3 percent.
USDA announces pilot program for renewable energy in rural towns
Up to $10 million is available to help residents of rural towns develop community renewable energy projects that will reduce their energy costs, said the USDA on Wednesday. Funding from the new Rural Energy Pilot Program will be targeted at communities that have been historically underserved by the government.
Today’s Quick Hits
P-EBT languishes: Only eight states have been approved for the Pandemic-EBT program this year, and with students mostly back in schools, administrators say it’s an overwhelming task to track who is eligible for USDA aid for buying food to eat at home. (Washington Post)
Corn yield limitations: In a study conducted in Nebraska between 2005 and 2018, genetic improvements were responsible for only 13 percent of an increase in corn yields, say researchers, far less than the effects of improved agronomy and a “decadal climate trend.” (National Academy of Sciences)
Mississippi River improvements: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use $829 million from the $1.7 trillion infrastructure bill for projects that include construction of a 1,200-foot lock at Lock & Dam 25, near Winfield, Missouri, and an environmental restoration at Lock & Dam 22, near Saverton, Missouri. (Sen. Grassley)
Covid vaccination gap: Only 47.9 percent of the rural population is fully vaccinated, compared with 61.1 percent or urban residents. The death rate from Covid-19 is 30 percent higher in rural areas. (Daily Yonder)
Vilsack in California: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday in San Bernardino to discuss implementation of the $1.7 trillion infrastructure bill, according to a Harris aide. (Desert Sun)