More pandemic aid on tap for agriculture, says Vilsack – July 21, 2021

More pandemic aid on tap for agriculture, says Vilsack

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced up to $200 million in pandemic relief for loggers and timber haulers on Tuesday and said “there is more to come” for agriculture in the weeks ahead. Aid will include $700 million for biofuel producers and $980 million in dairy support.

WIC program saw widespread declines during the pandemic

Participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) saw widespread declines during the pandemic, continuing a trend that took hold over the past decade due to significant enrollment hurdles. The declines contrasted with the sharp rise in demand for programs like SNAP and Medicaid.

Essential work, low wages on the farm

Farmworkers earned less than 60 percent of what comparable workers did off the farm last year, says an Economic Policy Institute blog. The wage gap in 2020 was virtually unchanged from 2019.

Today’s Quick Hits

Stolen water: In drought-battered California, water theft has reached record levels, and the most common culprits are illegal marijuana farms. A DEA agent estimated that “illegal grows” in three Southern California counties need 5.4 million gallons a day. (CalMatters)

Andrés’ group gets millions: Billionaire Jeff Bezos will give $100 million to chef José Andrés, who said the money will go to the World Central Kitchen, the charity he founded in 2010. (WTOP)

RFS delayed: Usually the EPA announces in July how much ethanol must be blended into the gasoline supply in the coming year, but the White House has delayed the annual process while it tries to resolve the perennial tussle between the oil industry and ethanol distillers, said two unnamed sources. (Reuters)

Davis on riot panel: Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, a House Agriculture Committee member who voted to overturn President Biden’s election, will serve on the select committee investigating the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (Kevin McCarthy)

Annual aid festival: The nonprofit Farm Aid, whose mission is keeping family farms on the land, will hold its 36th annual all-day concert on Sept. 25 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Farm Aid 2021)

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