Nominee would build ‘civil rights culture’ at USDA – November 18, 2021

Nominee would build ‘civil rights culture’ at USDA

Declaring “there is no place at USDA for discrimination,” University of Michigan law professor Margo Schlanger told senators on Wednesday that she would build “a civil rights culture” at the USDA if confirmed as assistant secretary for civil rights. At the same confirmation hearing, Chavonda Jacobs-Young said she would be an advocate for advanced technology, such as gene editing, if confirmed as undersecretary for research.

Covid-19 is worst in persistently poor rural counties

Throughout the pandemic, the highest Covid-19 case rates and the lowest vaccination rates in the country have been found in persistently poor rural counties, the USDA said Wednesday in its annual Rural America at a Glance report. Those counties have also had low unemployment rates, suggesting residents continued to work despite the risk of infection by the coronavirus, said the report.

Today’s Quick Hits

Fertilizer hits income: The surge in fertilizer costs is expected to lower net incomes for midwestern grain farms in 2022 by 34 percent from the high levels of 2020 and 2021, say five university economists. (Farmdoc Daily)

Ag startup fund: Growmark and CHS will found a $50 million fund called Cooperative Ventures to support startup companies working on breakthrough technologies for agriculture. (CHS)

New business for JBS: The Brazilian company, the world’s largest meat processor, entered the cell-cultured meat sector with the purchase of BioTech Foods, based in Spain. JBS also plans a research and development center in Brazil for cell-cultured meat. (Reuters)

U.S.-Japan pact: The United States and Japan, the No. 4 customer for U.S. ag exports, announced a bilateral “partnership on trade,” with first meetings expected in early 2022. (USTR)

Bayer, Microsoft to team up: A partnership between the companies will create “a new cloud-based set of digital tools and data science solutions” to accelerate innovation and boost efficiency in agriculture and related industries. (Bayer)

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