‘Put kids first,’ say advocates in call for universal free school meals – May 12, 2021

‘Put kids first,’ say advocates in call for universal free school meals

On the heels of new legislation that would provide free school meals to all American children, advocates from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), American Academy of Pediatrics and American Federation of Teachers doubled down on the urgent need for action amid persistent childhood hunger and an escalating obesity crisis.

World Food Prize goes to developer of fish-based food systems

Shakuntala Thilsted, who spent years proving, and then promoting, the value of fish grown in backyard ponds to improve the diets of poor families in Asia and Africa, is the 2021 winner of the $250,000 World Food, the sponsoring foundation announced on Tuesday. In Bangladesh, her pond-polyculture approach supports 18 million people and turned the nation into the world’s fifth-largest aquaculture producer.

USDA approves drought counties for emergency loans

In a two-day burst, the USDA designated 372 counties, roughly 1 of every 7 counties in the country, from Texas and Kansas to California and Hawaii, as natural disaster areas due to persistent drought.

Today’s Quick Hits

Overtime pay for farmworkers: Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law legislation phasing in overtime pay for farmworkers in Washington State, starting with work that exceeds 55 hours in a week in 2022 and reaching a threshold of 40 hours a week in 2024. President Biden applauded the new law and urged Congress to grant legal status to undocumented farmworkers. (Inslee)

Organic livestock comments: The public comment period on the proposed Origin of Livestock Rule, which addresses the transition of conventional livestock into organic production, will be re-opened for 60 days to gather information about potential changes. (National Organic Program)

Keep aggie tax breaks: A group of 41 national and regional ag groups asked Congress to preserve the “stepped up basis” that reduces tax liabilities when farmland and other property is passed to heirs; they also sought to maintain two other tax breaks that benefit agriculture. (AFBF)

Impact of pipeline shutdown: Farmers and livestock producers are keeping a wary eye on fuel supplies during the planting season following the ransomware shutdown of Colonial Pipeline in the Southeast. (DTN/Progressive Farmer)

More time for organics: Mexico extended until Dec. 31 a deadline for U.S. organic products to be certified under its organic products law, meaning that USDA-certified organic products can be exported for the rest of the year. (USDA)

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