Risk of ‘food nationalism’ as coronavirus pandemic sweeps world
The world’s grain reserves are large, with a bumper crop on the horizon, but the coronavirus pandemic has already inspired agricultural protectionism in a small number of countries, said analysts in a think tank paper this week. Separately, former Agriculture Undersecretary Catherine Woteki said protectionist policies could spark “food nationalism” at a time when trade could minimize food shortages.
High yields, low prices may plant the seed of a larger Conservation Reserve
The 2018 farm law allows an additional 3 million acres into the land-idling Conservation Reserve, partly to offset the low market prices that followed the collapse of the commodity boom earlier this decade. Lawmakers may opt for another expansion of the reserve if farmers face mountains of surplus grain and continued low prices, said two University of Illinois economists.
Hemp groups to push for checkoff program
Two trade groups announced plans to spearhead a discussion across the hemp industry on the creation of a checkoff program to promote industrial hemp, similar to producer-funded checkoffs that boost cotton, milk, and Christmas trees.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Bicameral push for higher SNAP benefits: With Congress expected to write a new coronavirus relief bill this month, one-third of U.S. representatives signed a letter to House and Senate leaders in support of a temporary 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits during the pandemic. Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, senior Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, asked for voice approval of the 15-percent boost in the Senate, but Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts objected, which killed the proposal. (FERN’s Ag Insider)
Colorado to go cage-free: Gov. Jared Polis signed a law that requires egg farmers to convert to cage-free production by 2025, making Colorado the sixth state with cage-free provisions. (Colorado Sun)
Fewer gaps, overlaps with GPS on tractors: Tractors equipped with GPS guidance operate more precisely than hand-steered tractors, reducing overlaps of seed, fertilizer, and pesticides by up to 6 percent and gaps by up to 16 percent, say USDA researchers. (American Society of Agronomy)
Super pantries for pandemic demand: The San Diego Food Bank is moving away from mass distributions that draw thousands of people to establishing a network of super pantries that will be open at least three days a week and able to handle large volumes of people. (Food Bank News)
Chicken prices on the rise: The chief executive of Perdue Farms said the grocery store price of chicken is expected to rise later this year in a delayed response to the smaller number of eggs being hatched to produce broiler chickens. (Fox Business News)