Senate bill would block faster line speeds at meat plants during pandemic
In the name of worker safety, seven Democratic senators introduced a bill on Tuesday to block the USDA from allowing faster line speeds at meat plants during the pandemic and to suspend line-speed waivers it already has issued. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said workers “are crowded into meatpacking plants that have become hotbeds for Covid-19 outbreaks.”
Survey finds high risks faced by California farmworkers in pandemic
Farmworkers in California face increased vulnerability to the coronavirus, due to working conditions and lack of access to healthcare, according to a survey released Tuesday by farmworker advocates.
Pace of coronavirus payments to farmers slows, reasons unclear
When its coronavirus relief program went into operation, the USDA was sending $1 billion a week to farmers and ranchers. A relatively small $400 million was paid last week and $300 million in the week before that, a pace so slow that there are questions whether the $16 billion earmarked for agriculture will be needed.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
HEALS Act fails on hunger: Seven anti-hunger groups said the coronavirus package proposed by Senate Republicans “is an unconscionable failure in our federal response to hunger” and called for Congress to increase SNAP benefits “to address food hardship and support economic recovery.” (Feeding America)
Synthetic hormones a boon: The use of synthetic and natural hormones in livestock production, a controversial practice in some countries, “has contributed significantly to providing a safe and low-cost food supply to American consumers,” said a commentary released by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. (CAST)
Dwindling numbers of western bumblebees: The number of western bumblebees has fallen by as much as 93 percent in the past two decades, says U.S. Geological Survey research that may play a role in a federal decision whether to list the pollinator as an endangered species. (Associated Press)
Genome of vineyard pest is mapped: In a decade-long project, scientists mapped the genome of an aphid-like pest that infests grape vines and in heavy infestations can cause the vines to lose their leaves or die. (UC-Riverside)
Yoho resigns from Bread board: At the organization’s request, House Agriculture Committee member Ted Yoho resigned from the board of the anti-hunger group Bread for the World in the wake of an incident in which the Florida Republican spoke crudely of a female House colleague. (Bread for the World)