‘Significant progress’ in Covid-19 vaccinations at USDA – November 23, 2021

‘Significant progress’ in Covid-19 vaccinations at USDA

USDA “critical services” will not be disrupted by the Biden administration mandate for federal workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, said the department on Monday as the deadline passed for inoculations. Farm and livestock groups said earlier this month that the mandate might leave the USDA short of meat inspectors or staff at its local offices.

Senate bill would ban broad swath of pesticides

The United States would ban the use of two classes of insecticides—organophosphates and neonicotinoids—and the herbicide paraquat under a bill unveiled by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey on Monday. More than 100 pesticides would be affected, including chlorpyrifos, recently slated by the EPA for termination as an agricultural aid.

The farmworkers in California’s fire zones

In 2020, as thousands of residents fled Sonoma County because of wildfires, hundreds of farmworkers stayed behind and continued working under a little-known government “ag pass” program, FERN reports in our latest story, produced in collaboration with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and the radio show World Affairs.

Today’s Quick Hits

Ethanol profits soar: Thanks to rising demand for ethanol and its co-products since late summer, ethanol plants are making near-record profits with one analyst saying “we are in rarified territory for ethanol prices and profits.” (Successful Farming)

Meat efficiency grants: The USDA announced a total of $32 million in grants to 167 meat and poultry processing plants to support expanded capacity or efficiency through a program to help small and very small facilities weather the pandemic. (USDA)

Potato shipments suspended: Canada suspended all shipments to the United States of potatoes grown on Prince Edward Island following the discovery of a fungal parasite known as potato wart on two farms. (CTV News)

Plenty of turkey: Smaller turkeys, weighing from 10 to 14 pounds, are in shorter supply than usual but there are more big turkeys, weighing 16 pounds or more, for shoppers seeking the traditional centerpiece for Thanksgiving, says the Butterball chief executive. (Axios)

NBB name change: The National Biodiesel Board, which began in 1992 as the National SoyDiesel Development Board, will change its name to Clean Fuels Alliance America in early 2022 to reflect the trade group’s interest in renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. (Red River Farm Network)

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