Survey: Unrelenting food insecurity during pandemic
One in five U.S. households say they often or sometimes run out of food, a persistently elevated level of food insecurity as the nation faces its fourth month of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Covid Impact Survey. “Despite some public benefits in place, this is still very high,” said Nick Hart, president of the Data Foundation, which launched the survey
Judge declares much of N.C. ag-gag law unconstitutional
A federal judge handed a victory late Friday to animal-welfare advocates when he declared that much of North Carolina’s ag-gag law violated the First Amendment’s free-speech provisions. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder’s ruling could also help employees who are trying to expose slaughterhouses that put their workforces at risk for Covid-19 infection, according to an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Dicamba plaintiffs ask for immediate cutoff of weedkiller
The victors in a lawsuit against the weedkiller dicamba asked the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn an EPA decision that would let farmers use the herbicide until July 31.
Perdue wants more goods and services from U.S. forests
Citing recent increases in timber sales from the national forests, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the Forest Service to “identify new opportunities to increase America’s energy dominance and reduce reliance on foreign countries for critical minerals.”
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Planning for the wrong pandemic (ProPublica): Government and meat industry officials planned for years for a pandemic that attacked cattle, hogs and chickens, but they do not have a coordinated plan to protect meat plant workers, leaving them vulnerable, according to emails, texts, notes and reports obtained from dozens of public health agencies.
Court won’t force OSHA on coronavirus (The Hill): The D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a lawsuit from the AFL-CIO that sought to force the Labor Department to issue strong labor protections against the coronavirus, saying OSHA “reasonably determined” that an emergency standard was not necessary at this time.
Agriculture shrinks in Puerto Rico (USDA): Production of coffee and plantains plummeted in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the number of farms fell nearly 38 percent, according to the Census of Agriculture.
Agriculture blamed for Florida algae (Tampa Bay Times): Coastal residents increasingly blame agriculture for phosphorus runoff into Lake Okeechobee and the lack of progress in controlling the blue-green algae that periodically carpets the lake.
ON THE USDA CALENDAR
– Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler tour Pairwise Greenhouse, Durham, North Carolina, at 9 a.m. ET and, with Sen. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, take part in a Farmers to Families Food Box event in Creedmoor at 11:30 a.m. ET.
– United Fresh Produce Association holds online conference United Fresh Alive, through Friday.
– USDA releases monthly Oil Crops Outlook and Cotton and Wool Outlook, noon ET.
– USDA releases monthly Feed Outlook, Rice Outlook and Wheat Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.
– USDA issues weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.
– Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, “Impact of Covid-19 on the energy industry,” 10 a.m. ET, 366 Dirksen. Witnesses include Frank Macchiarola of the American Petroleum Institute and Lisa Jackson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.
– House Energy and Commerce Committee online hearing, “Reviving our economy: Covid-19’s impact on the energy sector,” noon ET. Witnesses include former Energy Secretary Ernest Munoz.
– Deadline for EPA to respond in U.S. appellate court to motion to halt dicamba use and hold EPA in contempt of court for saying growers could use dicamba already on the farm.
– NoCo Hemp Expo and Let’s Talk Hemp Media hold “Experience Hemp Summer Solstice” conference and trade show online, through Friday.
– U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer is lead witness at House Ways and Means Committee online hearing, “The 2020 trade policy agenda,” 10 a.m. ET.
– U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer is lead witness at Senate Finance Committee hearing, “The president’s 2020 trade policy agenda,” 3 p.m. ET, G-50 Dirksen.
– USDA releases monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, noon ET.
– USDA releases monthly Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.
– USDA releases monthly Cattle on Feed report, 3 p.m. ET.
– First day of summer in the northern hemisphere, when the sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky. The Old Farmers Almanac says the date of the solstice varies from June 20-22, because of the difference between the time needed for the earth to orbit the sun, 365.25 days, and the Gregorian calendar, which divides the year into 365 days with a leap year every fourth year, “which makes the date for summer jump backward. However, the date also changes because of other influences, such as the gravitational pull from the Moon and planets, as well as the slight wobble in Earth’s rotation.” This year, summer will end on Sept. 22.