Boost SNAP benefits by 15 percent to weather coronavirus, says think tank
Just as lawmakers temporarily increased food stamp benefits during the Great Recession of 2008-09, Congress should boost benefits to help poor families cope with the economic downturn that is accompanying efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Thursday.
Farmers and food groups innovate to keep operations viable as the coronavirus spreads
As the spread of the coronavirus causes many cities to curtail public gatherings, farmers who sell directly to customers at farmers’ markets and through CSAs are coming up with novel solutions at breakneck speed to keep their customers fed and their operations viable. For one farmer, a pool noodle is an essential part of the plan.
USDA, Labor Department plan would allow guestworkers to shift jobs
To aid farmers worried about an imminent labor shortage, two federal departments said on Thursday that they will help farms find foreign and domestic workers who may be eligible to transfer from one agricultural employer to another.
Increased risk of spring flooding in central and southeastern states
Major to moderate flooding is likely this spring from the northern Plains southward to the Gulf Coast, with the greatest risk in the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Missouri River basin, and the Red River of the North, said NOAA on Thursday.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Will virus upend U.S.-China trade deal? (Politico): From economic damage to damaging rhetoric, the coronavirus threatens all aspects of the relationship between the two economic superpowers.
Maryland lawmakers ban chlorpyrifos (Maryland Pesticide Action Network): On Wednesday, the Maryland General Assembly made the state the fourth in the country to ban chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide, starting in 2021.
‘I’m a migrant food delivery guy in Italy’ (Slate): As Italy shut down in response to the coronavirus, “[m]y earnings and my working hours plummeted. … If I don’t work, I don’t make money — but if I need food, medicines, or anything else, I need to spend money anyway.”
NOSB shifts to online meeting (USDA): The National Organic Standards Board said that because of the coronavirus, it would hold its spring meeting, scheduled for April 21 and 22, online “in an open and public setting.”
Accommodating consumers during Covid-19 (AFBF): As social distancing keeps Americans out of restaurants, food processors are shifting production to focus on cuts of chicken, beef, and pork that appeal to the home cook and offering frozen foods and shelf-stable items for the home pantry.