Transplanted USDA agencies will stay in Kansas City, says Vilsack
Despite complaints the Trump administration needlessly uprooted them, two USDA research agencies will stay in Kansas City rather than return to the D.C. area, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday.
Child-hunger advocates hope Biden’s expansion of P-EBT becomes a permanent solution to summer food needs
The Agriculture Department on Tuesday announced plans to launch the most significant summer food program in U.S. history, expanding a pandemic-era benefit to feed more than 30 million children over the summer break. Now, anti-hunger advocates are hoping to leverage the expansion into a permanent summer benefits program, a longstanding goal that would fill a gap in food access when school is out.
USDA awards $330 million for regional conservation
Seven dozen land stewardship projects across the nation will share a combined $330 million in federal funding for soil and water conservation on a watershed scale, said the USDA on Monday.
Today’s Quick Hits
Unending sign-up: After tweaking the Conservation Reserve with higher payment rates and a climate-mitigation focus, the USDA said the ongoing enrollment period “will extend until an announcement is made that signup will end.” So-called continuous enrollment for high-priority practices will continue throughout the year. (FERN’s Ag Insider)
Small pandemic payout: The USDA issued $50 million in pandemic assistance to farmers and ranchers last week, the smallest weekly total since the Biden administration retooled the program; $24 billion in cash has been paid to producers since last May. (FERN’s Ag Insider)
Meals cost more: Prices for food from restaurants and other carry-out businesses will rise by a higher-than-average 3 percent this year, said the monthly Food Price Outlook. (USDA)
Heartland loses seats: The 2020 census says seven states — California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — will each lose one House seat, while Texas gains two seats and Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon will have one additional U.S. representative. (Census Bureau)
Drought blisters valley: The San Joaquin Valley is known for bounteous production of dairy, almonds, pistachios and fruit, but a new season of drought is prompting some to question whether agriculture will be a viable industry there in the future. (Los Angeles Times)
Rural ambulance quandary: Ambulance services in rural America are running out of money and volunteers, “a crisis exacerbated by the demands of the pandemic and a neglected, patchwork 911 system.” (New York Times)