USDA Food-Box Program – June 22, 2020

USDA offers few yardsticks for measuring its food-box program


For USDA, the most important number in its food-box giveaway program is how many boxes are donated — 18.4 million as of Friday, according to a tally on the homepage of the agency that runs the program. Officials declined to provide other details, such as the average cost of the boxes or how long the $3-billion initiative will be in operation.


Juneteenth celebrated by African American farmers


For Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the emancipation of African American slaves in the United States, an organization known as A Growing Culture hosted a day-long internet broadcast on Friday featuring the voices of black farmers and gardeners and the fight in black communities for a just food system.


SNAP rolls rose as coronavirus spread across U.S.

Food stamp enrollment climbed by 479,000 people, or 1.3 percent, in March, in the early days of combating the novel coronavirus and the economic slowdown that accompanied it, said the USDA.

Appellate court backs EPA on dicamba phase-out

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected an emergency motion for an immediate cutoff of farmer use of the weedkiller dicamba, a victory for the EPA plan to allow spraying of the herbicide on GE soybeans and cotton through July 31.


JBS warns agains ‘excessive absenteeism’ (Des Moines Register): Workers at a JBS meatpacking plant say the company distributed a letter asking workers to call the human resources office and explain why they have not been showing up for work during the coronavirus pandemic.



Community forests resist logging (Yale Environment 360): Thirty years after Guatemala created the Maya Biosphere Reserve to protect the rainforest, the best-preserved portion is the nearly 900,000 acres that were designated as community forests.



China blocks imports from Tyson plant with Covid-19 outbreak (USA Today):  Chinese officials suspended imports of poultry meat from a Tyson Foods plant in Springdale, Arkansas, where hundreds of workers tested positive for the coronavirus.



Mexico halts farmworkers to Canada (Washington Post): Mexico, which provides half of the guestworkers on Canadian farms, temporarily halted their movement to Canada until officials are satisfied with precautions against the coronavirus following the death of two workers and reports that at least 600 are infected.



The end of cafeteria lunches (The Counter): When the new school year opens, students are more likely to eat breakfast and lunch in the classroom or take a grab-and-go meal home than to eat in cafeterias.




– Midwest Association of State Departments of Agriculture holds first of three online sessions to replace its annual meeting. Today’s one-hour session is about water quality. On June 29, there will be a meeting on renewable fuels, and on July 6 a session is planned on animal health.



– Farmdoc Daily holds webinar, “Tillage, nitrogen use and cover crop impacts on corn and soybean returns in central Illinois,” 10 a.m. ET.



– USDA releases monthly Cold Storage report, 3 p.m. ET.



–  USDA issues weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.



– House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, “Oversight of the Trump administration’s responses to the Covid-19 pandemic,” 11 a.m. ET, 2123 Rayburn. Witnesses are Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases; FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn; HHS assistant secretary Brett Giroir; and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



– House Appropriations Committee holds “members day” hearing online to receive requests for funds in fiscal 2021, 11 a.m. ET.



– National WIC Association holds annual conference online with theme “Adapting to change: Supporting the WIC community,” through Thursday.



– Senate Agriculture Committee holds hearing on S 3894, the Growing Climate Solutions Act, and votes on reauthorization of U.S. grain standard, 10 a.m. ET, G-50 Dirksen. Witnesses at the hearing are to include the presidents of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union, the two largest U.S. farm groups.


– USDA releases monthly Food Price Outlook, 9 a.m. ET.



– USDA releases quarterly Hogs and Pigs report and monthly Livestock Slaughter report, 3 p.m. ET.



– International Grains Council releases monthly Grain Market Report, London.

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