USDA’s food box program may end in eight weeks – July 6, 2020

Pandemic rages, but USDA’s food box program may end in eight weeks

As it announced contracts for up to $1.47 billion to carry the Farmers to Families Food Box initiative through July and August, the USDA also said the program could end on Sept. 1, or soon afterward, as funding for the food giveaway program runs out. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has highlighted the Food Box as a boon to hungry Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, while the White House opposed a temporary expansion of food-stamp benefits.


House bill would help meat processors boost facilities, get USDA certification

Ten members of the U.S. House filed a bipartisan bill to provide grants to poultry and red meat processors that want to improve their facilities so they can move to federal inspection and sell their products across state lines.


Report: Covid-19 to worsen food insecurity around globe

The worldwide fight against the coronavirus pandemic will reduce income in countries where food insecurity is already high, leading to increased demand for food aid, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in a quarterly report.



Smithfield fights OSHA subpoena: Smithfield Foods asked a U.S. district judge to quash an OSHA subpoena that seeks South Dakota state documents pertaining to coronavirus test results, correspondence with Smithfield, and photos of Smithfield’s Sioux Falls plant, which closed temporarily in April during an outbreak in which more than 850 employees tested positive for the virus. (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)


Election outlook improves for Delgado: Republicans “failed to recruit a major challenger” to first-term Rep. Antonio Delgado in upstate New York, so the House Agriculture Committee member is rated a likely victor on Nov. 3. (Sabato’s Crystal Ball)


USDA proposes RFID tags for cattle: Public comments will be accepted until Oct. 5 on a proposal by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency to approve only radio-frequency identification (RFID) ear tags for use on most beef cattle over 18 months of age; metal ear tags and RFID tags are options now. (USDA)


Testing for virus among farmworkers: Out of 3,900 farmworkers tested in New Jersey, 5 percent were infected with the coronavirus according to state health officials. The actual rate may be higher because day laborers are unlikely to be tested at health centers, and workers who go to private facilities for tests are not included in the count. (New York Times)


Atlantic Coast Pipeline canceled: Despite a favorable Supreme Court ruling, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy abandoned their six-year campaign to build the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline because of ongoing risks of litigation and the rising cost of constructing the natural gas pipeline. (Washington Post)




House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture votes on funding for USDA, FDA and related agencies for fiscal 2021, 6 p.m. ET,  2118 Rayburn.

Midwest Association of State Departments of Agriculture holds the last of three online sessions to replace its annual meeting. Today’s one-hour session is about animal health. Previous session discussed water quality and renewable fuels.

USA Rice business meetings, through Thursday, Irving, Texas.

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


Purdue University releases monthly Ag Economy Barometer, providing “a sense of the agricultural economy’s health” and based on a survey of large-scale farmers and ranchers.

House Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development votes on fiscal 2021 funding for the Energy Department, Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 3 p.m. ET, 2118 Rayburn.


Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador meets President Trump at the White House. Trump says the leaders will “continue our important dialogue on trade, health and other issues central to our regional prosperity and security.”

House Committee on Homeland Security online hearing, “Examining the national response to the worsening coronavirus pandemic,” noon ET.


House Appropriations Committee votes on three government funding bills for fiscal 2021, including the USDA-FDA bill, 2118 Rayburn.


USDA releases monthly Crop Production and WASDE  reports, noon ET. The reports will incorporate data from a pair of USDA reports on June 30 that showed farmers planted 5 million few acres of corn than they planned in March, reducing the potential size of this year’s crop by 1 billion bushels.


Institute of Food Technologists holds IFT20, its annual meeting and expo, online, through July 15.

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