When it comes to RFS petitions, Wheeler makes no promises
Senators with opposite views of the ethanol mandate verbally leaned on EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler on Wednesday, with one asking for relief from the requirement to mix the biofuel into gasoline and the other calling for him to unflinchingly enforce it. Wheeler said he has not reached a decision on petitions to waive the RFS during the coronavirus pandemic.
Half of SNAP recipients can buy groceries online
Online SNAP purchasing has seen phenomenal growth during the coronavirus pandemic as a way to reduce participants’ exposure to the disease. With the Wednesday addition of 13 states to the program, the USDA has now approved proposals from 36 states and the District of Columbia to make online purchasing available.
Coronavirus aid slanted against local food, says small-farm group
The Trump administration’s $16 billion coronavirus aid package for agriculture “fails to deliver for many farmers who are the backbone of local, resilient, sustainable food systems,” said the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Wednesday. The group said small producers would be trampled by large operators in the first-come, first-served race for payments that can go as high as $750,000.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Groups call for protection of meatpacking workers (HEAL Food Alliance): More than 100 food, environmental, and labor groups sent a letter to the Department of Justice, OSHA, and members of Congress urging them to guarantee protective gear and hazard pay to meatpacking workers.
EU backs sustainable food system (Europa): The European Commission adopted a Farm to Fork Strategy to reduce the use of pesticides by 50 percent and fertilizers by 20 percent and to expand organic farming to 25 percent of agricultural land.
Lost farmland (AFT): From 2001 to 2016, 11 million acres of “irreplaceable agricultural land was lost or fragmented, equal to all the land in the United States used to produce fruits, vegetables, and nuts in 2017,” says the American Farmland Trust’s “Farms Under Threat” report.
Dashboard of agricultural risk (Purdue): Microsoft and Purdue University have created an online “food and agricultural vulnerability index” to quantify the potential risk to the supply of food and agricultural products from Covid-19 illnesses among workers.
‘Bee Engaged,’ says UN group (FAO): The third annual World Bee Day highlighted the role bees and other pollinators play in the production of foods such as pine honey, a resinous honey produced mostly in Turkey.