Biden vows to pay farmers to plant cover crops and put land in conservation – December 14, 2020

Biden vows to pay farmers to plant cover crops and put land in conservation

The government will help farmers mitigate climate change by paying them to “put their land in conservation” and plant cover crops, said President-elect Biden, providing some details on his campaign call to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. The sector accounts for roughly 10 percent of emissions nationwide.


With hunger at crisis levels, states still haven’t issued new P-EBT benefits

Advocates spent much of the summer urging legislators to extend Pandemic-EBT, a program Congress created in March that gave families grocery money—from $250 to $450 per school-age child—to offset the loss of breakfasts and lunches while schools were closed. Finally, in October, Congress agreed to extend the program through the 2020-21 school year. But the chaos of school re-openings this fall has disrupted the rollout, and no state has disbursed P-EBT benefits to eligible families for the current school year.


A California water fight pits pistachio growers against the U.S. Navy

A legal dispute over water rights in California’s Mojave desert has growers for The Wonderful Co. on one side and a town reliant on a sprawling naval base on the other. As Brent Crane reports the case offers a glimpse of the coming water wars in California, as the state’s all-powerful agriculture interests increasingly square off against thirsty communities over a dwindling supply of fresh water.


Today’s Quick Hits


Covid hits 20 percent of workers at Fresno chicken plant: At least 242 workers have tested positive for Covid-19 at three Foster Farms chicken processing plants in the Central Valley, including 20 percent of employees  at the hardest-hit facility, in Fresno. (Los Angeles Times)


Grocery inflation dips slightly: The inflation rate for groceries is triple the overall U.S. rate of 1.2 percent over the past 12 months, but prices declined 0.3 percent in November. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)


USDA to restart farm labor survey: The National Agricultural Statistics Service said it “will mail the questionnaires and collect data immediately” for the semi-annual Agricultural Labor Survey, which it suspended on Sept 30 only to be overruled by a federal judge. (USDA)


Trump signs grain standards bill: President Trump signed into law S 4054 reauthorizing the U.S. authority to set marketing standards for soybeans and major grain crops and allowing the government to collect user fees to partially offset the cost of inspecting grain. (White House)


Harden to succeed Vilsack: Krysta Harden, the chief operating officer of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, will succeed Tom Vilsack as leader of the trade-promoting organization if the Senate confirms Vilsack as agriculture secretary, said Dairy Management Inc. (Dairy Herd Management)


On The Calendar


USDA releases monthly Oil Crops Outlook and Cotton and Wool Outlook, noon ET.

USDA updates totals, now $22.1 billion, for coronavirus aid paid to farmers since May, 2 p.m. ET.

USDA releases monthly Rice Outlook, Feed Outlook and Wheat Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.


Iowa State University releases its annual Iowa Land Values Survey, 11 a.m. ET.

Farmdoc Daily holds webinar, “Farmland markets and macro markets,” noon ET.


American Enterprise Institute holds webinar, “The future of global trade: U.S. trade policy in the Joe Biden era and beyond,” 2 p.m. p.m. ET. Speakers are Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, David Dollar of the Brookings Institution, professor Robert Howse of New York University law school and Stephen Vaughn of the law firm King and Spaulding. 

USDA releases monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, noon ET.

USDA releases monthly Sugar Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.


USDA releases semi-annual Costs of Production Forecast, 9 a.m. ET.

USDA releases annual Rural America at a Glance: 2020 edition, and monthly Vegetable and Pulses Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.

USDA releases Irrigation Organizations report, 3 p.m. ET. The report, a successor of the Irrigation and Water Management report, provides the results of a survey of organizations that provide off-farm water to farms or manage groundwater usage on farms. Tables will “provide a breakdown of the services the organizations provide, the amount of water they work with, and the economic conditions they work under.”


USDA holds a webinar on its report, Rural America at a Glance: 2020 Edition, 1 p.m. ET. 

USDA releases monthly Cattle on Feed report, 3 p.m. ET.

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