Climate change prompts talk of permanent USDA disaster fund – May 19, 2021

Climate change prompts talk of permanent USDA disaster fund

The government must respond rapidly to the destructive weather that accompanies climate change, said House Agriculture chairman David Scott on Tuesday, so he is working on legislation to create a permanent disaster aid fund at the USDA. “Many of our farms are done away with because we move too slow” in drafting and passing relief bills, he said.

Farmers’ share of food dollar is shrinking

A decade ago, farmers received 17.6 cents of each $1 spent on food by Americans. Their share now is barely above 14 cents while processors, retailers and others in the food chain take a larger share, according to USDA economists, who have tracked the farmer/marketer relationship for a quarter century.

Today’s Quick Hits

USDA’s new produce boxes: The USDA awarded contracts worth $9.7 million to buy 1.29 million boxes of fresh produce for donation to food banks from June 1-Sept 30. The Biden administration says it will continue to donate food while looking for a more efficient and less expensive successor to the Trump-era food box program. ( Ag Insider)

China buys 2 percent of corn: With the purchase of 1.36 million tonnes of U.S. corn announced on Tuesday, China has bought 8.16 million tonnes of “new crop” corn for delivery in the 2021/22 marketing year, or 2 percent of the projected corn crop this year. (USDA)

Unprepared for intense drought: While some farmers in California have adopted water-saving technology amid an intense drought, others are drilling deeper wells to irrigate new orchards. “The upshot is California isn’t ready – again.” (CalMatters)

Fake farm fraud on PPP loans: Online lender Kabbage made 378 small loans totaling $7 million through the government’s Payroll Protection Program to fake small businesses, the overwhelming majority of them categorized as farms, including potato fields in Palm Beach. (ProPublica)

China’s bid to join trade bloc: The economic superpower of Asia has held technical-level talks with Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand to join the Pacific Rim trading bloc that the United States promoted and then abandoned. (Bloomberg)

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