ERS: Nearly $58 billion to farmers in pandemic year
When crop insurance indemnities and unemployment benefits are counted, the government sent $57.7 billion to farm operations and farm households in 2020, while the pandemic sent the U.S. economy into recession, said a working paper by USDA economists. It was the highest estimate yet of federal assistance to farmers last year and the most inclusive.
Food inflation to slow in 2022, says USDA
After two years of higher-than-usual inflation rates, food prices will rise by a near-normal 2.5 percent in 2022, said the USDA in its first estimate of food costs in the coming year. High prices for meat and fresh food are forecast to drive the food inflation rate to 3 percent this year.
Today’s Quick Hits
Nearly $1 million in penalties: The Labor Department issued 59 violations and proposed $998,637 in penalties against three firms responsible for operations at a Georgia poultry plant where six workers died from a nitrogen leak. (Labor Department)
‘Golden rice’ approval: The Philippines is the first nation in the world to approve cultivation of “golden rice,” genetically engineered to contain beta-carotene in hopes of reducing childhood blindness, after years of debate, said the developers. (Agence France-Presse)
USDA overstepped limits: The USDA decision to give a 10 percent inflationary increase for Conservation Reserve contracts and set a minimum payment of $15 an acre for the grasslands option risks “being ruled invalid in the coming weeks or months,” said the senior Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee. (Agri-Pulse)
Klamath fish farming: California farmer Ron Barnes dug dozens of ponds on his farm and filled them with thousands of young suckerfish with the hope of de-escalating the fight over irrigation water in the Klamath basin by stocking the Klamath River with endangered fish. (Los Angeles Times)
Feral hog law: A new law in Missouri, which has a rapidly growing feral hog population, sets a fine of $2,000 for anyone who releases hogs “to live in a wild or feral state.” (Farms.com)
On The Calendar
Senate Agriculture Committee votes on nomination of Jennifer Moffitt to be agriculture undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, 5:30 p.m. ET, S-216, The Capitol.
House Rules Committee meets to consider amendments HR 4502, which would fund the USDA and eight other federal departments, and vote on terms of debate for the legislative “mini-bus,” 2 p.m. ET, H-313, The Capitol. Republican lawmakers proposed four amendments that would block USDA research on climate change, payments to farmers for carbon sequestration or creation of a national carbon market. Two other amendments by Republicans would prohibit USDA from implementing a $4-billion loan forgiveness program for farmers of color. Hundreds of amendments have been filed for HR 4502. The Rules Committee will decide which amendments will go to a floor vote.
Italy hosts pre-summit, through Wednesday, of the UN Food Systems Summit to be held this fall in conjunction with the UN General Assembly meeting, Rome. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh is the leader of the U.S. delegation to the pre-summit. While in Rome, Bronaugh is to meet with Italian government ministers, the director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the executive director of the World Food Program.
The UN International Panel on Climate Change meets online to receive a report from Working Group I that assesses the physical science basis of climate change, through Aug. 6, Geneva. A summary of the report was scheduled for release on Monday.
USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.
Senate Finance Committee hearing, “Implementation and enforcement of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement: One year after entry into force,” 9:30 a.m. ET. 215 Dirksen.
House is scheduled to debate and may vote on HR 4502, a “mini-bus” to fund nine federal departments, including USDA, noon ET.
National Press Foundation holds panel discussion online, “Price hike? Covering China’s food security strategy,” 9 a.m. ET.
House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “State of the beef supply chain: Shocks, recovery and rebuilding,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.
House Education and Labor subcommittee online hearing, “Food for thought: Examining federal nutrition programs for young children and infants,” 10:15 a.m. ET.
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “Beefing up competition: Examining America’s food supply chain,” 2:30 p.m. ET, 226 Dirksen.
FDA’s Center on Veterinary Medicine holds a stakeholder outreach session to gather feedback on its review process for genetically engineered animals, 3:40 p.m. ET.
Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the nominations of Xochitl Torres Small to be agriculture undersecretary for rural development and Robert Bonnie to be agriculture undersecretary for farm production and conservation, 10 a.m. ET, G-50 Dirksen.
House Agriculture Committee hearing, “21st Century food system: Controlled environment agriculture’s role in protecting domestic food supply chains and infrastructure,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.
International Grains Council releases monthly Grain Market Report, London.
USDA releases monthly Agricultural Prices and annual Farm Production Expenditures reports, 3 p.m. ET.
The Livestock Publications Council, the American Agricultural Editors’ Association and the Connectiv Ag-Media Council host the Agricultural Media Summit, through Aug. 4, Kansas City