Farm Groups Call For COVID-19 Relief – March 19, 2020

As Senate passes coronavirus relief package, farm groups call for support in next round


The Senate voted on Wednesday to pass an emergency aid package that will, among other provisions, expand funding for nutrition programs as the nation confronts the economic toll of the spreading coronavirus. As the bill heads to President Trump for a likely signature, farm and food groups are urging Congress to include the agriculture sector in forthcoming relief efforts.


In North Carolina, pandemic prompts farmer cooperation


Even before he knew that city officials in Durham, North Carolina, would be suspending the local farmers’ market, George O’Neal was preparing for disruption. Last Saturday, he stood behind a table piled high with mustard greens and kale, holding a clipboard and taking names for what he hopes will become a model of coronavirus-era collaboration.


For Mexico’s migrant farmworkers, virus risk may be worth it for what they’ll earn in U.S.


The global pandemic feels distant to 31-year-old Manuel Alejandro Lopez Delgado in his town of some 4,000 people in the state of Sinaloa, along the Gulf of California. There’s been just one confirmed case of coronavirus in the state, and that was four hours away, in the city of Culiacan. But in the next two weeks, Lopez, along with three other workers from his town, will be traveling to the U.S. to work in Washington State. The three-day bus journey will take them to the epicenter of the Covid-19 crisis in America.


Florida moves to protect seagrass beds (Pew): State lawmakers sent the governor bills that would create a 400,000-acre aquatic preserve off the state’s west coast.


General Mills launches regenerative wheat project (FoodTank): The three-year program is designed to help 24 Kansas wheat farmers transition from conventional to regenerative practices.


What to do with all that food? (The Counter): As restaurants shutter, their owners are scrambling to freeze, donate, or give away perishable food before it rots.


Farmers worry about workers getting sick (NPR): Migrant farmworkers “often live together, sharing kitchens and bedrooms and traveling together on buses,” conditions ripe for spreading the Covid-19 outbreak.


Virtually all craft brewers affected by Covid-19 (Brewers Association): A survey by the independent brewers’ group found that 98.9 percent of small brewers are seeing a negative impact from the Covid-19 outbreak, and 95 percent expect their sales to be down this month compared to the same time last year.


Climate change spurs pests, diseases (CIMMYT): Climate change is one factor driving the spread of pests, affecting their population size, survival rate, and geographic distribution; it’s also a factor in the intensity, development, and geographic distribution of crop diseases.

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