International contest of ideas: Farm to Fork vs. productivity coalition
The United States will launch a “coalition for productivity growth” to promote the use of high-tech tools such as gene editing and precision agriculture to build a more sustainable food system, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. The coalition would stand in contrast to the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy of greatly reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides and putting 25 percent of European farmland into organic production.
Renewable diesel boom is wild card for U.S. soybeans
Thanks to a rush in investment, the renewable diesel industry is in a building boom in the United States and abroad “that is very comparable, I believe, to the ethanol boom of the mid-2000s,” said economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois on Thursday.
Schlanger nominated as USDA civil rights leader
President Biden selected law professor Margo Schlanger, a longtime civil rights advocate, to serve as assistant secretary for civil rights at the USDA, said the White House on Thursday.
Today’s Quick Hits
More obese Americans: The CDC says that least 35 percent of the residents of 16 U.S. states are obese, up from 12 states in 2019 and nine in 2018. Obesity, a risk factor for severe Covid-19, also increases the risk of such chronic diseases as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
School meals waiver: The USDA has issued a waiver that removes the threat of financial penalties on school food programs that fail to meet meal guidelines during the pandemic because of supply chain disruptions. (School Nutrition Association)
Aid deadline extended: Livestock and poultry producers have until Oct. 12 to apply for aid through the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program, which compensates farmers who were forced to cull their animals last year because they could not find buyers for them. (USDA)
McKinney to lead NASDA: Ted McKinney, former USDA undersecretary for trade, will begin work on Sept. 27 as chief executive of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. (NASDA)
New AFBF economist: Roger Cryan will become chief economist of the American Farm Bureau Federation on Oct. 4, following nine years as a USDA economist specializing in dairy support and 12 years at the National Milk Producers Federation. (Ag Insider)