Perdue unwilling to use SNAP to fullest during pandemic, says think tank
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue shows more enthusiasm for cutting SNAP enrollment than in making full use of food stamps to alleviate hunger during the pandemic, said the think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) on Thursday. SNAP enrollment has rocketed to 43 million, the highest level since October 2017, and estimates of food insecurity have tripled because of the coronavirus.
Study: U.S. commodity farmers imperil biodiversity for ever-lower yields
In less than a decade, U.S. corn, soybean and wheat fields wiped out an expanse of native grasslands and other ecosystems larger than the state of Maryland, according to a new analysis, destroying crucial wildlife habitat and spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The new fields produced lower crop yields than existing farmland.
WTO membership is essential, say farm and agribusiness groups
The WTO may need reform, but there is no question the United States should be part of the international body, said five dozen farm and agribusiness groups in a letter to the Trump administration. “As long as exports are important to U.S. agriculture, WTO membership will be essential as well,” said the groups.
Fewer sows suggests producers are exiting hog business
Some hog farmers are leaving the business in the face of low market prices and coronavirus slowdowns at packing plants, said two pork industry analysts on Thursday. As evidence, they pointed to a USDA report showing that there are fewer sows on U.S. farms this fall than a year ago.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Food system Covid toll continues to mount: As of midday Thursday, more than 60,000 workers at U.S. meatpacking facilities, food processing plants, and farms had confirmed cases of Covid-19, and at least 258 had died. (Food and Environment Reporting Network)
China drives growth in global soy trade: World trade in soybeans will rise 8 percent, to a record 164 million tonnes, “the quickest rate of growth in three seasons and stemming from strong demand from China,” in 2019/20, said the monthly Grain Market Report. (International Grains Council)
Include ag in California climate action: Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed an executive order banning the sale of new gas-powered cars in the state by 2035, should “activate our forests, farms, wetlands, deserts, and urban green spaces as part of our climate solution,” said a coalition of environmental groups. (California Climate and Agriculture Network)
New director at OCM: Pennsylvania farmer Mike Eby, who raises beef cattle, was named by the Organization for Competitive Markets to be its new executive director. (OCM)
EPA questions effects of chlorpyrifos: In an assessment that may allow continued use of the weedkiller chlorpyrifos, the EPA said “the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved.” Federal scientists concluded five years ago that the herbicide can stunt brain development in children. (New York Times)