Record USDA Support Flowing, More May Be Needed – June 3, 2020

Record USDA support flowing, but farmers say more federal assistance will be needed


With signup underway for $16 billion in coronavirus payments, farmers overwhelmingly say more federal aid to agriculture is needed this year, according to a Purdue University poll released on Tuesday.




Fruit-packing workers strike, and Washington State strengthens Covid-19 protections


After several weeks of strikes by workers at six fruit-packing facilities in Yakima, Washington, and a number of outbreaks of Covid-19 in food production and processing plants, the state will require stronger protections for agricultural workers.


Feenstra defeats anti-immigrant King

State Sen. Randy Feenstra, who ran as “pro-Trump effective conservative,” easily defeated nine-term Rep. Steve King, a promoter of white identity politics, in the Republican congressional primary in northwestern Iowa on Tuesday.


Covid-19 spreading among Florida farmworkers

In the last several weeks, health workers in Immokalee, Florida, the nation’s tomato-growing capital, have detected an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases: an average of 24 new positives a day. In April, the town of roughly 30,000 — most of whom work in agriculture and many of whom are undocumented — saw a total of 42 positive cases. Since then, that number leaped twelve-fold.


‘Protest and voting go together’ (Washington Post): In an op-ed, Rep. Antonio Delgado of New York, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, said, “Protest and voting go together: The twin pillars of our democracy are freedom to speak our minds and one-person, one-vote.”



First dog with coronavirus (USDA): A pet German shepherd dog in New York State is the first dog in the country diagnosed with the coronavirus; the virus also has been found in two pet cats, also from New York State, and a tiger at the Bronx zoo.



More Food Box inconsistencies (The Counter): Dozens of contractors in the Farmers to Families Food Box program lack the USDA license required to operate a produce business and two companies are run by men despite being listed by USDA as owned by women, according to a review of contracts.



Brazil meat plants and coronavirus (Reuters): A quarter of the coronavirus cases in Rio Grande do Sul, the fifth-most populous state in Brazil, are among meat plant workers, further evidence that meatpacking plants are hot spots for the pandemic virus.



Storm Lake pork plant reopens (Tyson Foods): Limited production will begin on Wednesday at the Tyson Foods pork plant in Storm Lake, Iowa, which was closed temporarily for sanitizing and where 591 workers tested positive for the coronavirus.



Hand sanitizer guidelines updated (FDA): In response to queries from corn ethanol producers who are looking for a new market, the FDA updated its guidelines on tolerance levels for impurities in alcohol-based hand sanitizers; a trade group said the new interim limits are “overly restrictive.”

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