U.S. demands trade panel ruling in dairy dispute with Canada
The Biden administration elevated a long-simmering dispute over Canadian dairy quotas on Tuesday by calling for a three-judge panel to decide the matter under USMCA rules. It was the first time that a dispute settlement panel was invoked under the trade agreement that took effect last July 1.
Fear of reprisal kept immigrants from accessing federal aid in pandemic
Fear, fueled by the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, kept many eligible low-income immigrant families from accessing non-cash benefits and other federal assistance programs in 2020, even as the pandemic deepened economic hardship, according to two new analyses released Wednesday from the Urban Institute.
Advocates call for $200 billion increase for ag climate mitigation
Congress should provide $200 billion in new funding over a decade to reach the goal of “negative emission farming,” said 450 conservation, consumer, farm and environmental groups in a letter on Tuesday. The increase would be the equivalent of all the funding in the 2018 farm bill for crop subsidies, land stewardship, crop insurance, research and rural development.
Record sales of organic food as pandemic boosts home cooking
Americans bought a record $56.5 billion of organic food last year, an increase of nearly 13 percent from 2019, as shoppers flooded grocery stores due to stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, said a survey released on Tuesday by the Organic Trade Association.
Today’s Quick Hits
Fewer rural Covid-19 cases: The number of new Covid-19 infections reported in rural America fell by 18 percent last week from the preceding week and are now down by 90 percent from the peak in mid-January. (Daily Yonder)
Foster Farms fined: California state regulators proposed one of its largest fines of the pandemic, $181,500, against poultry processor Foster Farms for failing to protect workers from Covid-19 at a plant in the Central Valley where at least four workers died of the disease. (Fresno Bee)
Prices tick upward: Grocery prices are forecast to rise by 2 percent this year due to higher prices for meat and fresh fruits, particularly citrus. The rise is higher than the previous forecast of 1.5 percent but well below the 3.5 percent gain in 2020. (USDA)
Line speed squabble: A federal court decision to slow slaughter lines at hog plants will reduce processing capacity by 2.5 percent and reduce prices for hogs, says an industry group that wants the USDA to appeal the decision. (National Pork Producers Council)
West is tinder dry: With the wildfire season under way, vegetation in the West is so parched it “is primed to ignite” after the second-lowest rainfall ever in the month of April. (Associated Press)