With new Covid plan, Biden calls for OSHA to update workplace safety protections
The nation’s top workplace safety enforcer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will explore issuing enforceable workplace safety standards to protect workers from the spread of Covid-19 as part of President Joe Biden’s new pandemic strategy. Labor advocates and congressional Democrats have pushed for enforceable standards for the duration of the pandemic, arguing that the existing voluntary guidelines for employers don’t go far enough to protect workers.
New USDA executives for nutrition, marketing, and rural development
The Biden administration announced the appointment of three USDA deputy undersecretaries on Thursday: Stacy Dean for nutrition, Justin Maxson for rural development, and Mae Wu for marketing and regulatory programs.
China gets to two-thirds of ‘phase one’
China failed to meet its “phase one” target for imports of U.S. food, agriculture, and seafood products despite a surge in purchases that began late last summer, said the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Thursday.
FIRST 100 DAYS
Grand ideals and pocketbook appeal in climate plan for agriculture
President Biden repeatedly described climate change as an existential threat during the fall campaign. Now that he is in office, his administration will rely on the pocketbook rather than the rule book when it comes to agriculture’s contribution to slowing global warming. Voluntary participation by farmers, aided by financial incentives, has been a hallmark of USDA stewardship programs since their earliest days.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Get a shot, get $100: Meatpacker JBS USA and its subsidiary Pilgrim’s Pride said they would pay a $100 bonus to each of their 66,000 U.S. employees who volunteers to get vaccinated against Covid-19. (JBS)
Taste is tops: The pandemic has caused significant changes in food-purchasing behavior, but taste still matters most when Americans buy food, followed by safety, price, and nutrition, say consumer surveys. (farmdoc Daily)
Drought to expand: With La Niña conditions expected to continue into spring, drought is forecast to expand in the southern Plains and along the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico and the southern Atlantic Coast. Drought is predicted to continue in the northern Plains, the Southwest, and California. (National Weather Service)
AFBF urges more transparent crop reports: The largest U.S. farm group, claiming farmer confidence in USDA crop reports is ebbing, says the government should modernize its technology and do a better job of explaining how it produces its crop estimates. (Reuters)
Another look at chlorpyrifos: The EPA will take a new look at whether to keep chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide, on the market, potentially countermanding a decision by the Trump administration. (NPR)
Court to review RFS exemptions: A federal appeals court said it would review three Renewable Fuel Standard exemptions granted by the EPA on the final day of the Trump administration, and temporarily blocked the EPA from implementing the exemptions. (DTN/Progressive Farmer)