Food supply issues

Back in March, the coronavirus started triggering infection hotspots in and around meatpacking plants, sickening and killing workers. As local public health authorities pushed giant meat conglomerates to close infected facilities, industry executives warned that doing so was “pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” as Kenneth M. Sullivan, CEO of Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, declared in a April 12 press release.

#AgAlerts: Covid-19, slaughterhouses, dairy crisis, CARES

The dismal outlook for Wisconsin dairy farmers has worsened as they’re being warned that milk prices will continue falling, and more milk dumping could be necessary, if the federal government doesn’t start buying dairy products to offset COVID-19’s effect on the economy.

Covid-19

Rural communities are bracing for a looming recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, expecting that it could devastate already shaky economies.

As the virus shuts down schools, factories, restaurants and other businesses, rural towns contend with a smaller tax base, less access to high-speed internet and growing strain among lenders.

#AgAlerts: Coronavirus; carbon; EU farm program and trade deal

The USDA announced today that 14 states have received waivers to “congregate feeding” requirements. To date, Washington, California, Maryland, Alaska, Utah, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Maine, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia have all received waivers.

#AgAlerts: EPA; trade deal; Bayer and disaster aid

The Trump administration has formally revised a proposal that would significantly restrict the type of research that can be used to draft environmental and public health regulations, a measure that experts say amounts to one of the government’s most far-reaching restrictions on science.

#AgAlerts: Bailout; Mexico’s corn; climate, solar and farms

Based on a midyear survey, the USDA estimates there were 2.023 million farms in the nation in 2019, a tiny decline of 5,800 farms from the previous year. The change is more dramatic when the time frame is widened — there are 3% fewer farms now than there were in 2014, and the amount of farmland, 897.4 million acres, or 1.4 million square miles, fell by 1.3% during that five-year period.

#AgAlerts: Rural roads; herbicides; climate

The Department of Agriculture is looking to halve the U.S. farming industry’s environmental footprint by mid-century in a target that includes several climate and clean energy goals.

#AgAlerts: Climate change; pesticides; Gates Foundation Ag Center

Missouri agriculture officials are struggling to address a backlog of complaints from farmers who allege that dicamba-based herbicide drift from another farm has damaged their crops. The Missouri Department of Agriculture has about 600 pending pesticide investigations. Some of them date back to 2016, the year that Bayer-owned Monsanto began selling its dicamba-tolerant soybeans.