Reinstate organic livestock rule, OTA asks judge

Warning that organic egg farmers face unfair competition daily, the Organic Trade Association asked a federal judge to order the USDA to reinstate a 2017 regulation setting welfare standards for organic livestock. The 2017 regulation said enclosed porches, used by some egg producers, do not …

Smithfield exaggerated meat-supply risk of pandemic, says lawsuit

Pork processor Smithfield Foods fanned fears of a meat shortage during the pandemic and failed to adequately protect its workers from Covid-19 while fattening its profits, charged the consumer group Food & Water Watch in a lawsuit. Filed under the District of Columbia’s consumer protection …

Today’s quick hits, June 22, 2021

Bundy for governor: Anti-government leader and rancher Ammon Bundy, a key figure in the armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in 2016, is running for the Republican nomination for governor in Idaho in a field that includes incumbent Brad Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin. (The Hill) …

Former Rep. Torres Small is selected to lead rural development at USDA

President Biden chose former Rep Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico to serve as agriculture undersecretary for rural development, overseeing a portfolio of $43 billion in housing, utilities and business and industry programs. Congress overrode a Trump-era reorganization of USDA to re-create the Senate-confirmed post in 2018.

Rural-urban poverty gap narrowed over past decade

The rural poverty rate has exceeded the urban rate ever since the government began tracking both in the 1960s. The difference, 4.5 percentage points in the 1980s, has narrowed to an average of 3.1 points over the past 10 years, said the USDA in updating its rural poverty and well-being webpage.

Today’s quick hits, June 21, 2021

River lawsuit dismissed: The Iowa Supreme Court dismissed, 4-3, a lawsuit by environmental groups that contended the state failed to protect water quality in the Raccoon River, a major source of drinking water for central Iowa. (Iowa Capital Dispatch) Depth matters for carbon: The best approach …

With eye to revival, USDA to revisit animal welfare rule for organic farms

Eleven months after President Trump took office, the USDA said it lacked the authority to implement livestock welfare rules for organic farmers, despite having spent years working on them. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday that the USDA will reconsider that 2017 interpretation, a step that could lead to a revival of the regulation to give chickens, pigs, and cattle on organic farms more elbow room than they commonly get on factory farms.

Report: Pandemic waivers helped boost WIC enrollment

Pandemic-era tweaks to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children helped boost participation in the program, commonly known as WIC, after years of declining enrollment, according to a report released yesterday by the Food Research & Action Center.

Drought expands in upper Midwest

Warm and dry weather brought "widespread worsening of drought and dryness" to the upper Midwest in the past week, particularly in Iowa and Wisconsin, said the Drought Monitor.

Today’s quick hits, June 18, 2021

More meat plants: At least five mostly small, independently owned meat processing plants have opened or are planned across the country amid concerns about inadequate slaughter capacity. (Reuters) Farmworker overtime pay: Legislatures in Colorado and Washington State passed bills this year to …