Pandemic brought 17-percent drop in school meals

Federal waivers that allowed schools to hand out "grab and go" meals to students, and that made meals free to all students, were powerful tools in blunting the impact of the pandemic on food insecurity among children, said USDA economists. Although the number of school meals declined 17 percent in fiscal 2020, because of the waivers 1.7 billion meals were served from March-May 2020 "that may have otherwise not been distributed," they said in a Covid-19 working paper.

New research shows hunting’s effect on sage grouse population is mixed

The sage grouse population fell so low during the 1990s that the chicken-sized species was considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Now, two researchers say that restrictions on hunting the sage grouse have a mixed record when it comes to the bird's numbers.

Today’s quick hits, Oct. 18, 2021

Glyphosate ruling: The Supreme Court of Mexico denied four appeals of the decision to ban the weedkiller glyphosate and the sowing of corn varieties genetically modified to tolerate the herbicide, according the press reports. (AgriCensus) Deere CEO sells stock: John May, chief executive of …

With UAW on strike, Deere says, ‘We’ll keep running’

The world's largest farm equipment maker, Deere and Co., said managers and other salaried employees would keep its factories operating in the face of a strike by 10,000 union workers. "We'll keep running," the company said on Thursday.

More USDA nominees in the pipeline, says Vilsack

The White House is currently vetting possible nominees for key sub-cabinet positions at the USDA, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during a teleconference on Thursday. "I suspect we will be seeing nominees soon on some of those vacancies."

Today’s quick hits, Oct. 15, 2021

Billion-dollar portfolio: The Iowa Farm Bureau, “a nonprofit organization that sits atop multiple for-profit companies,” reported $100 million in total revenue, more than any other farm bureau, and has an investment portfolio worth more than $1 billion. (Investigate Midwest) Califf …

Voluntary FDA guidelines would cut salt intake by 12 percent

With Americans consuming 50 percent more salt than recommended, the FDA issued voluntary guidelines on Wednesday that would reduce sodium content in packaged and restaurant food, the major source of salt in the diet. The FDA said guidelines might "become one of the most significant public health nutrition interventions in a generation."

Food prices rise, outpaced by U.S. inflation rate

Pulled by strong meat prices, September food prices were 4.6 percent higher than a year ago, said the Labor Department on Wednesday. The monthly Consumer Price Index report said the annual U.S. inflation rate was 5.4 percent in September, compared with 5.3 percent in the preceding month.

Report finds Trump’s food box suffered from price gouging, poor-quality

The Farmers to Families Food Box giveaway program was the Trump administration's answer to hunger during the pandemic but it undermined its goal by mismanagement and abuse of the $5.5 billion program, said a report released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Wednesday. The panel chairman, Democrat James Clyburn, suggested the USDA should pursue reimbursement, where appropriate, of misspent money.