Today’s quick hits, April 10, 2020

Michigan is first with P-EBT (USDA): Michigan is the first state with USDA approval for a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program to provide food assistance to low-income families with school-age children who have lost access to free or reduced-price meals because of coronavirus closures.

Ag purchases a plus in Sino-U.S. deal (South China Morning Post): U.S. officials “are understood to be content” with China’s progress in buying U.S. farm exports and opening its market to food imports, although China has yet to deliver on another part of the “phase one” trade agreement: a plan to improve protection of American intellectual property.

Seeking direct aid for local food (NSAC): More than 750 groups signed a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking for direct aid to small farmers who have lost their customers with the closure of schools, restaurants, and farmers’ markets.

Voter alignment favors Cox (Sabato’s Crystal Ball): In the rematch of House Ag panelist T.J. Cox, a Democrat, and former Rep. David Valadao, “Cox has district partisanship” on his side, since the Central Valley district tends to vote Democratic in presidential years.

‘Pay for outcomes’ project launched (Iowa Soybean): Agribusiness giant Cargill, the Iowa Soybean Association, and Quantified Ventures launched a “pay for outcomes” project intended to reduce nutrient runoff and sequester carbon on Iowa farms. Some 10,000 acres are already enrolled in the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund.

Coronavirus could double world hunger (Guardian): The number of chronically hungry people in the world could double due to the coronavirus pandemic unless governments “take urgent, coordinated action” that includes maintaining open trade, said a collection of food companies, farm groups, academics, and civil society groups.