Today’s quick hits, April 15, 2020

Qualified support for SNAP increase (FERN’s Ag Insider): Senate Finance chairman Chuck Grassley said on a teleconference he could support a 15-percent increase in SNAP benefits “if it was on a temporary basis to get us through the pandemic,” but he opposes a permanent increase.

Tyson workers in Iowa getting sicker (KETV): An outbreak of Covid-19 at a Tyson plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, reached 86 cases.

Older rural residents at risk for coronavirus (Carsey): More than 26 percent of rural Americans are over age 65, a rate that is 5 percentage points higher than metropolitan areas, and rural residents have higher levels of chronic health conditions as well as higher hunger rates, “all of which makes them more vulnerable to contracting [Covid-19].”

Having trouble finding flour? (The Counter): Though it’s taking time for flour companies to adjust to an all-retail market, empty baking aisles don’t indicate a nationwide flour shortage.

Corn for ethanol down 500 million bushels (farmdoc Daily Live): By reducing gasoline demand, the coronavirus pandemic could reduce corn-for-ethanol usage by 500 to 550 million bushels, “roughly a 10 percent loss in corn ethanol grind,” said economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois during a webinar.

One shift a day at Cargill beef plant (Meatingplace): Cargill will run one shift a day, instead of the usual two, at a beef slaughter plant in High River, Alberta, to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, with slaughter dropping to 1,500 head a day.