Today’s quick hits, April 20,2020

Hutchins is not a USDA nominee (The Hagstrom Report): Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue appointed Scott Hutchins as deputy agriculture undersecretary for research in January 2019 to make a point about slow Senate action on nominees. But due to Senate rules, the nomination was returned to the White House at the end of 2019 and it has not been renewed.

Poverty rate could soar (New York Times): Columbia University researchers say the U.S. poverty rate could soar to 15.4 percent, the highest in half a century of record-keeping, if the coronavirus pushes quarterly unemployment to 30 percent.

Bummer for California pot industry (Washington Post): Cannabis was declared an essential business in California but the industry “is unable to tap into a federal stimulus package or bank loans,” a new make-or-break moment for an industry on the brink.

Four Covid-19 deaths at Georgia meat plant (Associated Press): Four employees at a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Camilla, Georgia, have died of Covid-19; so have two workers at a Tyson Foods pork plant in Iowa. Other reports say five workers at two meat plants in Colorado also have died of the coronavirus.

Red meat output slips again (USDA): Red meat production at federally inspected slaughter plants fell to 898 million pounds last week, down 7 percent from the week ending April 11, and 13 percent below the same point a year ago, as the coronavirus continued to disrupt cattle, hog and sheep slaughter.