Today’s quick hits, Dec. 21, 2020

Was USDA part of the hack?: USDA did not reply immediately to a question of whether the department was, as reported by CNN, part of the hack of federal computers by Russian operatives. (FERN’s Ag Insider)

Ag, food workers on vaccine list: A CDC advisory committee included food and agricultural workers and grocery store employees among “frontline essential workers” who would be next in line to receive a vaccination against Covid-19. (CNBC)

UFW sues Foster Farms over Covid: The United Farm Workers union asked a California judge to order chicken processor Foster Farms to comply with CDC guidelines following the second coronavirus outbreak at its plant in Livingston, in the Central Valley. (UFW)

East Russia becomes farmland: Climate change is warming long-frigid East Russia and allowing cultivation of corn, wheat and soybeans — building nationalist hopes that Russia will become one of the largest food producing nations in the world. (ProPublica/New York Times)

Supermarkets hit by coronavirus: Grocery stores have been hit hard by the surge in coronavirus infections in the Los Angeles area, straining an essential service that remains open amid a general stay-at-home order. (Los Angeles Times)

Fewer workers, but slaughter rate steady: Chief executive Andre Nogueira said JBS has maintained its slaughter rates in Canada and the United States, despite sending 5,000 vulnerable workers home, by letting less popular cuts go to rendering plants and sending some meat to the grocery store with bones still in the meat rather than the usual de-boned version. (Bloomberg)