Today’s quick hits, Feb. 26, 2021

Monarch butterfly setback: The number of monarch butterflies at their wintering grounds in Mexico plunged by 26 percent this year from 2020 and is only one-third the number recorded in the 2018 survey, said government figures. (Guardian)

Low food inflation: After a 3.5 percent rise in grocery prices in 2020, an increase of 1.5 percent is forecast for this year, below the 20-year average of 2 percent. Meat prices are expected to decline after surging last year due to the pandemic. (USDA)

Signup stays open: The USDA waived the Friday deadline for farmers and ranchers to apply for pandemic relief and will accept applications until 30 days after it completes a review of the payment plan announced just before the Trump administration left office, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. (FERN’s Ag Insider)

JBS eyes faux meat: The world’s largest meatpacker, JBS, is considering starting a separate company devoted solely to plant-based products, such as veggie burgers, because of rising demand for protein, said chief executive Gilberto Tomazoni. (Bloomberg)

Record world wheat: The global wheat crop will be a record 790 million tonnes in 2021/22, including better harvests in Europe, North Africa, and India, according to a preliminary outlook that also expects rising demand for wheat because of tighter supplies of corn and barley. (International Grains Council)

Food bank bonanza: Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott included 42 food banks and 30 Meals on Wheels programs around the country in a flurry of giving at the end of 2020, a windfall that may allow operators to upgrade their equipment and facilities. (Food Bank News)