Today’s quick hits, June 8, 2020

Politics seen in USDA coronavirus payments (New York Times): President Trump has taken the USDA’s support of agriculture “to a new level” with the planned payment of $16 billion to producers to offset the impact of the coronavirus, “raising questions about how the money will be allocated and whether there is sufficient oversight to guard against partisan abuse of the program.”

More local meat in Maine (AP): The state Agriculture Department added three new meat processors to Maine’s food system in a step to ease a bottleneck, allowing “more locally raised meat to reach Maine people,” said¬†Commissioner Amanda Beal.

Pilgrim’s Pride chief pleads not guilty (Wall Street Journal): Jayson Penn, chief executive of the second-largest chicken processing company in the nation, pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to fix chicken prices.

Trump allows fishing in marine sanctuary (Washington Post): Commercial fishing can resume at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument under a proclamation signed by President Trump four years after the Obama administration closed off 4,913 square miles of territory in and near George’s Bank in the Atlantic Ocean.

U.S. demands beef info (Food Dive): The Justice Department sent investigative demands, similar to subpoenas, to four large beef packers about potential antitrust violations.