Today’s quick hits, March 30, 2020

Fewer in-person interviews for H-2 visas (State Department): In a step to assure U.S. food security, consular offices can waive the requirement for in-person interviews of applicants for H-2 visas, which include agricultural guestworkers, “for first-time and returning H-2 applicants who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.”

U.S. hog inventory sets records (USDA): The hog herd totaled 77.6 million head, with 71.3 head destined for slaughter, on March 1, the highest March totals ever for both categories, said the USDA in a quarterly report.

Record global grain crop forecast (IGC): World grain production will reach a record 2.223 billion tonnes in 2020/21, including a record wheat harvest, said the monthly Grain Market Report, noting rising uncertainty about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Staple crops less affected by pandemic (Scientific American): Production of major U.S. field crops, such as corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, is mostly mechanized, so the coronavirus pandemic will force few changes in operations.

Reassessing ‘Product of USA’ meat labels (DTN/Progressive Farmer): The USDA will re-examine when meat can be labeled as “Product of USA” or “Made in USA,” with the goal of limiting the labels to meat from animals slaughtered and processed in the United States.

Judge denies injunction against beef checkoff (Tri-State Livestock News): Chief District Judge Brian Morris rejected a request by the activist cattle group R-CALF USA for an injunction that would stop state beef councils from collecting checkoff dollars.