Today’s quick hits, May 13, 2020

Coronavirus aid getting closer (FERN’s Ag Insider): The USDA scheduled a webinar for Thursday to brief farmers and ranchers about the information they will need to provide, “once the application period begins,” for $16 billion in coronavirus payments planned by USDA. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said he expects the aid program to go into operation around June 1.

Food inflation surge in April (FERN’s Ag Insider): Food prices rose by an overall 3.5 percent during April, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The USDA has forecast a 1 percent increase in supermarket prices for this year and a USDA economist¬†said the April surge will prompt a “very hard” look at that forecast.

Fewer food inspections during pandemic (USA Today): Federal and state officials have curtailed inspection of food processing plants because of the coronavirus, with a resulting decline in recalls and investigations of food-borne illnesses.

China buys U.S. soybeans (USDA): Private exporters reported the sale of 138,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans worth $43 million for delivery to China, the third large sale of corn and soybeans to Chinese buyers in a week.