Today’s quick hits, May 19, 2020

Lawsuit over worker safety (AFL-CIO): The umbrella organization of U.S. labor unions filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to force the Labor Department to issue mandatory guidelines protecting workers against exposure to the coronavirus in the workplace.

Speedy corn and soy planting (USDA): Farmers seeded 25 million acres of corn and soybeans in the past week, with planting 80 percent complete for corn and 53 percent complete for soybeans, well ahead of average.

Key Republican backs away from Rep. King (Washington Post): House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy refused to endorse Iowa Rep. Steve King for re-election and denied there was an agreement to support reinstatement of King to his former committee assignments, which include the House Agriculture panel.

Coronavirus payment plan back to USDA (White House): The White House budget office completed its review of the USDA’s proposal for $16 billion in cash payments to farmers and ranchers to offset the impact of the coronavirus.

‘Ultra-rare’ blue bee reappears (CBS News): The “ultra-rare” blue calamintha bee, which uses facial hairs to collect pollen and has a metallic blue body, was spotted for the first time in four years by a researcher for the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Push for dairy in food aid (USDEC): Groups representing dairy farmers, processors and exporters asked the USDA to include dairy products in U.S. food aid donations to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus on the industry.