Today’s quick hits, Sept. 1, 2020

Coronavirus outbreaks at 775 plants: Covid-19 cases have been confirmed at 775 meatpacking and food processing plants. At least 234 workers at the plants have died and at least 50,586 were infected by the coronavirus. In addition, at least 14 farmworkers have died of the disease.(Food and Environment Reporting Network)

Deadline near, 41 percent of ag aid is unclaimed: Payments of coronavirus aid to farmers and ranchers ticked upward to $9.44 billion, an increase of $240 million in the past week, meaning two-fifths of the $16 billion offered to producers remained available ahead of the Sept. 11 deadline for applications; Iowa has received 10 percent of the payments. (USDA)

New chief at USDA economics agency: Economics professor Spiro Stefanou, with nearly four decades of academic expertise in agricultural economics, most recently at University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture,  was appointed the new administrator of the USDA’s Economic Research Service. (USDA)

Homeless and out of sight in rural America: Homeless people are largely invisible in rural America and they are more vulnerable during the pandemic because of poor health care and lack of transportation. (Cronkite News)

Ag giants give cold shoulder to FBN: Some of the world’s largest seed and ag chemical companies refuse to do business with six-year-old FBN, which asks farmers to share agronomic data so they can use their combined buying power to get better prices on supplies. (Wall Street Journal)