Today’s quick hits, Sept. 23, 2020

Vacant desks at USDA agency: Almost half of the jobs at USDA’s Economic Research Service were vacant a year after the agency was relocated on short notice to Kansas City; staff morale has plummeted and “the agency has lost decades of expertise on a wide range fo subjects.” (The Counter)

Perdue says no cash for refiners: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he told the White House that oil refiners do not qualify for aid from the USDA, notwithstanding published reports that $300 million would be given to refineries that were denied exemptions from the RFS. (Brownfield Ag News)

Loeffler leads Senate race in Georgia: Appointed Sen. Kelly Loefller, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is the leader, backed by 24 percent of voters, in an Atlanta Journal Constitution poll of the special election for Senate in Georgia but two other candidates are close behind her and the race is too close to call. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Wootan opens her own shop: Margo Wootan, the longtime vice president for nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, will open her own consulting company, MXG Strategies LLC. (The Hagstrom Report)

The Green Scheme for urban farming: Ronnie Webb runs a program in low-income DC neighborhoods for youth and families to help grow community gardens; “I want the kids to know an environmentalist who looks and talks like them.” (DCist)