Hog farms in coronavirus crisis need more aid, say producers

More federal aid is needed if hog farmers are to survive the coronavirus pandemic, said pork industry leaders on Thursday. They urged the Senate to approve compensatory payments for hogs that are culled and an additional round of cash payments to all U.S. farmers and ranchers. (No paywall)

As U.S. hog backup tops 2 million head, Iowa says it will help pay for carcass disposal

The persisting coronavirus slowdown at pork plants has stranded 2 million hogs on the farm with no buyer, and the backlog is growing, said economist Steve Meyer on Wednesday, suggesting that some farmers will be forced to destroy their animals. In Iowa, the state announced a program to help farmers cover the cost of carcass disposal. (No paywall)

Senate Democrats propose $7.5 billion to build food supply

The government would offer $7.5 billion in grants, loans, and loan guarantees to build storage capacity at food banks, send surplus food to hungry people, and help small and medium-size food processors expand production under a bill filed by Senate Democrats on Wednesday. (No paywall)

USDA creates coronavirus loan guarantees for rural businesses and farmers

The Department of Agriculture said Thursday it would provide up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses and farmers meet their working capital needs during the pandemic. The new program is patterned on the USDA's existing Business and Industry program but with a higher loan guarantee level and lower requirements for collateral. (No paywall)

Coronavirus aid slanted against local food, says small-farm group

The Trump administration's $16 billion coronavirus aid package for agriculture "fails to deliver for many farmers who are the backbone of local, resilient, sustainable food systems," said the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Wednesday. The group said small producers would be trampled by large operators in the first-come, first-served race for payments that can go as high as $750,000. (No paywall)

House votes to double coronavirus payments to agriculture

Senate Republicans will ignore the "unserious" $3-trillion coronavirus relief bill passed along party lines by the House in favor of steps such as liability shields for employers, said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The House bill included $16.5 billion for cash payments to farmers and ranchers, double the amount in the package now awaiting approval by the White House budget office.(No paywall)

Food insecurity doubles due to coronavirus, may exceed Great Recession

One-fifth of Americans say they have had trouble getting enough food to eat during the economic turmoil of the cornavirus pandemic, a nearly overnight doubling of food insecurity in the United States, according to a national poll released on Thursday. (No paywall)

Overcoming shame, Americans ask food banks for help

Two of every five people visiting food banks "never had to ask for help for food" before — a gauge of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said the chief operating officer of Feeding America. Katie Fitzgerald said food banks are facing, on average, a 70 percent increase in demand. (No paywall)

Coronavirus aid limits will be higher than initially proposed

Farmers and ranchers will need assistance from the federal government beyond the $16 billion in cash payments that were promised a month ago, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. During a broadcast interview, Perdue said producers will be eligible for more than the $125,000 per commodity that was proposed by the USDA.(No paywall)