Vilsack calls out farmers suing to block debt relief for minority farmers

Lawsuits to block $4 billion in loan forgiveness for minority farmers show a lack of historical awareness, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the BIO online convention on Wednesday. "It's a wonder where those farmers were over the last 100 years, when their Black counterparts were being discriminated against and didn't hear a peep from white farmers about how unfortunate that circumstance was."

Senators prod USDA for pandemic payments to contract growers

Ten weeks ago, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack restarted the USDA’s coronavirus relief program for farmers and ranchers. But payments to contract growers, the farmers who produce hogs, poultry and eggs under contract for the owner of the animals, remain on hold and lawmakers from poultry …

USDA spending nearly doubles during pandemic

The Agriculture Department will spend nearly $289 billion this fiscal year, almost double its pre-pandemic level of outlays, according to USDA budget data. The increase is due chiefly to coronavirus relief payments to farmers and increases in public nutrition programs such as the Supplemental …

Looking beneath the surface, USDA paper gauges pandemic’s impact

Global trade in food and agricultural products grew by 3.5 percent last year, according to the WTO, leading to descriptions that the sector was robust and resilient in the face of the worst pandemic in a century. However, a USDA working paper says the impact of the coronavirus was obscured by such factors as the de-escalation of the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Food insecurity drops to lowest level of the pandemic

Hunger in the United States has dropped to its lowest level of the yearlong pandemic, according to Census Bureau data released on Wednesday. Analysts credited government stimulus checks, increased federal food assistance, and the economic recovery for the sharp improvement.

Third round of pandemic payments begins to flow to farmers and ranchers

The Biden administration has begun sending pandemic payments of more than $5.6 billion to cattle and crop producers, opening the third round of coronavirus relief to farmers and ranchers in 10 months, said a USDA spokesman on Monday. The USDA, trying to reach minority farmers and others left …

Food box should be a model for USDA, not scrapped, say GOP lawmakers

The USDA ought to keep President Trump's glitzy food box giveaway program in operation rather than let it die at the end of April, said Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday. A food bank leader said that while the food box had been helpful in responding to pandemic-caused hunger, it was not as useful as programs like SNAP.

Biden to sign bill with $4 billion in debt relief for minority farmers

With Republicans complaining of discrimination against white farmers, the House passed a coronavirus bill on Wednesday that would provide an estimated $4 billion in debt relief for socially disadvantaged farmers.

Coronavirus bill offers aid as food insecurity eases

Although in the latest Pulse survey from the Census Bureau, fewer people said they didn't have enough food to eat in the past week, hardship rates remain very high, said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Wednesday.