Tyson orders investigation of ‘betting on Covid’ allegations

Former attorney general Eric Holder will lead an independent investigation into allegations that managers of a Tyson Foods hog plant in Waterloo, Iowa, ran a betting pool on how many employees would become ill with Covid-19, said the meat processor on Thursday.

USDA moves its Outlook Forum online

Due to the pandemic and limits on public gatherings, the annual Agricultural Outlook Forum will be held online in 2021, said the USDA on Wednesday. The data-filled event includes the first USDA estimate of the year of farm income and early projections of crop and livestock production.

Farm income cushion for 2021: Higher commodity prices

Crop and livestock prices have rebounded from coronavirus lows last spring and could bolster farm income as massive federal payments recede in 2021, said economists at a farm conference on Monday. Cortney Cowley of the Kansas City Federal Reserve cautioned “the path of this recovery is …

Some states tougher than OSHA on coronavirus workplace outbreaks

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been heavily criticized for its handling of workplace Covid-19 outbreaks, California and a handful of other states have implemented more rigorous workplace safety regulations that experts say better protect food and farm workers from the virus. (No paywall)

Presidential election should be followed by a national food strategy, says report

The coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted food supplies and heightened food insecurity, should be the impetus for unified oversight of the food system, now splintered among dozens of regulatory agencies, said an "urgent call" for action from groups at the Harvard and Vermont law schools on Thursday.

Rural Covid rate exceeds rural share of U.S. population

Rural communities are bearing the brunt of new Covid-19 cases nationwide with the pandemic in its seventh month, said a report from the Center for American Progress on Wednesday. "Since the beginning of August, the rural share of new cases has exceeded the rural share of the U.S. population."

Coronavirus’ rural impact: Financial and medical trouble

More than four of every 10 rural households reported financial setbacks ranging from a shorter workweek to losing a business because of the coronavirus, said a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health on Wednesday. The survey, conducted from July 1-Aug. 3, also found that a quarter of rural households were unable to get medical care for a serious problem when they needed it due to the pandemic.

Economic recovery depends on ‘the path of the virus’ — Fed official

The U.S. recovery from the pandemic will depend in part on success in managing the coronavirus through steps such as therapeutics and a vaccine, the president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank told an agribusiness conference on Monday. Also at the meeting, two Trump administration …

Fewer sows suggests producers are exiting hog business

Some hog farmers are leaving the business in the face of low market prices and coronavirus slowdowns at packing plants, said two pork industry analysts on Thursday. As evidence, they pointed to a USDA report showing that there are fewer sows on U.S. farms this fall than a year ago.