Three-fourths of farmers fear coronavirus damage to their income

The coronavirus pandemic punctured the Farm Belt euphoria of early 2020 and sent a Purdue University gauge of farmer confidence plunging by 28 percent in one month. Three-fourths of producers taking part in the monthly Ag Economy Barometer said they were worried about the impact on their …

Most SNAP recipients can’t buy groceries online. Now, some states push for change.

With millions of Americans sheltering in place, many are opting to buy groceries online for home delivery to reduce risk of exposure to the coronavirus. But that isn't an option for most people who receive federal food assistance from the USDA. Now, states are asking the department to address the issue, but the agency hasn't said whether it will update the policy. (No paywall)

USDA evaluating its coronavirus aid powers

The USDA is monitoring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on commodity markets and evaluating the authority it received from Congress to distribute billions of dollars in aid to farmers and ranchers, said a spokesperson on Monday. (No paywall)

Economic impact of coronavirus outweighs federal help, says U.S. farm group

Congress allotted $23.5 billion for agriculture in the coronavirus relief package, but "that amount of money will not sustain" the farm sector, said the president of the largest U.S. farm group. The sector will need "a whole lot more [money] than was in the CARES Act," said Zippy Duvall of the American Farm Bureau Federation.(No paywall)

Virus is changing how urban farms operate, and even what they grow

The coronavirus is forcing urban farms to adapt, creating more space between people and even shifting the types of crops they grow. “We had wanted to plant a ton of snap peas this year,” says Saara Nafici, farm director at Red Hook Farms in Brooklyn, New York, “but harvest will be too labor intensive.” To conform with social-distancing rules, the farm is reducing the number of staff working at a given time and spreading out its washing and packing stations. Lower staffing levels mean adding new work slots, so everyone gets their hours in and the farm work gets done.(No paywall)

Coronavirus adds uncertainty to Chinese purchase commitments

China recently stepped up its purchases of U.S. corn and cotton, said USDA chief economist Robert Johansson, but the coronavirus pandemic creates uncertainty about whether Beijing will meet its "phase one" purchase commitments. The agreement, signed on Jan. 15, calls on China to buy $40 billion worth of U.S. food, agricultural and seafood products this year and in 2021.(No paywall)

Agriculture feels impact as pandemic reshapes U.S. diet, rattles producers

Americans will eat more chicken, already their favorite meat, as stay-at-home orders have consumers shopping at the supermarket rather than going to restaurants, said ag lender CoBank on Thursday in assessing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on food producers and processors. (No paywall)

Despite coronavirus worries, Europe’s food system is stable

The coronavirus has upended most aspects of life in Europe, but after a spate of hoarding early in the pandemic, shopping has returned to normal as food producers and retailers work to keep supply chains flowing and shelves stocked. This could be instructive to the United States, which is behind Europe in the progression of the disease.(No paywall)

Rural jobs wiped out by coronavirus, says survey

Fifteen percent of rural Americans surveyed in the past week said they had either lost their job or were laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic, and an additional 14 percent said they were worried they would lose their jobs, according to the results of a survey released on Thursday. (No paywall)

Coronavirus devastates restaurant workers who live ‘tip to mouth’

As restaurants around the country close or shift to delivery only, "millions of laid-off ... workers, many who made just $2.13 an hour plus tips — the federal minimum wage for tipped workers — are scrambling to pay their bills and feed their families," as Liza Gross reports in FERN's latest story. (No paywall)