Food Box purchases will precede coronavirus checks to farmers

Farmers and ranchers will begin signing up for $16 billion in coronavirus payments by the end of May if all goes according to plan, said a USDA spokesperson on Thursday. In that case, the payments would follow the USDA’s awarding of contracts for another part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the Farmers to Families Food Box. (No paywall)

USDA to buy as much excess milk and meat as possible, says Perdue

Besides billions of dollars in cash payments to farmers, coronavirus relief will include purchases of "as much" milk and meat as possible for hunger relief, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday. President Trump says at least $16 billion will be spent on aid to agriculture. (No paywall)

Smaller pot of money for coronavirus relief, says Perdue

The USDA is working with a smaller amount of money for coronavirus relief than is commonly believed, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday. He indicated the agency has $15.5 billion at its disposal — two-thirds of the figure that has been widely cited. (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)

Fewer dairy farms as milk production rises

U.S. milk production is projected to top 220 billion pounds this year as a long-running structural shift puts production in the hands of fewer, but larger, dairies. At the same time, the USDA said there were 34,187 dairy herds licensed to sell milk in 2019, a drop of 9 percent from the previous year.

Burdened by debt, Borden files for bankruptcy reorganization

Once the world's largest dairy operator, Borden Dairy said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, aiming to reduce its debt load "and position the company for long-term success." The bankruptcy filing over the weekend in Delaware courts followed the November bankruptcy of Dean Foods, one of the largest U.S. milk processors.

Are there ‘forever chemicals’ in the nation’s milk supply?

When a dairy farm in New Mexico was shut down last year due to contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of chemicals that have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems as well as cancer, it revealed how little federal and state regulators know about the presence of these chemicals in our food supply, according to FERN's latest story, published with HuffPost. (No paywall)

Dean Foods files for bankruptcy, considers sale to Dairy Farmers of America

Dean Foods, one of the country’s largest milk processors, filed for bankruptcy and is exploring a sale to leading dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America. The company has reported losses for eight of its last ten quarters, including five consecutive quarters. Dean attributes its weak …

Farm Bureau backs ‘one farmer, one vote’ for dairy marketing rules

A task force created by the largest U.S. farm group called on Wednesday for more democracy in the federal milk-marketing orders that guide dairy sales throughout the United States and for greater equity between producers and processors in a system that dates from the Depression.

Additional week to enroll in Dairy Margin Coverage subsidy

More than 21,200 farmers have enrolled in the new dairy support program created by the 2018 farm bill, said Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Northey on Thursday, announcing a one-week extension of the signup period.