Biden nominee Jennifer Moffitt said she would strengthen USDA rules to give farmers more muscle in dealing with meat processors if she is confirmed as agriculture undersecretary for marketing. "Should I be confirmed, I do commit to supporting trade, to supporting fair marketplace practices," she told senators on Thursday.
President Biden will issue an executive order to expand competition in the agricultural sector and assure farmers of the right to repair increasingly complex tractors and other equipment, said the White House on Tuesday. The "right-to-repair" rules were expected to include smartphones and other widely used devices.
The USDA will propose three rules to give cattle, hog and poultry producers more leverage in dealing with meat processors in an increasingly concentrated industry, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The initiatives would make it easier for a producer to prove unfair treatment by a processor and would write a new regulation on use of so-called tournament systems by processors to determine pay for poultry farmers.
Drugmakers will have two years to change the sales availability of some medically important livestock antimicrobials to prescription-only, said the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday. The shift from over-the-counter sales would mean the drugs can be used only under veterinary supervision.
Plant-based meats, an alternative to beef, pork and chicken, have only a toehold in the meat market but U.S. farmers expect their market share will grow rapidly. Half of the farmers surveyed by Purdue University said plant-based proteins could hold up to 10 percent of the meat market in five years and some expected the share to be much larger.
Snow and bitter cold damaged the citrus crop in Texas, slowed meat production in the Plains, and threatened to snarl grain exports through the Gulf of Mexico. Some traders have claimed force majeure because of ice and cold weather in Houston and New Orleans, reported AgriCensus
Row crop farmers would see payments of $20 an acre and livestock producers would be compensated for animals culled during the pandemic under the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill that was unexpectedly challenged by President Trump on Tuesday, a day after Congress passed it. The $13 billion bill includes a $400 million dairy donation program, aid to contract poultry growers, and assistance for textile mills and, potentially, ethanol refineries.
The Democratic-controlled House passed a $2.2-trillion-coronavirus-relief bill without the support of House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson and four other Democrats serving on the Agriculture Committee. They were among 18 Democrats who voted against the bill, which passed, 218-207; no Republicans voted for it.
Livestock producers in Iowa will be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 and biofuel producers for grants of up to $750,000 to offset the impact of the pandemic on agriculture in the state, announced Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday, the same day she was expected to speak at the Republican National Convention.
In its largest payout since the program began, the USDA sent $2 billion in coronavirus aid to farmers and ranchers last week, most of it going to producers who had received a prorated payment earlier this summer.