Perdue sitting on food box details, say House Democrats

The USDA’s food-box giveaway program has been the Trump administration’s answer to hunger during the pandemic but officials have failed to answer questions about alleged shortcomings and political machinations of the $4 billion program, said Democrats on the House Agriculture subcommittee on …

How high could farm subsidies go? $40 billion this year.

If farm subsidies were a crop, this year’s payments would fit the hoary rural adage, “big crops get bigger.” USDA supports, already forecast to set a record, could exceed $40 billion this year, thanks to the second round of coronavirus relief now available to farmers and …

States are rolling back recent transparency measures in how they report meatpacking plant outbreaks

Several states introduced more rigorous public reporting of Covid-19 outbreaks and cases in the agriculture sector this summer after calls from advocates and the media for more transparency. But several of those efforts have been stalled, rolled back, or rely on outdated information, which public health experts and labor advocates say hinders communities’ and workers’ ability to curtail the spread of the virus.

Federal funding barrier: Billions more for farmers

President Trump wants a pre-election slush fund of up to $30 billion at USDA that he can spend with no strings attached, said the senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday as agricultural aid blossomed into a potential roadblock for a government funding bill. Republicans …

One-year extension of hemp pilot is on congressional agenda

The government-funding bill proposed by House Democrats on Monday would allow states to operate until Sept. 30, 2021, under the rules of the industrial hemp pilot program created by the 2014 farm bill. The hemp industry and state agriculture officials say the pandemic has made it impossible to …

Trump’s trade and coronavirus aid to agriculture could hit $50 billion

With its new offer of $14 billion in coronavirus relief, the Trump administration could spend $50 billion — quadruple the cost of the auto industry bailout — in less than three years to buffer the impact of trade war and pandemic on agriculture. Farm groups welcomed the second round of coronavirus assistance while critics said it was "old-fashioned vote-buying" ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

While Congress fiddles, a critical tool to address child hunger is about to expire

A critical tool for fighting child hunger is set to expire at the end of the month, despite persistent need among millions of children due to the pandemic. The Pandemic-EBT program was created in March to give families funds to buy groceries in lieu of free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches their children would otherwise have been getting at school. Unless Congress renews the program before Sept. 30, eligible families will lose access to the benefit until at least after the presidential election. (No paywall)

Half-a-billion dollars in additional trade-war payments

Big farmers collected an additional $519 million in trade-war payments in 2019 because of the high payment limits written into the so-called Market Facilitation Program by the Trump administration, said a congressional report on Monday. Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, senior Democrat on the …

Grocery prices fall for second month in a row

Lower prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs were the driving factor for a slight decline in grocery prices during August, the second month in a row that supermarket prices were down, said the monthly Consumer Price Index. Despite the decreases, food inflation ran at 4.6 percent in the past 12 months, rising far more rapidly than the overall U.S. rate of 1.3 percent.

Pandemic paradox: As food poverty rises, so does obesity

The Covid-19 pandemic has limited trips to the grocery store, shut down neighborhood markets and generally made it harder for people struggling financially to find affordable healthy food, reports Bloomberg.  As a result, more people are relying on cheaper and more easily accessible fast and ultra-processed food, driving up rates of obesity around the world.