Record USDA support flowing, but farmers say more federal assistance will be needed

With signup underway for $16 billion in coronavirus payments, farmers overwhelmingly say more federal aid to agriculture is needed this year, according to a Purdue University poll released on Tuesday. Farm spending is headed for a record this year and could exceed $30 billion from an amalgam of …

Trump launches coronavirus aid to agriculture, with a $750,000 top payment

The Trump administration modified its $16 billion coronavirus aid program for agriculture so it will be easier for farmers, particularly livestock producers and specialty crop growers who complained of inadequate support, to collect larger payments, to a maximum of $250,000 per person or …

Perdue joins coronavirus task force

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, chosen by President Trump to oversee the reopening of meat plants, is now a member of the White House coronavirus task force, "which is focused on getting Americans back to work and allowing businesses to reopen," said the White House. The appointment was announced a few hours after Perdue and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump visited a produce warehouse in the Washington suburbs that is part of the Farmers to Families Food Box on Friday.(No paywall)

Packing plant reopenings will begin ‘maybe by the end of this week,’ says Perdue

Two days after President Trump ordered meat plants to operate during the pandemic, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that some plants shuttered by coronavirus outbreaks will reopen "maybe by the end of this week, over the weekend." The labor union representing 250,000 meat workers asked state governors to set stronger safety standards than those proposed by the CDC. (No paywall)

Pork industry group says hog farmers are facing a crisis

With market prices for hogs down by 50 percent, hog farmers are losing money on every animal and some will soon debate whether it’s cheaper to kill a pig than feed it, said Wisconsin producer Howard Roth, president of the National Pork Producer Council, on Tuesday. The NPPC said there is …

In a wink to Congress, Perdue concedes on crop insurance

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue reached back to his days as a governor to explain why the Trump administration proposed a 31-percent cut in crop insurance funding even if the plan has no traction on Capitol Hill.

SNAP eligibility rules will tighten despite coronavirus outbreak

At the same time he raised the possibility of pandemic benefits, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday that stricter SNAP time limits will take effect, as scheduled, on April 1 for able-bodied adults. House Democrats have suggested higher benefits and broader SNAP availability to carry low-income workers through quarantines and economic disruptions due to the new coronavirus.

National Farmers Union elects new president; Perdue reassures on trade

The National Farmers Union elected Rob Larew, the organization’s senior vice president of public policy and communications, as president at its annual convention Monday in Savannah, Georgia. Larew will take the helm from outgoing president Roger Johnson, a former agriculture commissioner of North Dakota, who served in the role since 2009.

Deputy moves to top job at U.S. meat safety agency

Paul Kiecker went to work as a USDA food inspector in 1988 and three decades later is the new leader of the Food Safety Inspection Service. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of Keicker as FSIS administrator on Tuesday, succeeding Carmen Rottenberg, who is leaving the …

USDA has chronic data issues, experts say

The Department of Agriculture under President Trump has repeatedly rolled out policies and program changes without accurate data, a report from Politico found. From trade war bailouts to cutting food stamp benefits to relocating essential USDA agencies, several members of Congress, experts, and …