Three Farm Belt states get a quarter of coronavirus relief money

Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin, strung across the Farm Belt from the Great Lakes to the Great Plains, have collected one-fourth of USDA’s coronavirus relief payments, said a weekly update on Monday. Some $5.36 billion has been disbursed, at an average $14,684 per producer, from the $16 …

House panel votes to block two Trump rules restricting SNAP access

The Trump administration would be barred from implementing two rules that would end SNAP benefits for an estimated 700,000 people during the coronavirus pandemic under a USDA-FDA funding bill approved by a Democratic-controlled House subcommittee on Monday. The provisions on SNAP rules may be …

High yields, low prices may plant the seed of a larger Conservation Reserve

The 2018 farm law allows an additional 3 million acres into the land-idling Conservation Reserve, partly to offset the low market prices that followed the collapse of the commodity boom earlier this decade. Lawmakers may opt for another expansion of the reserve if farmers face mountains of surplus grain and continued low prices, said two University of Illinois economists.

Hemp groups to push for checkoff program

Two trade groups announced plans to spearhead a discussion across the hemp industry on the creation of a checkoff program to promote industrial hemp, similar to producer-funded checkoffs that boost cotton, milk, and Christmas trees.

Farmers fall short of corn planting forecast

Deterred by trade war, the pandemic, and a bit of bad weather, U.S. farmers effectively chopped 1 billion bushels out of this year’s corn crop by planting far less of the crop than they had planned in early spring, USDA data indicated on Tuesday. “This was a huge acreage …

Food box misses goal of 40 million deliveries

The Farmers to Families Food Box program, the $3 billion face of the Trump administration's response to US food insecurity during the pandemic, delivered 25 million boxes of food to nonprofit organization such as food banks as of Monday, said the USDA. (No paywall)

USDA should stop environmentally risky ‘depopulation’ methods, advocates say

The Department of Agriculture should restrict certain animal disposal methods used by farmers who euthanize herds during the Covid-19 pandemic, and make information about those “depopulation” events public, says a coalition of environmental groups that petitioned the agency Monday.(No paywall)

USDA offers few yardsticks for measuring its food-box program

For USDA, the most important number in its food-box giveaway program is how many boxes are donated — 18.4 million as of Friday, according to a tally on the homepage of the agency that runs the program. Officials declined to provide other details, such as the average cost of the boxes or how long the $3-billion initiative will be in operation.(No paywall)

As processing plants reopen, more meat for Americans to eat

The faster-than-expected recovery in slaughter production has almost neutralized the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. meat supply, said the government on Thursday. The USDA estimated that Americans will consume an average of 220.2 pounds of red meat and poultry this year — more than half a pound a day apiece. (No paywall)

Five states get one-third of initial coronavirus payments

Farmers and ranchers have received $545 million in the first batch of coronavirus relief payments, said the USDA on Thursday. One-third of that money went to producers in five states: Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas. (No paywall)