Stung by coronavirus, producers ask government to buy their goods

The government should step up its food purchases as a way to mitigate the potential loss of billions of dollars in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic, said dairy farmers and two dozen lawmakers representing fruit and vegetable growers. And a small-farm advocacy group estimated a three-month …

As coronavirus drives down commodity prices, farm groups ask for aid

By driving down commodity prices, the coronavirus outbreak is draining $50-$90 an acre from the corn and soybean revenue that farmers expect to receive this year, said economists Brent Gloy and David Widmar on Monday. Farm leaders said the counterweight to falling prices and economic uncertainty should be federal support. (No paywall)

Pick up the phone to talk to USDA

As a precaution against spread of the coronavirus, the USDA's local offices will conduct business by telephone only and farmers will need to make an appointment for the transactions. "USDA field work will continue, with staff practicing appropriate social distancing," said a USDA spokesperson over the weekend.(No paywall)

As schools close, USDA vows to deliver boxes of food to some students in rural America

The Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it will be delivering boxes of food to children affected by school closures due to the novel coronavirus in rural America. In partnership with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, and PepsiCo, the USDA says it will eventually deliver 1 million meals per week.(No paywall)

USDA approves telework in DC region after coronavirus case

The USDA shut down part of its mammoth Washington headquarters after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus. It also announced that "maximized telework is available" beginning Tuesday.(No paywall)

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.

Labor shortages, SNAP cuts, trade deals: How could coronavirus affect our food supply chain?

Although U.S. shoppers concerned about the coronavirus pandemic have largely emptied stores of paper products and household cleaning supplies, so far most other grocery aisles remain stocked. Still, as the virus spreads across the U.S., it could expose other weaknesses in our food supply chain, experts say. (No paywall)

Legislation calls for measuring conservation results

For the first time, the USDA would assess the results of its land stewardship programs, such as tons of carbon sequestered in the soil or reductions in nutrient runoff, under companion bills filed in the House and Senate on Wednesday.

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.

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 …