Booker backs a food box program for fruits and vegetables – May 3, 2021

Booker backs a food box program for fruits and vegetables

Sen. Cory Booker, the new chairman of the Senate nutrition subcommittee, called for a permanent food box program to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to communities “in desperate need for healthy produce.” Booker also said $ 20 billion a year should be devoted to USDA climate mitigation programs and that a moratorium should be imposed on mergers in the agricultural sector.

Join us for our only Ag Insider Briefing!

On May 19th at 4pm we will be discussing the issues that are top of mind for anyone immersed in food and ag policy: The Biden administration’s appointments and legislative agenda; What’s happening at USDA under Secretary Tom Vilsack; Who’s driving the food and ag policy agenda, i.e. who has power and how are they using it?; The post-Trump administration landscape for anti-hunger programs and school food. And of course, there will be plenty of time for a Q&A.

Ten and done, says midwestern Democrat in House

Approaching her 60th birthday, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, announced she will retire in 2022 after 10 years in the House. “It will be a new decade and I feel it’s time for a new voice,” said Bustos. Her decision also reflected the shrinking influence of the farm and industrial heartland in the House.

Today’s Quick Hits

Timetable for organic rules: Decrying long delays at the USDA, six lawmakers filed a bill in the House that would give the department two years to implement changes proposed by the National Organic Standards Board in the rules governing the organic agriculture program. (Organic Trade Association)

Slow hog recovery: China is unlikely to rebuild its hog population until mid-2021 at the earliest because of ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever. (USDA)

Wheat up, corn down: Driven by a bumper crop, world wheat stocks will total a record 289 million tonnes at the end of the current trade year but corn stocks will drop to an eight-year low of 271 million tonnes. (International Grains Council)

Bill blocks livestock controls: The EPA would be barred from regulating emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, methane or water vapor from factory farms under a bill filed by two senators. (Thune)

Let it burn: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida enacted a law that will make it harder for people to sue sugar companies for pollution and practices such as burning cane fields before harvest each year, sending smoke and ash into Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. (ProPublica)

On The Calendar

Monday
President Teresa Romero of the United Farm Workers union is among witnesses at a House Education and Labor subcommittee hearing online, “From excluded to essential: Tracing the racist exclusion of farmworkers, domestic workers and tipped workers from the Fair Labor Standards Act,” noon ET.
Kimberlee Kidwell, dean of agricultural, consumer and environmental economics at the University of Illinois, speaks online to The Chicago Farmers, 1 p.m. ET.
USDA releases weekly Crop Progress reports, 4 p.m. ET.

Tuesday
Consumer Federation of American holds the Virtual Consumer Assembly, through Wednesday, 1 p.m. ET. Acting chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter of the Federal Trade Commission is the keynote speaker on opening day. Sen. Ed Markey, of Massachusetts, and Rep. Grace Meng, of New York, speaks on Wednesday.
Purdue University releases its Ag Economy Barometer, a monthly sense of the agricultural economy’s health.

Wednesday
House Small Business subcommittee hearing, Disconnected: Rural broadband and the business case for small carriers,” 10 a.m. ET, 2360 Rayburn.
USDA issues U.S. and Canadian Cattle and Sheep, and U.S. and Canadian Hogs reports, 3 p.m. ET.

Thursday
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing online, “Broadband equity: Addressing disparities in access and affordability,” 11:30 a.m. ET.
Justin Maxson, deputy agriculture undersecretary, is lead witness at the House Appropriations subcommittee hearing online, “USDA rural development mission area,” 2 p.m. ET.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization releases the monthly Food Price Index, measuring the monthly change in international prices for a basket of food commodities, Rome.

Friday
Vice President Kamala Harris and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico meet online to discuss “the common goals of prosperity, good governance and addressing the root causes of migration,” says the White House.

Sunday
Mother’s Day, a U.S. celebration to honor motherhood, was the work of Anna Jarvis, beginning with an observance in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia, says History.com. Aided by a letter-writing campaign and wide popularity of the idea, President Wilson signed a measure designating the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day, in 1914. Within a few years, Jarvis was repelled by the commercialization of the day and lobbied to have the holiday removed from the calendar.

America’s Farm Report