Federal funding barrier: Billions more for farmers – September 22, 2020

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 insisted the USDA could run out of money without an immediate infusion of cash.

USDA finally extends WIC pandemic waivers, just a week before they were to expire

The USDA on Monday extended a series of flexibilities in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children for the duration of the Covid-19 public health emergency. Pandemic-related waivers for the program, commonly known as WIC, have allowed participants to apply for benefits remotely, expanded pick-up options, and broadened the scope of eligible products.

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.

TODAY’S QUICK HITS

China running out of stockpiled pork: A London economics consultancy estimates China has less than 100,000 tonnes of frozen pork and will use up the reserve within two or three months, removing a stabilizing factor on domestic prices. (Financial Times)

Ethanol waivers and farm voters: With both presidential candidates targeting the Midwest, EPA waivers that exempt oil refineries from the RFS “are becoming a central issue in the battle for the farm vote.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Farmer says dicamba is too dangerous: South Dakota farmer John Zuhlke, a plaintiff in the lawsuit that led to a court-ordered withdrawal of EPA approval of dicamba, said he suffered “tens of thousands of dollars of damage” in recent years to the specialty crops that he grows. (Ag Week)

New approach to rural growth: In a report on “the path to rural resilience,” the Center for American Progress recommended three steps: a Rural Opportunity Administration to foster economic growth, federal laws for higher wages and benefits, and adoption of a bottom-up approach that directly funds rural communities. (Center for American Progress)

Toxic algae killed elephants: Officials said that the mysterious deaths of at least 330 elephants in Botswana, home to one-third of the elephants in Africa, were caused by toxins produced by cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae. (Reuters)

Glyphosate in manure inhibits plant growth: A Finnish study showed that glyphosate residue in poultry manure reduced plant growth in strawberries and meadow fescue when applied as fertilizer. (University of Turku, Finland)

America’s Farm Report