House panel to vote on SNAP extension and minority farmer debt relief – February 10, 2021

House panel to vote on SNAP extension and minority farmer debt relief

Following President Biden’s lead, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee proposed an extension until Sept. 30 of the temporary 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits on Tuesday. Chairman David Scott also included a sweeping proposal for the government to pay off USDA loans and USDA-guaranteed loans held by socially disadvantaged farmers “to put our Black farmers in a better position” after decades of discrimination.

Tyson faces investor pressure over handling of Covid-19 pandemic

Tyson Foods investors attending its online annual shareholder meeting this week will consider several proposals to increase oversight of the company, all of which stem from the company’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in its meat processing plants.

To feed burgeoning hog herd, China uses wheat, rice and corn

China will import a record 24 million tonnes of corn this marketing year and use a surprisingly large amount of wheat and rice for livestock feed, said USDA economists on Tuesday.

Growers back checkoff program for industrial hemp

A large majority of farmers and processors of industrial hemp support the creation of a checkoff program to pay for research and promotion of the newly legalized commodity, said two trade groups on Tuesday.

A venerable soup kitchen in Portland, Maine, keeps feeding the hungry

In March 2020, Covid-19 forced the Preble Street soup kitchen in Portland, Maine, to close its dining room for the first time in 39 years. But, as Christian Letourneau reports in the latest story, published with Eater, the soup kitchen staff went mobile, tracking and delivering meals and other services to the growing ranks of the hungry and homeless who scattered across the city as shelters and other aid operations shut down or restricted access.

Today’s Quick Hits

Print me a steak: Aleph Farms, based in Israel, unveiled the first 3-D-printed ribeye steak, using a culture of live animal tissue and “broadening the scope of alt-meat in what is expected to be a rich area of expansion for food companies.” (Washington Post)

Orange output plunges: The U.S. orange crop for 2020-21 will be 11 percent smaller than the previous season, led by a 26 percent collapse in production of early, mid-season and navel oranges in Florida, said the USDA crop report. (USDA)

New pig disease strain: A new and deadlier strain of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRSS) arose in the past few months in the upper Midwest and will challenge disease prevention protocols on hog farms. (DTN/Progressive Farmer)

Habibi to USDA’s rural housing: Jamal Habibi, who worked at the Treasury Department and USDA during the Obama era, was appointed chief of staff at USDA’s Rural Housing Service, part of its rural economic development arm. (USDA)

America’s Farm Report