Judge vacates Trump rule tightening SNAP time limits – October 19, 2020

Judge vacates Trump rule tightening SNAP time limits

Pointing to the impact of the pandemic on the economy, a U.S. district judge vacated on Sunday a Trump administration regulation setting stricter time limits on SNAP benefits for able-bodied adults who do not work at least 20 hours a week. Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the district court for the District of Columbia said the USDA, which runs SNAP, failed to justify the regulation, which would end benefits for 700,000 people.

As coronavirus hog backlog shrinks, farmers should see higher prices

Hog farmers struggled with a coronavirus-caused backlog of market-ready hogs that peaked at 3.5 million head at the end of May, forcing them to cull some and slowing weight gain on others. The backlog remains large, but Purdue economist Jayson Lusk says farmers may see “possibly elevated hog prices” by the end of the year as the hog supply shrinks.

Ernst’s soy slip stirs Senate race in Iowa

If all politics is local, the Senate race in Iowa was roiled by a profoundly local question last week: What’s the break-even price for corn and soybeans? Sen. Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, missed by a mile on soybeans and the reverberations continue. The Iowa Farm Bureau said on Sunday that Ernst “continues to have our full support” after a fake email suggested otherwise.

TODAY’S QUICK HITS

Health insurance costs rising: The average farm couple under the age of 65 in Kansas spends $ 15,000-$ 17,000 a year on health insurance, up 79 percent in a decade and representing 25 percent of the total family living costs, according to data given to the Kansas Farm Management Association. (Kansas State University)

Craig vs. Kistner on Nov. 3: A federal judge ruled that Minnesota voters will decide the race between Democratic Rep. Angie Craig, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and Republican Tyler Kistner on Nov. 3, rather than delaying the election to February due to the death of the third-party candidate in the contest. (Grand Forks Herald)

Four years of rising income, but …: USDA says net farm income this year will be the highest since 2013 and will be the fourth year of rising income, but without large federal payments income would have declined. (Wallaces Farmer)

Food safety is a top-three issue: A survey of people in China, Britain and the United States found that 77 percent believe food safety is a top 10 worldwide problem and more than half of respondents placed it in the top three. (Food Safety News)

FAO turns 75: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, founded after World War II, is 75 years old and says its goal in the face of rising global hunger is “to make food and agriculture an essential part of the COVID-19 response.” (FAO)

ON THE CALENDAR

Monday

Opening day of the online Iowa Hunger Summit, through Thursday.

BNP Media holds a Food Safety Summit online, through Thursday.

USDA issues weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.

Tuesday

American Commodity Distribution Association holds virtual annual conferences, through Thursday.

Wednesday

Farm Credit Council holds briefing on agricultural credit conditions, 11:30 a.m. ET.

Thursday

USDA releases Organics report, based on a December 2019 survey of 22,000 farmers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic production, noon ET. USDA says the survey “will expand on the 2017 Census of Agriculture data by looking at several aspects of organic agriculture during the 2019 calendar year, including production, marketing practices, income, expenses and more.”

USDA releases monthly Cold Storage reports, 3 p.m. ET.

Friday

USDA releases monthly Food Price Outlook, 9 a.m. ET. At present, food inflation for 2020 is forecast to rise by a higher-than-usual 3 percent. The Consumer Price Index, calculated by the Labor Department, says food prices are 3.9-percent higher than one year ago. The sub-index for meat, poultry, fish and eggs was 6.3-percent higher than a year ago, although it has declined for three months in a row.

USDA releases monthly Cattle on Feed report 3 p.m. ET.

America’s Farm Report