USDA exempts family farms from limit on farm subsidy recipients
In a reversal, the USDA said on Wednesday that family-run farms are not subject to a rule that tightens eligibility standards for crop subsidies — the opposite of what it announced three months ago. A small-farm advocate criticized the “correction,” which applies to the bulk of U.S. farms, as a violation of the rule-making process and encouraged the incoming Biden administration to void it.
Ag must make big changes to reach climate goals, says report
Progress toward limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius — the goal of the Paris Agreement — is “highly insufficient,” “off-track,” “too slow,” and “inadequate” across almost every key sector: power, buildings, industry, transport, agriculture, and forests, the World Resources Institute and the ClimateWorks Foundation said Wednesday in their State of Climate Action report.
Progressive groups back Fudge for agriculture secretary
An array of farm, animal welfare, climate change, and environmental groups urged President-elect Joe Biden to select Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge for agriculture secretary. “She has long been an ally to farmers, food-chain workers, consumers, and rural communities,” the groups said.
USDA moves its Outlook Forum online
Due to the pandemic and limits on public gatherings, the annual Agricultural Outlook Forum will be held online in 2021, said the USDA on Wednesday. The data-filled event includes the first USDA estimate of the year of farm income and early projections of crop and livestock production.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Rural infections hit another record: For the eighth week in a row, the number of Covid-19 infections in rural America set a record. For the week ended Nov. 14, there were 195,795 new cases, up 36 percent from the previous week. (Daily Yonder)
A ‘permission slip’ for logging: The U.S. Forest Service, a USDA agency, finalized a rule that allows it to use “categorical exclusions” to bypass environmental laws for projects of up to 2,800 acres, or 4.4 square miles. Critics called the rule a “permission slip” for logging and road building. (Washington Post)
Food insecurity on the rise: New data from the Census Bureau indicate that less than half of U.S. households with children are “very confident” they can afford to buy enough food over the next four weeks. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
Betting on coronavirus is alleged: A wrongful death lawsuit against Tyson Foods alleges that the manager of its Waterloo, Iowa, packing plant organized a betting pool on how many employees would test positive for Covid-19. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
The bamboo solution: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization signed a five-year agreement to scale up production of the fast-growing tropical plants to reduce rural poverty, increase carbon sequestration, and reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry. (FAO)