Northwest Iowa — Not everything is negative in this time of the pandemic. Some things are actually better than normal. One of the things that would fit into that category, or at least the category of being somewhat normal — is the planting and crop progress in area fields. Read more
Statewide Iowa — (RI) — The Iowa Department of Agriculture has launched a program to help pork producers deal with hogs they can’t take to market after coronavirus shut downs at packing plants. Read more
IARN — Congressional lawmakers seek to improve the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in the next coronavirus-related measure. The program, which assists small businesses with payroll, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities during the coronavirus pandemic will soon come up for a vote. American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Congressional Relations Director RJ Karney offers further insight.
“We expect the House to take up a bill this week. The Senate is expected to vote on its bipartisan bill shortly after getting back into session next week,” Karney said. “While Farm Bureau is supportive of these bipartisan efforts, Farm Bureau is also working for additional corrections that would allow agricultural producers to more fully participate in the Paycheck Protection Program.” Read more
IARN — There was much mixed emotion when President Trump signed the executive order which invoked the Defense Production Act and told meatpackers to get back and running. Producers were happy to see the packers return. Many were looking at euthanizing animals or trying to sell them direct to customers for their own processing. On the other hand, workers at the packing plants were saying that they were being forced back to work in unsafe conditions.
The Trump Administration, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and others have said that their primary concern was with the health and safety of the workers at the packing plants. They called on the packers to make conditions safer for workers. However, after only a few weeks, we are not seeing any reduction in the number of packing plant workers falling ill. We are seeing an increase. Read more
IARN — Along with many other observances, May is Mental Health Month. During this COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen many efforts put forth to raise awareness for everybody affected by these difficult times. Agriculture is not alone in these struggles, but the struggles farmers face are unique. From depressed crop and livestock prices to dumping milk and euthanizing animals, farmers are watching their livelihoods be hit by something that is not their fault. Their supplies are good, and the quality of the products is phenomenal. However, supply chain disruptions are causing this distress to people who just want to sell their goods. Read more
IARN — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand announced Wednesday that the department is investing $281 million in 106 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure (PDF, 252 KB) in rural communities in 36 states and Puerto Rico. USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Read more