NMPF News Alerts – August 3, 2020

Dairy Defined: Still time to influence the dietary guidelines, NMPF’s Hanselman says

NMPF – August 3

Public comments on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee’s scientific report may be submitted until Aug. 13. It’s a great time for dairy voices to be heard, said Miquela Hanselman, NMPF’s manager for regulatory affairs, in a podcast. “The committee, USDA and HHS work really hard to put together these guidelines to promote a healthy lifestyle for Americans,” Hanselman said. “And dairy is an important part of that.” Advocates interested in commenting on the guidelines can join NMPF’s call to action here.

As schools shut down, a new federal program eased child hunger

The New York Times – July 30

An emergency federal program created in March to offset the loss of school meals led to substantial short-term reductions in child hunger. As the coronavirus pandemic closed the nation’s schools, the program, Pandemic-EBT, aimed to help the 30 million children who rely on subsidized breakfasts and lunches, an often-overlooked part of the American safety net. In the week after each state issued its payments, child hunger fell by about 30 percent, reducing the number of hungry children by at least 2.7 million.

Open Mic: Land O’Lakes President and CEO Beth Ford

Agri-Pulse – August 2

Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, was a guest on Agri-Pulse’s Open Mic over the weekend. The co-op has formed a partnership with Microsoft and formed a new coalition to lobby for increased access to broadband in rural communities. Recognizing a lack of healthcare in rural communities and a lack of investment in technology for schools, Ford says the digital divide is an American issue. Land O’ Lakes is working to provide insights to help farmers achieve improvements in profitability and sustainability.

Leaders duel over coronavirus relief bill

Politico – August 2

Relief bill negotiators couldn’t even agree on what they agree, indicating that Democrats and Republicans are still a ways away from clinching a deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed President Trump for “standing in the way of” enhanced unemployment insurance for tens of millions of Americans, the exact language the White House chief of staff used to describe Democrats. The competing comments showed how far apart House Democrats and the Trump administration are on sending a relief package to the president.

Washington farmworkers ask state Supreme Court for overtime pay

NPR – August 2

Coronavirus cases in farm country have focused new attention on essential workers, as well as the food supply chain. One issue is overtime. In most states, farm owners don’t have to pay overtime to their employees. Now, a case before the Washington State Supreme Court could change that. In the past couple of years, lawmakers in California and New York have mandated that farmers pay overtime to their employees. But Washington would be the first state to extend overtime to farmworkers through the courts.

As US milk sales rise amid pandemic, “Got milk?” ads return

Associated Press – August 3

Six years after the popular tagline was retired, “Got milk?” ads are back. An industry-funded group is reviving the campaign, hoping to prolong the boost milk has gotten during the pandemic. Unlike the original campaign, which debuted in 1994 and was known for its glossy photos of celebrities sporting milk mustaches, the new campaign reflects the age of social media. From January through July 18, U.S. milk retail sales were up 8.3%. During the same period last year, milk sales were down 2.3%.

U.S. identifies some of the mysterious seeds mailed from China

The New York Times – August 2

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said it had identified 14 types of plants from unsolicited packages of seeds that appeared to have been mailed from China, revealing a “mix of ornamental, fruit and vegetable, herb and weed species.” Last month, a number of states reported that residents were getting packages of seeds they did not order. All 50 states have since issued warnings about the unsolicited packages and the inspection service said it had been sent packets from at least 22 states.