NMPF News Alerts – July 15, 2020

CFAP dairy payments approach $1.2 billion

Farm Journal’s MILK – July 14

Coronavirus Financial Assistance Payments (CFAP) to dairy farmers for lost milk income is now just shy of $1.2 billion, the USDA reported this week. Wisconsin continues to lead the country in payments, totaling $248 million to 5,152 farmers for an average payment of about $48,000 per dairy farm. California received $171 million in dairy payments to 859 of its farmers. Because of the larger average herd size in California, payments there were $147,000 per farm.

Biden’s $2T environmental plan offers farm assistance, pledges farmworker protections

Agri-Pulse – July 14

Former Vice President Joe Biden issued a $2 trillion environmental plan that makes some wide-ranging proposals for agriculture and land use, including a pledge to offer financial assistance for adoption of new climate-friendly farming practices and technologies. The plan, which links environmental issues to social justice concerns, also includes pledges to end discrimination against Black farmers and to expand protections for farmworkers.

Only eight U.S. states have virus rules for farms as cases rise

Bloomberg – July 14

Only eight U.S. states have imposed mandatory protections specifically for farmworkers from coronavirus amid a series of agricultural outbreaks across the country and a national rise in new infections, according to a survey of state regulations. Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin are the only states to require produce growers and other farm operations to provide personal protective equipment to farmworkers and to require physical distancing.

Vermont launches dairy relief program

Saint Albans Messenger (St. Albans, VT) – July 14

Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced that $25 million in financial aid is now available to dairy farmers and processors whose businesses were affected by COVID-19. Declaring dairy farmers and processors “the cornerstone of many rural communities,” Scott wrote in a statement the emergency relief funding would provide “much-needed relief to businesses as we work together to recover and rebuild.”

Vilsack says U.S. dairy “cautious” about USMCA

KMA Radio (Shenandoah, IA) – July 12

After years of negotiations, USMCA has finally replaced NAFTA. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that he will ensure Canada will live up to its promise for dairy reforms. That sentiment is backed by U.S. Dairy Export Council CEO Tom Vilsack. “He needs to keep a close eye on the Canadians because what they have announced and what they intend to do with reference to these tariff quotas does not appear to us to be consistent with the spirit of the letter of the USMCA.”

China’s imports and exports rebound as coronavirus fades in world’s second-largest economy

The Wall Street Journal – July 14

Chinese imports from the U.S. rose for the first time since coronavirus emerged earlier this year, showcasing Beijing’s post-pandemic purchasing power even as political tension continues to rise. China’s appetite for meat and other agricultural goods helped Chinese imports of U.S. goods to jump by 11.3% in June from a year earlier, after a 13.5% drop in May. However, increasing tensions on various fronts have ignited concerns among economists about deteriorating trade ties between the two countries.

Agriculture is not immune to pandemic

Dairy Herd Management – July 13

Coronavirus has changed the world in just six months and while agriculture is inherently isolated, changes have hit the sector regardless. For dairy farmer Dwayne Faber, he’s changed the way his business operates to protect his employees and family. At the same time, he’s making sure the business continues. “We haven’t had anyone test positive but some of their family members have. We had them stay home for two weeks and paid them to stay home. We’re making our employees aware of symptoms, so they can self-diagnose and self-report,” he said.

Global methane emissions rising due to oil and gas, agriculture

Reuters – July 14

U.S. oil and gas drilling along with agricultural production worldwide are driving up global emissions of methane, two new studies show. In the United States, now the world’s top oil and gas producer, increased drilling by the industry contributed most to the rise. In South Asia, South America and Africa, growing agricultural activities such as livestock operations and farm waste caused methane levels in those regions to spike.

Can biotech startups make breast milk without the breast?

The Counter – July 14

It won’t be easy to cell-culture breast milk in the lab. But early results are promising enough to spell trouble for the infant formula industry. Biomilq’s efforts fit squarely within the same paradigm of companies trying to grow animal protein without raising and killing livestock—a field known collectively as cellular agriculture. Infant formula companies make up a $45-billion industry globally, projected to grow to $103 billion by 2026. Currently, their products tend to be based on cow’s milk.