NMPF News Alerts – July 27, 2020

Looking back:

NMPF Second Vice Chairman Mike McCloskey told a House subcommittee that the dairy sector’s work on reducing greenhouse gases will benefit from the creation of farmer-focused financial incentives to jump-start the process of achieving carbon neutrality in 30 years. In testimony for a hearing on farm energy production organized by the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Energy, McCloskey, who chairs NMPF’s Environmental Issues Committee, said federal policy should align incentives needed for dairy farmers to widely adopt anaerobic digesters and other emissions-mitigation technologies.

House lawmakers passed a Fiscal Year 2021 agriculture appropriations bill that includes $5 million to fund the FDA’s enforcement of dairy labeling standards.

NMPF posted two new publications last week: the summer issue of the NMPF Regulatory Register, and the July issue of the Dairy Market Report.

Looking ahead:

Senate Republicans will release the details of a coronavirus stimulus package today. The proposal is expected to include $20 billion in additional funding for USDA to help compensate farmers for pandemic-related losses.

Dairy Defined: How the fight against “bogus butter” changed the world

NMPF – July 27

They called it “Butterine,” and it was the “innovation” of its times. But it was an imposter. Dairy fought its labeling chicanery, with outcomes that have benefited consumers ever since. Sunday, Aug. 2, is the anniversary of what was officially named the Oleomargarine Act. The product of heated Congressional debate, what became remembered as the Butter Act of 1886 created what to this day remains the only standard of identity for a food product set by Congress rather than regulators.

House Ag Appropriations features gains for dairy

NMPF – July 24

The House-approved appropriations bill funding USDA and FDA for the next fiscal year includes key advances for dairy. The bill, which passed with bipartisan support, includes provisions that were top priorities for NMPF. Among dairy’s gains, the bill urges FDA in multiple ways to enforce dairy product standards of identity, allocates $10 million for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, and provides $990 million for ReConnect, the USDA Rural Development program providing broadband service to eligible rural areas.

Dairy farmer says federal support could increase dairy sustainability

Dairy Herd Management – July 24

Dairy producers are not strangers to sustainability. In fact, over the past several decades dairy producers have reduced the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk significantly. Still, the industry has committed to reaching the goal of net zero by 2050, a goal Indiana dairy producer Mike McCloskey says could be met sooner with federal support. ““We can get there with your support,” said McCloskey, chairman of NMPF’s Environmental Issues Committee, in a hearing.

Senate GOP set to unveil pandemic aid plan

Agri-Pulse – July 26

Senate Republicans look to finally move into talks with Democrats on a new coronavirus relief package this week, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggests it could take a few weeks to reach a deal. A major deadline is looming Friday with the scheduled expiration of the $600-a-week in enhanced unemployment benefits that were provided as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act enacted in March.

Lost sales, disrupted markets, health worries: A majority of NY farmers negatively impacted by COVID-19

North Country Public Radio (Canton, NY) – July 27

Farmers are used to unpredictability. But COVID-19 is throwing New York agriculture a much bigger curveball than what farms usually must deal with. Dairy farmer David Fisher says health has to be the top priority. “My biggest concern hasn’t exactly been the price of milk and shipping concerns. It’s the health and safety of our employees and our family. We’re a team and if someone gets sick it’s a major concern, for the wellbeing of the people and the animals we care for every day,” he said.

This county knew coronavirus could ravage its farmworkers. Why didn’t officials stop it?

Los Angeles Times – July 25

As coronavirus cases began to grow in San Joaquin County in June, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs proposed requiring citizens to wear a mask in his city in the center of the fertile valley, where agriculture is king and poverty pervasive. The response he received from the county emergency services director was disquieting. Weeks later, San Joaquin is so overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases that military medical teams have been sent to two local hospitals. ICU beds are scarce, and the surge has hit farm workers especially hard.

States issue warnings about seed packets from China

The New York Times – July 26

Officials in four states are urging residents to report unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to have been sent from China, warning that they might be invasive or otherwise harmful. The agriculture departments in Washington, Louisiana, Kansas and Virginia have issued statements in recent days, noting that residents had reported receiving packages of seeds in the mail that they had not ordered. The seeds appear to have been mailed in white pouches displaying Chinese lettering and the words “China Post.”