Latest U.S. Department of Agriculture News

Des Moines Area Religious Council Food Pantry worker Patrick Minor pulls a package of ground pork out of a cooler during a pantry stop, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. As food banks have struggled to meet soaring demand from people suddenly out of work because of the coronavirus outbreak, it has been especially troubling to see farmers have to bury produce, dump milk and euthanize hogs. Now some states are spending more money to help pay for food that might otherwise go to waste, the U.S. Agriculture Department is spending $3 billion to help get farm products to food banks, and U.S. senator is seeking $8 billion more to buy farm produce for food banks. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Efforts underway to get food from US farms to the needy

May. 25, 2020 11:03 AM EDT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — As food banks have struggled to meet soaring demand from people suddenly out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been especially troubling to see farmers have to bury produce, dump milk and euthanize hogs. Now some states are providing more money to help pay for food that...

FILE - In this April 20, 2020, file photo, a farmer is silhouetted by the setting sun as a field is planted near Walford, Iowa. U.S. farmers across the nation leaned more heavily upon the federal government last year to finance their agricultural operations amid low commodity prices and trade disputes, and more of the money they borrowed from taxpayers is now delinquent. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette via AP, File)

US farmers leaning more heavily on government loan programs

May. 21, 2020 8:35 PM EDT

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — Farmers across the nation leaned more heavily upon the federal government last year to finance their agricultural operations amid low commodity prices and trade disputes, and more of the money they borrowed is now delinquent. Although the U.S. Agriculture Department said it has...

Forecast: Kansas farmers to harvest 284.4M bushels of wheat

May. 21, 2020 6:03 PM EDT

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers are projected to harvest 284.4 million bushels of winter wheat this year, industry leaders said Thursday. The forecast from the annual Wheat Quality Tour, held for the past 50 years by the Wheat Quality Council, came during a virtual wheat tour held via Zoom this...

US lawmakers from agricultural states push for $1B in aid

May. 21, 2020 4:20 PM EDT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some New Mexico dairies have reported average monthly losses of more than a quarter-million dollars as fallout from the coronavirus outbreak mounts. Ranchers have seen cattle prices plummet amid supply chain problems, and farmers are starting to worry about potential labor...

FILE - In this May 7, 2020, file photo, workers leave the Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Logansport, Ind. Federal recommendations meant to keep meatpacking workers safe as they return to plants that were shuttered by the coronavirus have little enforcement muscle behind them, fueling anxiety that working conditions could put employees' lives at risk. Major meatpackers JBS, Smithfield and Tyson have said worker safety is their highest priority. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

Meatpacking safety recommendations are largely unenforceable

May. 21, 2020 9:38 AM EDT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Federal recommendations meant to keep meatpacking workers safe as they return to plants that were shuttered by the coronavirus have little enforcement muscle behind them, fueling anxiety that working conditions could put employees' lives at risk. Extensive guidance issued last month by...

A pallet of food awaits processing as volunteers work in the background to label cans of beans for redistribution at Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Demand at food pantries has escalated as the number of New Mexicans applying for unemployment benefits increased for the week ending May 2. New Mexico has processed more than 133,000 claims since mid-March. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

New Mexico likely to reopen restaurants, gyms, malls June 1

May. 20, 2020 11:23 PM EDT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham set a June 1 target date to restart dine-in service at restaurants and reopen gyms, hair salons and shopping malls at limited capacity. Those businesses have been shuttered since March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The first-term...

Nebraska farmers making progress on corn, soybean planting

May. 18, 2020 6:42 PM EDT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska farmers have planted most of the expected corn crop and are making good progress on soybean planting, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday. The USDA said farmers had planted 91% of the corn crop as of Sunday, putting them far ahead of the 63% that had been...

Iowa farmers nearly complete corn, soybean planting

May. 18, 2020 6:21 PM EDT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Thanks to favorable weather, Iowa farmers have planted most of the corn crop and are nearing completion of soybean planting, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday. The USDA said in the week ending Sunday, farmers had planted 96% of the expected corn crop, putting them...

WV State University offers additional weather data program

May. 18, 2020 3:08 AM EDT

INSTITUTE, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia State University's Extension Service had a large response to its weather data collection program this month and plans to offer another one next week. The free session will be held virtually through Zoom at 3 p.m. on May 26. Participants will learn how to collect...

With schools closed, program to help students who need meals

May. 17, 2020 1:06 PM EDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has been granted federal authority to help feed more than 611,000 students during the coronavirus pandemic. The state announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the OK to provide the assistance for families of children in kindergarten through 12th grade...