Tag Archives: food

The Department of Agriculture’s 2019 Organic Survey released Thursday finds total sales of $9.93 billion in organic products, an increase of $2.37 billion, or 31 percent, from 2016.

Released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the report shows there were 16,500 certified organic farms, a 17 percent increase from 2016, which accounted for 5.5 million certified acres, an increase of nine percent over 2016. California continued to lead the nation in certified organic sales with $3.6 billion, which is 36 percent of the U.S. total and four times that of any other state. Top organic commodities include livestock and poultry products, milk, vegetables and fruit.

The survey also asked producers about plans for future production. Twenty-nine percent of farms plan to increase their level of organic production. More than 1,800 certified organic farms have 255,000 additional acres in the three-year transition period required for land to become certified as organic.

An additional 710 farms not currently certified reported 61,000 acres of land transitioning to organic production.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday announced that it was extending authorization for all schools to offer free meals for students through the 2020-21 school year. The move is intended to allow districts the flexibility in offering either in-person or off-site meal programs for students as the country continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

“The USDA has taken the lead on ensuring that our nation’s children have access to warm, nutritional meals, no matter their schooling situation or the family’s ability to pay,” said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “As a father, grandfather and physician, I am committed to ensuring that our children, especially those unable to return to the classroom, are provided access to school lunches and provided an opportunity for access to at least one hot meal each day. Since the start of this pandemic, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has ensured that the USDA and its meal programs were responding to the needs of the schools and communities that it serves, and I applaud this next step in maintaining nutritional support for our most vulnerable.” 


“As our nation recovers and reopens, we want to ensure that children continue to receive the nutritious breakfasts and lunches they count on during the school year wherever they are, and however they are learning,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are grateful for the heroic efforts by our school food service professionals who are consistently serving healthy meals to kids during these trying times, and we know they need maximum flexibility right now. I appreciate President Trump for his unwavering commitment to ensuring kids receive the food they need during this pandemic and for supporting USDA in continuing to provide these unprecedented flexibilities.”  

This announcement builds on several previous program changes and flexibilities implemented by the USDA starting in March to ensure schools could continue to provide meals for their students. USDA previously extended child nutrition waivers through December 2020 based upon available funding at the time. The flexibilities extended today will allow schools and other local program operators to continue to leverage the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide no cost meals to all children both on-site at schools or at meal sites in the community.

You’ve waited all year and it’s finally here. An entire month dedicated to tender, juicy, delicious pork! October is National Pork Month, so join me and the 1500 pork farmers across Nebraska in celebrating.

“If you have eaten a slice of bacon, pork chop or pulled pork smothered in barbeque sauce, you have a connection to a pork farmer.” Nebraska’s pig farmers recognize that consumers have a growing interest in understanding where pork comes from and how it is produced. Now more than ever, we have access to many tools and resources to better care for our animals and meet consumer demand.

Pork is the worlds’ most widely eaten meat, ahead of chicken and beef. In Nebraska we have more pigs than in the past 20 years. This growth means we are positively affecting our local economies. We are proud to add $1.14 billion of value to our gross state product. With 1-in-4 jobs coming from agriculture, we know that we play a valuable role in this area.

The pork industry is committed to managing operations in the most environmentally responsible way possible. Conservation, recycling, land management, water quality, air quality and manure management are areas of priority for pig farmers for continuous improvement. Safeguarding the environment comes naturally to Nebraska’s pork producers because they understand their inherent responsibility to future generations.

COVID-19 presented a number of challenges in 2020 to our industry that we hope to never see again. Our farmers met each one with courage and determination. Through it all they succeeded in doing what they do best for their family, animals, employees and community by donating over 10,000 pounds of pork to neighbors in need through our “Pork Cares” project.

October is Pork Month and it is a time when we celebrate and remember all the hard-working farm families that are there every day of the year so we can all enjoy a safe, sustainable, affordable, and yes, a ‘tasty’ food we call pork!

Pandemic-related disruptions have exposed underlying weaknesses in the food and farm system, according to the National Farmers Union. NFU President Rob Larew told the House Small Business Committee Wednesday during a hearing the need for significant structural reforms to protect farmers and consumers from similar disruptions in the future.

One of the primary contributors to supply chain delays and food shortages has been widespread corporation consolidation, particularly in the meat processing industry, Larew told the lawmakers. As a solution, Larew proposed policies that would stem the tide of consolidation and build out regional food infrastructure. NFU says another major problem is chronic oversupply. In recent months, restaurant closures and shifting demand has made matters worse, as Larew noted in his testimony.

Though pandemic aid has helped farmers withstand persistently low prices, “policy changes are needed to address the causes – rather than simply the symptoms – of a broken farm economy.” NFU proposes a supply management system that would balance farm production with consumer demand.

Beijing wants the rest of the world to know that the most-populated country in the world is not looking at a grain shortage. China’s Ag Minister is blaming speculators for rapidly rising corn prices which are stoking fears about a possible shortage in the Asian nation.

Corn prices in China recently hit an eight-year high following events like typhoons and flooding that damaged the nation’s Corn Belt. The South China Morning Post says it saw firsthand that large areas of cropland were flattened. As a result, local farmers are concerned about a steep drop in what they can produce. Chinese corn imports, used mainly in animal feed, hit the highest level in almost 30 years during the first eight months of 2020, increasing anxiety about a possible domestic supply gap.

However, the nation’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs says the surging prices were caused by “market speculation and irrational hoarding.” He says the country has ample supplies of corn and is set to harvest another bumper crop in the autumn, despite the impact of natural disasters in two provinces that account for 25 percent of China’s corn production. “New corn will enter the market soon and the supply will further increase,” he says. “Corn prices are already starting to stabilize.”