Tag Archives: food

 

The COVID-19 situation has caused a rapid drop in the demand for fluid milk and other dairy products.  Now some dairy cooperatives are instructing their producers to dump their milk.  Kris Bousquet is the Executive Director of the Nebraska State Dairy
Association.  He says it’s not all bad news….

Bousquet says the equivalent of 11 semi loads of milk will be dumped over the three days of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this week.  He says they are not able yet to project if any milk will have to be dumped next week.  Bousquet says that the current situation has forced milk processors and cooperatives to manage the supply coming off the farm….

Bousquet says farmers will be compensated for the milk that is dumped.  Dairy farmers in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota this week wrote a letter to USDA requesting an additional enrollment period in the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

Reports continue to come in from states like Wisconsin of dairy producers having to dump milk because of diminishing demand and Nebraska dairies are now facing the same issue. Shalee Peters has more…

 

And in Wisconsin they have seen an increase in dumping of milk…

 

A group of dairy organizations wrote a letter this week to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and asked the USDA to help the struggling dairy industry. They want the agency to use its extensive purchasing power given to it by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Security Act, to alleviate at least some of the stress on the U.S. dairy industry.

Approximately 80 percent of Americans are under orders to shelter in their homes. That means hundreds of thousands of restaurants, schools, and other food service outlets have either significantly reduced their offerings or shut down. That means cheese and butter manufacturers have lost their largest market segments.

While retail sales have increased during recent weeks, those sales are now leveling off and orders are slowing down. Overseas markets have been decimated. The letter to Secretary Perdue asks USDA to focus on purchases of nonfat dry milk, as well as cheese, including cheddar, mozzarella, and other Italian-style cheese.

They’re also asking USDA to look at different ways they have available to make farmers whole for the milk they’ve produced, but had to dispose of, or received drastically reduced payments. Some of the groups signing onto the letter include the Wisconsin Cheese Makers, Dairy Business Association, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, and the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — GENYOUth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating healthier school communities, announced today the establishment of the COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund to assist schools nationwide as they strive to provide school meals containing essential nutrition to students during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Approximately 124,000 U.S. public and private schools across the nation are now closed as a result of COVID-19 but they remain a critical source for the 30 million students who rely on school meals for a substantial portion of their daily nutrition. Across the nation, school nutrition professionals and volunteers are adopting new methods of delivering healthy meals during school closures, employing a variety of solutions – grab and go, drive through pick-up, bus stop drop-off and summer meal sites – to ensure students receive the vital nutrition they need. While federal funding continues to support school feeding programs, additional funding is crucial to provide schools with the necessary resources for food storage, single-serve packaging, distribution, delivery and sanitation/safety protective gear as they adapt to new means of delivering healthy meals to feed our nation’s children.

To meet this unprecedented need, GENYOUth is launching a national campaign and movement, “For Schools’ Sake – Help Us Feed Our Nation’s Kids!” This is a national call-to-action for corporations, foundations, athletes, influencers and individuals to raise their hands with urgency and compassion to support the COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund and spread the word to help feed the need #ForSchoolsSake. They can do this by making a donation at www.genyouthnow.org and by posting pictures with their hands raised in support for school nutrition professionals and volunteers on their social media channels.

The campaign also invites schools to apply for grants of up to $3,000 per school feeding site to purchase supplies for meal distribution and delivery. Schools can apply at https://COVID-19.genyouthnow.org/.

“I cannot underscore how critical the need is right now for the 30 million kids who rely on school meals. The demands are urgent and time-sensitive to support our front-line school nutrition workers as they feed our nation’s students,” said Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth. “To date, beginning with the support of America’s Dairy Farmers, the NFL Foundation and purpose-driven corporations, we have raised almost $3 million to provide critical resources to schools across the nation. By raising your hand and donating to this fund, we can ignite a movement that will benefit tens of millions of students.”

In addition to the generous commitments from America’s Dairy Farmers, initial commitments from top corporations and foundations include the American Beverage Association, Arby’s Foundation, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, NFL Foundation, PayPal, PepsiCo Foundation and TD Ameritrade. Their support provides a solid foundational starting point knowing the urgency to raise millions of dollars to meet the unprecedented demand is great.

“One of the most important things right now is making sure children across the country who rely on school for their meals are receiving the nutrition they need,” said NFL Commissioner and GENYOUth Board Member Roger Goodell. “It’s critical that meals are distributed safely to the students who need it most and we’re proud to support our partner GENYOUth who is making that happen.”

“America’s Dairy Farmers have had a long-standing commitment to youth wellness for over a century,” says Audrey Donahoe, dairy farmer, and Chair of National Dairy Council.  “I am proud of our continued commitment to the front-line workers feeding our nation’s youth – the school nutrition personnel and volunteers – who help schools at the grass roots level flourish by increasing access to school meals during this most critical time.”

Since GENYOUth’s inception almost a decade ago, the non-profit has provided $100 million in grants and equipment to schools. With GENYOUth’s extensive network of schools, through its flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60, and with the help of generous donors, an immediate and substantial impact can be made to support U.S. school communities during this unprecedented time.

Consumers are ordering more goods and groceries online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grocery Dive, a web-based grocery industry publication, reports 31 percent of U.S. households have used online grocery services over the past month.

Out of those surveyed, 26 percent of consumers report using grocery delivery and pick-up services for the first time, and 39 percent of 60 and older consumers say the same. The report is based on a survey of more than 1,600 U.S. adults. The pandemic may permanently alter consumer activity, as buyers are seeking to avoid crowds at grocery stores to follow social distancing guidelines.

However, current pick-up and delivery infrastructure is not meeting the demands. Amazon’s Prime Pantry temporarily shut down, and many grocery stores offering the services are scheduling appointments days after the order, compared with same day or next day options.

Meanwhile, last week, several online providers, including DoorDash, announced they would waive delivery fees for shoppers 60 and older.

DENVER – March 30, 2020 – In the latest effort to address myths about beef production and nutrition, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has released a new video series, ‘Real Facts About Real Beef.’ The videos highlight real farmers and ranchers and other beef experts candidly addressing some of the most common misconceptions and questions about cattle and beef.

 

According to market research, 52 percent of people agree that they trust the people who raise cattle[i]; however, only 27 percent of people say they are knowledgeable about how cattle are raised. [ii] In a time when consumers are more removed from food production than ever, these videos deliver facts directly from the source – beef farmers and ranchers, as well as credentialed experts in the fields of sustainability, human nutrition, and more.

 

The videos in this series include:

  • Real Facts About Real Beef: Red Meat and Health – Cattle rancher and life coach, Kiah Twisselman, takes on the myth that “red meat is bad for your health” in this video. She highlights that, while there are many mixed messages on the internet about certain foods being bad or good for your health, it is ultimately important that people are eating a well-balanced diet with nutrient dense foods like lean beef.

 

  • Real Facts About Real Beef: Cattle Production and Climate Change – In this video, Carlyn Petersen, an animal biology doctoral student, is tasked with addressing the myth that “methane from cattle is the leading cause of climate change.” She tackles this myth head on with the real fact that cattle only contribute about two percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and that the leading contributor of greenhouse gas is actually the burning of fossil fuels.

 

  • Real Facts About Real Beef: Grazing Cattle vs. Crops – Mike Williams, a cattle rancher and owner of Diamond W Cattle Company, addresses the myth that “instead of letting cattle graze all over, we could be using that land to grow crops for humans.” As a rancher in the western U.S., Williams knows best and shares how cattle largely graze on land that isn’t suitable for growing crops, and that this land actually thrives when grazed properly.

 

  • Real Facts About Real Beef: Cattle Production and the Environment  – For this video, Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a leading expert on cattle and sustainability, debunks the myth that “cattle production and farming is harmful to the environment, creating soil erosion, water pollution and poor air quality.” Dr. Mitloehner explains that, as an animal science researcher, he has found the exact opposite to be true, and that, in fact, a properly run ranch or farm will sequester carbon and promote biodiversity.

 

“’Real Facts About Real Beef’ is one more way Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. is working to help ensure consumers are informed when it comes to how beef is produced and the nutrients it delivers,” said Buck Wehrbein, federation division chair at NCBA. “These videos are a powerful way we’re able to share fact- and science-based information about beef production and nutrition with these important audiences.”

 

The ‘Real Facts About Real Beef’ videos will be promoted on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to help address misinformation about beef production and its role in a healthy, sustainable diet. In addition to addressing the myths head on, the videos direct consumers to BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com for additional information.

 

This video series is just the latest from Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. in an effort to debunk myths about the beef industry. In mid-January, new ads, complete with the brand’s unique personality and swagger, were rolled out addressing the topics of health, sustainability and meat substitutes. The initial six-week digital media flight generated more than 35 million consumer touchpoints, reaching more than 11.6 million consumers multiple times.

In addition to these myth busting efforts, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. is giving consumers a behind-the-scenes look at beef production with 360° virtual ranch tours. The videos take consumers on an educational journey to farms and ranches across the United States to learn how beef farmers and ranchers raise cattle to produce high-quality beef.

“As a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, we are committed to ensuring consumers, media, chefs, dietitians foodservice, retail partners and other stakeholders have the facts and information they need when it comes to the beef industry,” said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president of global marketing and research at NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.

 

For more facts about real beef, visit www.BeefItWhatsForDinner.com.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California farms are still working to supply food to much of the United States amid the coronavirus. But some farm workers are anxious about the virus spreading among them.

Many travel in groups to fields and say employers show no regard for social distancing. Some farms are keeping workers spaced out and asking them to wear gloves and use hand sanitizer. But an industry group says the distancing measures can be inefficient and costly. If workers are sidelined by illness, it could jeopardize crop yields and disrupt the food supply.

United Farm Workers is using the moment to push for longstanding requests like removing hurdles to sick pay.

Panic buying and hoarding supplies is pushing wholesale egg prices in the Midwest to their all-time high. The Des Moines Register says prices for other staples like milk, beef, and even ice cream have gone higher as well.

Joe Kerns is president of an agricultural consulting company in Ames, Iowa, who says the Midwest isn’t short on supplies, it’s abnormally-high demand that’s causing the price jump. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, consumers in Iowa and across the U.S. are piling way more than the usual amount of groceries in their shopping carts. That unusually-high demand level is driving prices higher. Kerns says it’s not a surprise because as restaurant dining rooms are closed, more people are cooking in their homes.

Some grocers are seeing as much as six times the normal demand for eggs, which is temporarily clearing out shelves. Processor are struggling to fill orders that are coming in at a rapid pace. Stores in Iowa and across the country say they’re seeing increased prices from their suppliers as they keep working to make sure their shelves stay filled with staple products.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers, announced agreements the union reached to increase pay and benefits for more than 6,300 Nebraska workers with Cargill in Nebraska City and SchuylerHormel in Fremont and JBS in Grand Island. The boost to pay and benefits represents a strong investment in these workers who are essential to protecting the U.S. food supply chain during the coronavirus outbreak. The increased pay and benefits will support more than 40,000 workers nationwide.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“After talks between America’s leading food companies and UFCW, the union representing more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers, we are proud to support additional and critical pay and benefit increases for these workers who are essential to America’s food supply. These wage and benefit increases will not only protect the health and welfare of these hard-working men and women, they will help ensure all of America’s families have the food they need to overcome the public health crisis our nation faces.

“What these companies did shows real leadership. They worked together with our union family and they recognized the incredible hard work and sacrifices that our members and all meatpacking and food processing workers are making every single day.

“At a time of such national crisis, where food is so vital, we hope that this sends a message to every company in these industries – union and non-union – that it is time for every employer to do more to protect our food supply and the hardworking men and women keeping our communities stable and families fed.”

Background:

UFCW reached the following agreements to support meatpacking and food processing workers across the country:

  • Cargill: Employees will receive a $2 per hour pay increase in effect between March 23 and May 5. Cargill will also strengthen worker safeguards with increased spacing in factory floor work areas, waive co-pays for coronavirus testing and treatment, and the ability to take time off for any coronavirus-related absences.
  • Danone North America: Employees will receive a 15 percent pay increase and 80 hours of additional paid leave for coronavirus-related absences.
  • Kraft Heinz: Employees who are required to quarantine will receive short-term disability benefits with waived waiting periods, waiver of co-pays for coronavirus medical care, and $100 weekly childcare subsidy for workers in districts where schools have closed.
  • Pepsi: Employees will receive an additional 2 weeks paid leave for coronavirus-related absences and childcare assistance equal to at least two-thirds of their pay for up to 12 weeks or a $100 daily reimbursement if they have children enrolled in closed schools.
  • Hormel: Employees are receiving a $300 bonus for working during this time frame.
  • JBS: Employees who are UFCW members will receive a $600 bonus on May 15th.
  • Maple Leaf Foods: Employees will receive additional $80 per week in premium pay.
  • Campbell’s Soup: Employees will receive a $2 per hour pay increase during the outbreak.
  • National Beef: Employees are receiving a $2 per hour pay increase between March 16 through May 10, 2 weeks paid leave if they are required to quarantine, waiver of co-pays for coronavirus medical care, and the ability to take time off for any coronavirus-related absences.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, late Wednesday night issued the following statement after the Senate passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes relief for farmers, consumers, and rural communities.

“This health care crisis is affecting every family across the country. The relief package will provide stability for our farmers and ensure the American people have a safe and stable food supply. Our bipartisan agreement includes targeted assistance to farmers who are experiencing severe financial losses during the pandemic, including fruit and vegetable growers, dairy farmers, and local food producers.

“The bill ensures that our small towns and rural communities aren’t left behind. It provides telemedicine resources, critical support for rural hospitals, and loans to help small businesses stay afloat.

“While this bill contains critical relief, I am deeply disappointed that including additional food assistance for children, families, and seniors did not have bipartisan support. I will continue to fight to get families the help they need during this crisis.”

The CARES Act provides:

Relief for Farmers and Ranchers

  • $9.5 billion dedicated disaster fund to help farmers who are experiencing financial losses from the coronavirus crisis, including targeted support for fruit and vegetable growers, dairy and livestock farmers, and local food producers, who have been shorted from receiving emergency assistance in the past.
  • $14 billion to fund the Farm Bill’s farm safety net through the Commodity Credit Corporation.
  • Eligibility for farmers and agricultural and rural businesses to receive up to $10 million in small business interruption loans from eligible lenders, including Farm Credit institutions, through the Small Business Administration. Repayment forgiveness will be provided for funds used for payroll, rent or mortgage, and utility bills.
  • $3 million to increase capacity at the USDA Farm Service Agency to meet increased demand from farmers affected by the coronavirus crisis.

 

Assistance for Small Towns and Rural Communities

  • $1 billion available in guaranteed loans to help rural businesses weather the economic downturn.
  • $100 billion to hospitals, health care providers, and facilities, including those in rural areas.
  • $25 million for telemedicine tools to help rural patients access medical care no matter where they live.
  • $100 million for high speed internet expansion in small towns and rural communities.
  • Over $70 million to help the U.S. Forest Service serve rural communities and reduce the spread of coronavirus through personal protective equipment for first responders and cleaning of facilities.

 

Protections for Consumers and the Food Supply

  • $55 million for inspection and quarantine at our borders to protect against invasive pests and animal disease.
  • $33 million for overtime and temporary food safety inspectors to protect America’s food supply at meat processing plants.
  • $45 million to ensure quality produce and meat reaches grocery stores through increased support for the Agricultural Marketing Service.
  • $1.5 million to expedite EPA approvals of disinfectants needed to control the spread of coronavirus.

Food Access for Families

  • $15.8 billion to fund food assistance changes made in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Republicans and the Trump Administration blocked additional funding to expand benefits for children, families, and seniors.
  • $9 billion to fund child nutrition improvements made in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • $450 million to provide food banks with additional resources for food and distribution.
  • $100 million for food distribution in Tribal communities to provide facility improvements, equipment upgrades, and food purchases.

WASHINGTON– House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson welcomed the designation of agriculture, including food production, distribution, and retail, as critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security in an announcement made by the DHS on Thursday.

The announcement allows those along the food and agriculture supply chain to continue operating to meet the national need. In a statement, Peterson noted the importance of farmers, food processors and producers, distributors and retailers as essential to the well-being of the country as it faces the growing coronavirus pandemic.

“Our food system is absolutely critical right now to keeping Americans fed, calm, and healthy,” Peterson said. “As we have heard from farmers and from food companies, we have enough food. The important part now is protecting and supporting the people that grow, raise, distribute and sell that food so supply can continue. The food processing industry is also being impacted by the same shortage of disinfecting products and protective equipment that has reached a crisis situation for our medical professionals.”