Agriculture

States Expand Efforts to Squash Spread of Dangerous Insect

The invasive spotted lanternfly kills many crops and trees and can cause a state hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Several states are sounding the alarm and quarantining more counties.

Invasive Insects Will Kill 1.4M Trees Across the US

Replacing trees attacked by the East Asian beetle, which has invaded 35 states, could cost $900 million, one report shows.

Murder Hornets in US Being Trapped With ‘Sex Spray’

The Asian giant hornet is killing honeybees in the west and may migrate east, which could have a devastating economic impact.

With $1.4B in Awards, USDA Seeks to Loosen Grip of ‘Extraction Economy’ on Rural America

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said a new package of loans and grants is meant to help build wealth outside of cities and suburbs.

Black Texas Farmers Were on Track To Get Federal Aid. The State’s Ag Commissioner Is Helping Stop That

Sid Miller is challenging a debt relief program that the U.S. Department of Agriculture saw as a way to correct historic discrimination. An advocate for Black Texas farmers says the challenge “pushes us back even further.”

Farmers Markets are Growing Their Role as Essential Sources of Healthy Food For Rich and Poor

COMMENTARY | Many farmers markets enjoyed their strongest-ever sales in 2020.

Wisconsin Doesn’t Have a State Cheese, and Some Lawmakers Think That’s No Gouda

Colby, a cheese created in Wisconsin, could be the state’s first official cheese under a proposal under consideration in the legislature. But some lawmakers have reservations.

The Hemp Boom is Over. What Now?

Farmers facing low hemp CBD prices are storing their plants and hoping to someday sell them for a higher price.

Environmentalists Make Long-Shot Attempt to Ban New Factory Farms

It’s becoming clear that some lawmakers no longer see factory farming as a nuisance, but an emergency, as the industry's operations degrade water quality and cause other problems.

Corporate Concentration in the U.S. Food System Makes Food More Expensive and Less Accessible for Many Americans

COMMENTARY | Consolidation has placed key decisions about the nation’s food system in the hands of a few large companies, giving them outsized influence.

Farmers Can be Isolated and Unsure How to Seek Support. One State is Trying to Help.

Farmers in Wisconsin can access a 24-hour hotline, free counseling and, soon, virtual support groups. It's all part of a state-funded wellness program focused on the agricultural community.

USDA Makes New Move in Broad Effort to Bring Innovative Tech to America’s Farmers

The agriculture-focused agency wants public input on potentially disruptive ideas that could be ready to be implemented.

Parts of Iowa Still Reeling From Powerful Storms, as State Battles Rise in Coronavirus

A derecho with winds over 100 mph struck the state last month, causing widespread damage and coming on top of the pandemic.

States and Counties Mandate Covid-19 Testing for Farm Workers

A handful of states and counties are requiring Covid-19 testing for farm and food-processing workers after several clusters of positive cases were traced back to agricultural facilities.

States Warn Residents About Unsolicited Seed Packages Sent From China

People have received the mysterious shipments in at least 22 states. The seeds could pose threats to the environment and agriculture. Federal authorities are investigating.

State Fairs Are the Latest Casualty of Covid-19

At least 15 states have canceled their annual fairs due to public health concerns amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, while others are moving ahead with modified, pared-down events.

City Compost Programs Turn Garbage Into ‘Black Gold’ that Boosts Food Security and Social Justice

COMMENTARY | Municipal composting programs, if executed on a large scale, can reduce food waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote better stewardship of our soil.

Trump’s Food Aid Program Gives Little Funding to the Northeast, Where Coronavirus Hit Hardest

New York and New England have the most COVID-19 cases but received the second-lowest funding of any region. Maine can’t get any shipments because none of the selected contractors serve the state.

Wedding Planner, Caterer, 'Brand Builder': Trump’s Food Aid Program Is Paying $100+ Million to Unlicensed Dealers

Contractors with no experience in food distribution are looking for suppliers on Facebook while some food banks scramble to find desperately needed deliveries.

States, USDA Launch Programs Help Farmers Sell Excess Produce

With restaurants and schools closed, farmers lost their traditional markets for fresh produce. New state and federal programs hope to connect excess supply with the demand, including at food pantries across the country.