Missed some ag news this week? Here's seven stories to catch you up.
1. Corn planting progress reached 7% in the latest USDA crop progress report released April 20. This was the first week that USDA reported soybean planting progress, with 2% of the crop now in the ground. USDA puts spring wheat planting progress at 7%. – Farm Futures
2. The coronavirus has not only disrupted supply chains, it has also restarted a discussion about self-sufficiency tinged with nationalism. At least 10 countries have introduced restrictions on overseas sales of grains or rice since mid-March. Vietnam, the world's third-largest shipper of rice, has barred rice exports. Ukraine has also limited grain exports. – Farm Futures
3. Michigan State University professor Bruno Basso, a professor in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University, and John Antle, a professor of Applied Economics at Oregon State University, argue that digital agriculture can pave the road to agricultural sustainability. – Forbes
4. Jobs at pork processing plants are physically demanding, but offer good wages. At Smithfield in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, more than 725 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least one worker has died. The plant employs 3,700 people, but is now closed. A nearby plant in Worthington, Minnesota, is also closed because of a COVID-19 outbreak. The JBS plant employs around 2,000 workers. – The Associated Press/MPR News
5. USDA meat inspectors, who are responsible for overseeing the safety and labeling of meat products, are being told to obtain their own protective gear as COVID-19 closes meat plants across the country due to outbreaks of the virus. – Politico
6. About 8% of the nation's packing capacity offline, but there's no reason to worry about a lack of meat on grocery store shelves. The total meat packing industry is operating at 60% of normal capacity. – BEEF, KSTP
7. The pandemic is making the already risky farming business even more unpredictable, not only for the people who make up the farming industry, but also for the nation's food supply. About half of U.S. farmworkers are undocumented immigrants who don't have the same protections as citizens. Farmers have had five years of down prices and some of taken their own lives. – PBS
And your bonus.
The Peterson Brothers may be rapping about harvest in this video, but the sentiment of "Farmers Rock," implies year-round and many farmers are in the field tonight, hopefully having a good time. - YouTube