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7 ag stories you might have missed this week - May 8, 2020

Kansas wheat crop hit by freezing temps, Ag Economy Barometer drops and farmer details his COVID-19 experience.

Missed some ag news this week? Here are seven ag stories to catch you up.

1. Commercial airline pilot and farmer Matt Runyan from Illinois was the first positive COVID-19 case in his county. The diagnosis generated press releases, news coverage and aggressive social media response. His family contacted the sheriff. -  Prairie Farmer

2. As farmers and ranchers worry about keeping their operations profitable, food banks are worried about getting meat, fresh food and other staples on their shelves as more people flock to food pantries as unemployment soars. – Boise State Public Radio

3. The Ag Economy Barometer fell 72 points from its record high two months ago to a three-year low of 96 in April, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. Coronavirus concerns, commodity price declines and supply-chain disruptions were cited as reasons for the decline. – Farm Futures

4. The Small Business Administration is applying new restrictions to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Starting May 4, the SBA will only accept applications from agricultural businesses. The maximum amount borrowed has been lowered to $150,000 from $2 million. – CNBC

5. Low domestic wheat prices are driving the lowest wheat acreage projections on record to be planted in 2020. U.S. wheat production could top 1.8 billion bushels if crop conditions hold through late spring. – Farm Futures

6. Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler removed herself from a Senate Agriculture Committee subcommittee this week. Loeffler came under fire in March for selling off millions of dollars in stocks after receiving a classified briefing on the coronavirus in January. She has defended herself by saying the stock sales were made by a third-party adviser. – Politico

7. Just how big a hit the Kansas wheat crop took from freezes the week of April 12 may not be fully known until harvest, but a look at several fields and a weather analysis done by Planalytics Inc. found fields with almost no damage and others with up to 70% of the main tiller heads killed. – Kansas Farmer

And your bonus.

There have been silver linings in the pandemic, particularly for smaller growers, said David Mas Masumoto, a third-generation California farmer and author. Smaller farmers can shift to fit consumer demand more easily, he said. – The New York Times

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