USDA to offer free school lunches through the end of the year

Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 7:08 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The nation’s corn outlook is lower production, reduced uses in feed, ethanol and residuals, and smaller ending stocks. Those numbers were part of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report issued Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report forecast corn production at 14.7 billion bushels, a 1708 million reduction from previous reports, with a slight yield decline to 178.4 bushels an acre. The corn ending stocks were lowered to 336 million bushels. Soybean production is forecast at 4.3 billion bushels, down 45 million bushels, because of lower-than-previously estimated harvest areas. The year’s soybean supplies are estimated at 4.8 billion bushels from the previous report, with ending stocks down 170 million bushels to 290 million bushels.

U.S Department of Agriculture officials announced Friday that free school lunches will continue to be offered through the end of this school year. Agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said schools and other local childhood food programs will be able to continue using the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option to provide no-cost meals through the end of June to children at about 90,000 sites across the country. The program originally had been set to end at the end of December, but Perdue said the continued relief is needed because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The access to broadband in some of our rural areas could improve as the result of a $3 million federal grant. Ntera LLC said it will use the $3 million grant to provide high-speed broadband Internet in some rural areas of Chippewa, Rusk and Taylor counties via new a new fiber-to-premises network. The project could provide improved Internet access for 2,044 on 33 farms and 33 businesses, according to USDA information. The grant is part of $550 million allocated by Congress for the second round of the federal ReConnect Program.

The application period will open tomorrow for 2021 enrollment in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Program. The sign-up period will run through Dec. 11 at county Farm Service Agency offices. The risk-management program was updated in the 2018 Farm Bill; it provides protections for dairy farmers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price falls below a dollar amount selected by the farmer.

A mink in Taylor County has been confirmed to have had the coronavirus strain that causes coronavirus in humans. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed that the mink found dead on the mink farm in Taylor County tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and is the first such infection confirmed in Wisconsin’s mink population. The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory had provided a preliminary positive test on the animal. The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has ordered a quarantine on all animals at the farm; no animals may be delivered to or leave the premises.

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