Bloomberg: Getting Covid Gets You Fired When You’re a Food Worker on a Visa

Bloomberg: Getting Covid Gets You Fired When You’re a Food Worker on a Visa. “As coronavirus cases explode at U.S. farms and food factories, the foreign migrants who pick fruit, clean seafood and sort vegetables are getting trapped in tightly packed bunkhouses where illness spreads like wildfire. Often, they can’t leave — unless they’re willing to risk deportation.”

A farmer, ‘little ghosts’ and 18,000 tobacco plants: How COVID-19 upended farming in South Korea (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times: A farmer, ‘little ghosts’ and 18,000 tobacco plants: How COVID-19 upended farming in South Korea. “He was in his third hour of picking tobacco, beginning shortly after dawn at the foot of a mountain in a sleepy South Korean town. Weaving between rows lining the gentle slope, he stooped to snap off the ripe, yellow-tinged leaves from plants as tall as he. Nearby, Park Jong-bum took a break from heaving bales of tobacco onto a truck bed. He lit a cigarette beneath a cloudy sky. He had quit smoking last year, but the stresses of running a farm had hooked him again. Park and Phonsrikaew were on the second chapters of their lives: Phonsrikaew a 52-year-old Thai army captain-turned-migrant farmworker, and Park, 49, a South Korean businessman who returned to his native farming village after two decades of city life.”

United Farm Workers: After a death and quarter of work force infected by COVID-19, Primex letting go workers who complained & turned to UFW

United Farm Workers: After a death and quarter of work force infected by COVID-19, Primex letting go workers who complained & turned to UFW. “With one Primex Farms LLC worker dead from the novel coronavirus and a quarter of its workforce now infected, the large Wasco, Calif. pistachio and almond processing firm announced it is letting go many of the workers who complained about the failure to properly protect them and turned for help to the United Farm Workers, according to Primex employees who were informed on Thursday. The UFW is filing unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging illegal retaliation for union and concerted activities.”

Roanoke Times: Farmers cultivate new business models as the pandemic forces them to adapt

Roanoke Times: Farmers cultivate new business models as the pandemic forces them to adapt. “Agriculture is one of countless industries that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many farmers who can sell directly to consumers are weathering the pandemic well, though it often required a significant reworking of their business model. But others, like beef cattle and dairy farmers, have struggled because of issues on the processing side.”

AI goes underground: root crop growth predicted with drone imagery (Phys .org)

Phys .org: AI goes underground: root crop growth predicted with drone imagery. “Using drone images, the Pheno-i platform can now merge data from thousands of high-resolution images, analyzing them through machine learning to produce a spreadsheet. This shows scientists exactly how plants are responding to stimuli in the field in real-time.”

BBC: Nigeria police rescue 300 workers ‘locked in rice factory’

BBC: Nigeria police rescue 300 workers ‘locked in rice factory’. “Police in Nigeria have rescued 300 people they say were locked in a rice-processing factory and forced to work throughout a coronavirus lockdown. From the end of March the men were allegedly not allowed to leave the mill in the northern city of Kano.”

New York Times: As Meat Plants Stayed Open to Feed Americans, Exports to China Surged

New York Times: As Meat Plants Stayed Open to Feed Americans, Exports to China Surged. “Smithfield Foods was the first company to warn in April that the coronavirus pandemic was pushing the United States ‘perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply.’ Tyson Foods also sounded the alarm, saying that ‘millions of pounds of meat will disappear’ from the nation’s supply chain as plants were being forced to close because of outbreaks. That same month, Smithfield sent China 9,170 tons of pork, one of its highest monthly export totals to that market in the past three years. Tyson exported 1,289 tons of pork to China, the most since January 2017.”

Huffpost: Guest Workers Describe Coronavirus Nightmare On Louisiana Crawfish Farm

Huffpost: Guest Workers Describe Coronavirus Nightmare On Louisiana Crawfish Farm. “Two guest workers from Mexico say they were stricken with COVID-19 as they processed crawfish in a crowded Louisiana plant ― and that their bosses forbid them from going to the hospital and threatened to report them to immigration authorities when they finally did. Ultimately, they got fired.”

‘There Is No Work Here’: Migrants, Some Sick, Move North (New York Times)

New York Times: ‘There Is No Work Here’: Migrants, Some Sick, Move North. “Florida’s agricultural communities have become cradles of infection, fueling a worrying new spike in the state’s daily toll in new infections, which has hit new records in recent days. The implications go far beyond Florida: Case numbers in places like Immokalee are swelling just as many farmworkers are migrating up the Eastern Seaboard for the summer harvest.”

Phys .org: Free online tool will enable farmers to deliver environmental benefits

Phys .org: Free online tool will enable farmers to deliver environmental benefits. “The new Environmental Planner tool (E-Planner) has been produced by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) to help farmers make decisions on which agri-environment options to introduce and where these are likely to work best. It uses detailed environmental data at a resolution of just five meters on all two million-plus fields across Great Britain. The tool analyzes satellite and aerial imagery plus other national-scale datasets to assess the suitability of unproductive or hard-to-farm areas of land for four agri-environment interventions.” “Agri-environment” was a new one on me, but this site helped me out.

University of California: How has coronavirus pandemic impacted California food, agriculture and environment?

University of California: How has coronavirus pandemic impacted California food, agriculture and environment?. “COVID-19 continues to affect parts of California agriculture in different ways. A new report from agricultural economists at the University of California examines the current and long-term impacts on California’s leading agricultural industries.”

Public News Service: Consumers Can Go Online to Find Missouri Meats

Public News Service: Consumers Can Go Online to Find Missouri Meats. “There’s a new tool to help both Missouri consumers and farmers affected by recent meat shortages. The Missouri Farm Bureau has launched a new database of farmers who sell their meat products directly to consumers.”

USDA: USDA Now Accepting Applications for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

USDA: USDA Now Accepting Applications for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. “You can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which provides direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. We now have the application form and a payment calculator available on farmers.gov/cfap. And we have a call center (877-508-8364) set up to help you with your questions.”

USDA: Another Look at Availability and Prices of Food Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

USDA Blog: Another Look at Availability and Prices of Food Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. “Last month I discussed the impact of COVID-19 on availability and prices of food based on data and information we had available at the time. Since then, USDA released its first assessment of U.S. and world crop supply and demand prospects and U.S. prices for 2020/21, and more data on market prices, production, and trade flows during the crisis became available. Of particular note, temporary closures of some meat packing plants have affected meat supply and prices seen by consumers and farmers. Hence, I want to take another look at food availability and prices in light of the new data and information we have and share with you some insights on market conditions.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Farm Bureau helps deliver 500 live sheep, 16,000 pounds of lamb to the Navajo Nation

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Farm Bureau helps deliver 500 live sheep, 16,000 pounds of lamb to the Navajo Nation. “Looking at the twin problems of food insecurity caused by the economic crises and a drop in market demand for food products, a coalition of groups including the Utah Farm Bureau formed Farmers Feeding Utah, a new effort designed to address both issues at once. In less than three weeks, the initiative raised enough money, mostly from grassroots donors, to pursue its first project: purchasing 16,000 pounds of lamb and 500 live sheep from Utah ranchers and donating them to families on the Navajo Nation.”