California Wildfire Prevention and USDA Emergency Benefits
** Some work to prevent California wildfires has been scaled back due to the pandemic, but government agencies say they're maintaining other efforts to reduce fuel loads in the state's forests. The U.S. Forest Service suspended controlled burns, but CalFire says all its fuel-reduction methods remain available. The California Farm Bureau says timber operations, grazing, mechanical brush clearing and other tools can all reduce wildfire threat.
**Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced emergency benefit increases have reached $2-billion per month for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program households to increase food security during the coronavirus pandemic.
These emergency benefits represent a 40% increase in monthly SNAP benefits.
Perdue says currently, a household of five with no income can receive the maximum benefit of $768, but due to reportable income and other factors, that average household receives just $528.
These emergency benefits would provide an additional $240 monthly in food purchasing power.
**From fresh produce being plowed under to unharvested crops sitting untouched in fields, fruit and vegetable growers are the latest ag sector facing fallout from COVID-19.
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association’s Lisa Lochridge tells thepacker.com the losses due to the shutdown of food services and now the slowdown in retail have just been swift, staggering and devastating.
She says it’s now so dire that some are forced to destroy their crops in the field.