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Schools scramble to fill hunger gaps as pandemic student lunch funding expires

Now that President Joe Biden has signed into law the Keep Kids Fed Act, adjusting how students can get their meals, school across the nation are struggling to fill the gaps as federal support for universal free meals soon ends.... Read more»

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Congress, White House scramble to ease baby formula shortage

Both the Biden administration and Congress moved Wednesday to try to relieve a national infant formula shortage, as the White House invoked the Defense Production Act and the U.S. House approved $28 million for the Food and Drug Administration. ... Read more»

Deadly bird flu sweeps states, straining farmers

Consumers will see higher egg and poultry prices - and farmers and their rural communities will face financial hardship - due to a highly contagious strain of bird flu that has spread rapidly across the U.S., killing millions of chickens, turkeys and wild birds.... Read more»

Rural healthcare orgs in Arizona awarded $5.1M in USDA grants

A dozen healthcare organizations in Arizona will share over $5.1 million in federal grants as part the American Rescue Plan Act, passed last year under the Biden administration.... Read more»

Senate OKs bill to establish Chiricahua National Park, measure still awaits House action

Chiricahua National Monument is closer to becoming a national park, a more prestigious designation that could bring jobs and tourists to Southeastern Arizona, after the Senate approved a measure without dissent.... Read more»

Vets & Gold Star familes get free access to nat'l parks with new law named after late Grijalva staffer

The Alexander Lofgren Veterans in the Parks Act was named after Alexander Lofgren, an Afghanistan veteran who was working for U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva when he died in a hiking accident, and became law on Monday after President Joe Biden signed it into law with the National Defense Authorization Act. ... Read more»

Protect yourself from salmonella this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and I regret to inform you that there’s a multidrug-resistant salmonella outbreak running rampant in the nation’s poultry industry.... Read more»

Biden blocks energy leases in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon as Tribal Nations Summit meets

President Joe Biden on Monday said the administration will move to prevent oil and gas development for two decades near Chaco Canyon, an area in northwestern New Mexico that’s culturally significant to the area’s Native American communities and important for biodiversity.... Read more»

Democratic State Rep. Fernandez resigns to take USDA post

Democratic State Representative Charlene Fernandez is resigning to take a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ending seven years as a representative for Yuma and parts of Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties. ... Read more»

America’s food safety system failed to stop a salmonella epidemic. It’s still making people sick.

For years, a dangerous salmonella strain has sickened thousands and continues to spread through the chicken industry. The USDA knows about it. So do the companies. And yet, contaminated meat continues to be sold to consumers. ... Read more»

Arizona Black farmers fight against long-standing federal discrimination

James and Rachael Stewart have seen their ranch grow tremendously since starting it from scratch in October 2020 as Arizona’s first Black-owned protein ranch, but the biggest struggle for Southwest Black Ranchers is access to money - their ranch doesn’t qualify for any assistance in its first three years.... Read more»

Chickasaw woman gets USDA post, one in a string of Indigenous nominees

For the first time in history, an Indigenous woman is overseeing U.S. agriculture law – but Janie Simms Hipp is just the latest in a number of Native Americans nominated to top posts in the Biden administration. ... Read more»

Analysis

The U.S. is taking a bite out of its food insecurity – here’s one way to scrap the problem altogether

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to permanently increase the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits by 25%, but to solve America's food insecurity problem, SNAP should be reconfigured as a universal basic income program.... Read more»

USDA chief calls for overhaul of forest management in western states

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the federal government needs to do a better job of forest management after viewing damage from the million-acre August Complex fire - a rare admission in an era where climate change receives the brunt of the blame for the spate of wildfires. ... Read more»

White House says executive order coming on labeling beef as a 'Product of USA'

The White House will unveil an executive order in the coming days that directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to clarify that meat can only receive a “Product of USA” label if that livestock is raised in the U.S. rather than abroad.... Read more»

Drought intensifies and expands in the American West

The scale of the drought is beginning to crystallize as new information shows certain states experienced their driest winter ever while the American West is plunged steeper into a historic drought that covers much of the region. ... Read more»

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