The Department of Agriculture will require all federal employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by November 22, except those who are “legally entitled to a reasonable or religious accommodation,” according to a workplace safety plan outlining the department's pandemic response.
A broad array of contract livestock and poultry producers will be eligible for coronavirus relief and payment rules for specialty crop growers are being liberalized under rules changes made by the Agriculture Department.
The federal agencies responsible for inspecting agricultural imports at national ports of entry lack sufficient staff and training, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have failed to document progress on their own strategic plan. These are among the findings of a Government Accountability Office report on imported agriculture inspections, released Tuesday.
USDA announced Wednesday plans to spend at least $6 billion on new pandemic aid programs that reach a broader swath of producers than previous efforts, while putting “a greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers, specialty crop and organic producers (and) timber harvesters.”
In the early days and weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand at the nation’s food banks swelled. It’s gone down and up over the year, and in many places remains higher today than the baseline before the pandemic.