**The USDA announced a 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits through September, providing an estimated $3.5 billion to households experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic.

The funding is made possible by the President’s American Rescue Plan.

The 15% increase in SNAP benefits will provide about $28 more per person, per month, or more than $100 more per month for a family of four.

**Animal protein has traditionally been viewed as the “star” of the plate but as conversations around environmental sustainability, animal welfare and nutritional concerns heat up, some suggest taking it off our plates altogether.

But, a panel of experts at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2021 Virtual Stakeholders Summit will discuss the realities of these issues and identify ways to reposition animal protein to maintain its spot on our tables.

The event, themed “Obstacles to Opportunities,” is May 5-6 with preconference webinars planned for the five business days prior, beginning April 28.

The pandemic has brought shifts in meat demand, as people stock their freezers.

Ranchers who sell whole animals directly to customers say a change in law could help fulfill that demand.

A bill in the California state Legislature would allow more ranchers to process small numbers of animals for direct sale.

The bill would expand that option to include sheep, goats and potentially swine.