Ag News: Cal Cherries Get Rained On and New USDA Authority
**Cherry growers in the northern San Joaquin Valley say they avoided severe losses from mid-May rainstorms that threatened the ripening fruit.
The San Joaquin County agricultural commissioner estimates rains may have damaged up to 15% of the crop, but says most cherries came through the rain OK.
Farmers were working to harvest as much of the fruit as possible before last week's 100-degree days set it.
**The USDA now has the authority, under the Defense Production Act, to help prevent supply interruptions at FDA-regulated food facilities, including farms, packinghouses and fresh-cut processing facilities.
According to thepacker.com, USDA could force produce facilities to stay open even if state or local officials want plants to close because of a spike COVID cases.
This authority comes from a USDA-FDA-signed memorandum of understanding following an executive order aimed at keeping meat processing plants open.
**The Phase One trade agreement calls for China to buy huge quantities of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood exports.
Agriculture.com reports, sales of soybeans, cotton, pork, corn, sorghum, and wheat are stronger than a year ago, but an Iowa think tank predicts China will buy only half of the amount needed to satisfy the agreement.
The federal government sent $23 billion to farmers and ranchers to mitigate the impact of trade war on 2018 and 2019 production.