**With cherry harvest beginning in the San Joaquin Valley, marketers say they expect a large crop of high quality, and that workers will be protected against the pandemic.

The California Cherry Board says farmers and packers have worked to vaccinate their employees, and safeguards started last season remain in place.

The California cherry harvest will continue through mid-June.

**The USDA awarded more than $15 million to fund grant proposals to develop and expand the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood energy markets and protect community forests.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement while visiting prescribed fire and wildfire recovery areas adjacent to the Roosevelt National Forest Northern Colorado Front Range landscape.

The funding will support 60 projects that cover a diverse range of activities from the development of affordable housing to expanding markets for mass timber, biochar, wood energy and other emerging wood products.

**A nearly 20% decline in spending on eating out occasions contributed to a 5% decline in food spending in 2020.

In a report on food expenditures, according to www.thepacker.com, the USDA says 2020 U.S. spending on food totaled about $1.56 trillion, 5.3% lower than 2019.

Last year was only the second time annual total food expenditures decreased over the last 25 years. The last time was during the 2009 recession.

www.thepacker.com/news/retail/covid-19-pandemic-drags-down-total-spending-food-2020-usda-reports?mkt