Ag News: Restaurants Rebounding and Specialty Crop Block Program
**The restaurant industry appears to be on the rebound with more restaurants reporting a surge in demand.
Restaurant Business Online reports pent-up demand comments are coming from the executives of casual-dining chains with more of those restaurants banking on the added demand to drive strong growth this year.
According to www.agweb.com, the National Restaurant Association says in the past year, food businesses across the country reported $240 billion in losses, with more than 110-thousand restaurants shutting down for good.
**The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has announced $169.9 million in funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
www.thepacker.com reports, the funds will support the expanding specialty crop food sector and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products.
Congress provided this funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2021, due to COVID-19 impacts to the food system.
**As grapevines along California’s North Coast begin pushing out new growth, farmers face the prospects of preparing for drought while trying to recover from wildfires.
Farmers say they may have to reduce crops on some vines due to lack of rainfall, which one Napa County grower says would be a “bitter pill” after losing grapes to smoke exposure last year.
Preseason work by farmers includes creating buffer zones to reduce the chance of wildfire spreading into vineyards.