**Information updated by USDA’s Economic Research Service shows in 2020, U.S. farms sold almost $10.7 billion of food commodities directly to consumer outlets and supply chains.

The figure is nearly $2.8 billion, or 35% more than sold in 2019.

From 2019 to 2020, sales at farmers markets, restaurants and grocery stores increased by 11 to 13%, whereas sales at farm stores, community-supported ag, and other direct-to-consumer channels increased by 79%.

**America’s beef exports remained on a red-hot pace in June, topping $1 billion for the fifth time this year.

Data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows June’s beef exports reached 130,600 metric tons, down slightly from the record volume posted in May but up 16% year-over-year and the fourth-largest on record.

June’s export value was $1.05 billion, also down slightly from the May record but 31% higher than last year.

**Over 50% of the U.S. was in at least some level of drought for the fourth-straight week.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says the combination of extreme heat and low rainfall is pulling moisture from plants and the soil.

The Western U.S. and, especially, California remains in a drought that’s lasted several years.

While drought is a worry in the Northeast, Midwest, and South, extreme rainfall events are still of concern in some regions.

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