Ag News: USDA Corn Plant Estimates and Flower Sales Plummet
**USDA estimates that U.S. growers will plant 97 million acres of corn this spring, an 8% increase over 2019, but analysts say recent sharp declines in ethanol production make it doubtful that number will hold true.
Analyst Garrett Toay of Ag Trader Talk, tells agweb.com, the surveys USDA used to make the estimate ended March 18th, just before the ethanol market collapsed amid an oil price spiral and sharply decreased fuel usage due to the coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions.
**The closure of most retail florists and postponement or cancellation of public events and weddings has caused flower sales to plummet.
Flower growers say they saw demand fall by 90% or more after stay-at-home protocols took force.
The California Cut Flower Commission says at least one large farm has closed permanently. Others have suspended operations or are trying to find new outlets for their blooms.
**USDA Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand announced they are opening a second application window for funding under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program.
Brand says due to COVID-19, access to distance learning and telemedicine makes it easier for thousands of rural residents to take advantage of health care and educational opportunities without having to travel long distances or be among large groups of people.
Electronic applications for “Window 2” may be submitted through grants.gov April 14th through July 13th.