Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and President Trump at the White House on April 17. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to spend $16 billion on direct payments to farmers, ranchers and producers "who experience unprecedented losses" during the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary Sonny Perdue said at Friday's White House press briefing.

What's happening: There's been an upsurge in demand for food banks across the country in the face of mass unemployment and school closures. Meanwhile, U.S. farmers and food companies have decreased production in response to dwindling demand, as restaurants and businesses close.

Details: The USDA also plans to purchase $3 billion worth of fresh produce, dairy and meat products to distribute to "Americans in need, food banks networks, as well as other community and faith-based organizations," Purdue noted on Friday.

What's next: "Based on industry estimates of damage, Mr. President, it is becoming apparent that we'll need the additional CCC funds as we continue to track the economic losses," Perdue said on Friday, after President Trump mentioned the agency would receive $14 billion in July.

Go deeper: How the coronavirus is disrupting the global food supply

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Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 20,388,408 — Total deaths: 743,599— Total recoveries: 12,616,973Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 5,150,590 — Total deaths: 164,681 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits — U.S. producer prices rose last month by the most since October 2018.
  4. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.

Trump congratulates QAnon conspiracy theorist on GOP runoff win

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday tweeted congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist who won the Republican nomination in Georgia's deep-red 14th Congressional District runoff.

Why it matters: The president's approval illustrates how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within the GOP. Greene is among the at least 11 GOP candidates for Congress who have openly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets, per Axios' Jacob Knutson.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

What Kamala Harris means for Biden's climate change plans

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joshua Lott/Stringer.

Sen. Kamala Harris' VP selection could heighten the ticket's focus on environmental justice while prompting fresh Trump campaign political attacks on Democrats' energy plans.

Why it matters: Her introduction comes in an election year that has seen more emphasis on climate change than prior cycles. One effect of the movement ignited by the police killing of George Floyd is a new focus on environmental burdens that poor people and communities of color face.