Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 3.9

Monday, March 9th, 2020

WEEKLY FOOD & AGRICULTURE UPDATE

March 9, 2020

A quick look at what’s happening in Washington, D.C. that’s impacting food and agriculture. If you would like to subscribe to the receive the updates right to your inbox, please contact Marissa Dake


Big Picture Outlook

House Ag Hosts Secretary Perdue– Last week, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to discuss The State of the Rural Economy with Secretary Sonny Perdue as the sole witness. Members thanked Secretary Perdue for the work USDA has done to protect the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers. Members also expressed concerns over trade, food assistance, and Farm Bill programs. Several Committee members raised questions about a potential third round of MFP payments. Secretary Perdue said he is doubtful that USDA will send a third round of payments, especially once various trade agreements move into force. Democratic members criticized the proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), specifically eligibility for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) and the Harvest Box proposal. Conversely, Republican members appreciated these changes and said it encourages a productive economy. Despite the debate regarding SNAP, Committee members agreed on importance of advancements in biotechnology and biosecurity efforts. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) mentioned need to fund the AgARDA program and Reps. Marshall (R-KS) and Hagedorn (R-MN) brought up the new NBAF facility in Kansas. Click here to read our coverage of the hearing.

Trade Update– As progress with trade agreements continues, find below a short summary on the myriad countries engaged in negotiations with the US:

United Kingdom– Just over a month removed from Brexit, the United Kingdom spent little time waiting to engage with the US on a potential trade agreement. However, the issue of agriculture and food standards may stall these negotiations as the UK remains firm about maintaining “high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.” NASDA’s CEO, Barb Glenn, responded to the UK’s trade objectives report by saying, “American farmers and ranchers produce safe, high-quality products that are enjoyed by consumers around the world – and we are doing it with less resources than ever before.”

India– A highly anticipated trade agreement with India failed to materialize after President Trump visited the south Asian country in late February. After a day of bilateral meetings, Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to continue negotiations. President Trump says these talks might result in an agreement later this year.

China– The US-China Phase One trade agreement entered into force on February 14. Shortly after, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the partial agreement and received feedback from different industry stakeholders about the impact of the pact. Two farmers participated on the witness panel, each with a very different response regarding the pledged amount of agricultural purchases from China. The outbreak of COVID-19 has stalled the promised agricultural purchases. Despite this, USTR Lighthizer and USDA Secretary Purdue continue to pressure China to follow through on their purchase commitments.

USMCA– Canada’s legislature has yet to ratify USMCA, placing a hold on the implementation process. According to Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, the country will approve the agreement “very soon“. Bibeau shared the country’s commitment to the pact at the recent USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum.

Kenya– The Trump Administration also announced that Kenya will be accepting US wheat from all states. This is seen as a positive step towards a new bilateral free trade agreement with the African country.


The Week Ahead

Tuesday, March 10
  • 9:00am: The Farm Foundation will host a forum on “Consumer Attitudes about Gene Editing.”
  • 9:30am: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will host a meeting for Members Day.
  • 9:30am: The House Committee on Agriculture will conduct a business meeting.
  • 10:00am: The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture will hold a hearing on “US Agricultural Trade: Stakeholder Perspectives.”
  • 10:00am: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on “Department of Agriculture Budget Request for FY2021.”
Wednesday, March 11
  • 11:00am: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on “Food and Drug Administration Budget Request for FY2021.”
Thursday, March 12
  • 9:00am: Day one of the fifth meeting for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The meeting will include presentations by each subcommittee, deliberation by the full Committee, and plans to finalize its work.
  • 10:00am: The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on “Agriculture Innovation and the Federal Biotechnology Regulatory Framework.”
  • 10:30am: The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on “Department of Agriculture Budget Request for FY2021.”
Friday, March 13
  • 9:00am: Day two of the fifth meeting for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The meeting will include presentations by each subcommittee, deliberation by the full Committee, and plans to finalize its work.
Unless noted, all times are in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

MTA In Action

MTA’s Marissa Dake was recognized by the Washburn University Leadership Institute at their annual Leadership Challenge Event (LCE) last week. Dake, along with seven other alumni fellows, was recognized for her leadership and contributions to the university and the Leadership Institute. Dake served as a Fellow over the event in 2015, the first and only student to hold the position as a sophomore.

The LCE is executed by a team of Washburn University students and simulates the real-world process of leadership through a live, interactive simulation competition. High school and college teams address a variety of challenges around a theme such as a natural disaster or a disease outbreak.


A Quick Look Back