Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 3.18
WEEKLY FOOD & AGRICULTURE UPDATE
March 18, 2019
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
- Ag Leaders Respond to President’s Budget – Last week, the President submitted his proposed FY 2020 Budget to Congress. The proposal cuts funding to USDA by $3.6 billion, or 15 percent and suggests a 12 percent funding decrease for the Department for Health and Human Services, which houses the FDA. Various Congressional ag leaders weighed in on the proposal. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Peterson (D-MN) shared in a statement that the “proposal tells us one of two things: either the White House doesn’t understand why these programs are important, or they don’t care.” Peterson’s counterpart, Ranking Member Conaway (R-TX), delivered overall support for the budget, but voiced a caveat for ag saying, “when the chips are down we must keep our promise to farmers and ranchers and rural America made under the five-year farm bill, and I fully expect the President to be onboard.” “Just months after the President signed the historic bipartisan Farm Bill into law, his budget proposal rolls back much of this critical support for agriculture and rural America,” explained Senate Ag Ranking Member Senator Stabenow(D-MI). Senate Ag Chairman Roberts (R-KS) shared his disapproval of the proposed cuts to the farm safety net during a Senate Finance Committee Meeting. “We are not cutting crop insurance. They say it’s reform, it’s not. It would gut the program and that’s the one thing that farmers, ranchers, and growers all over the country said was the number one issue,” Roberts asserted. Secretary Sonny Perdue released a statement defending the plan, “The time to act is now and USDA will actively do its part in reducing federal spending.” He continued, “at the same time, we will maintain a safety net for farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, and people who need assistance in feeding their families.”
- US-China Trade Negotiations Update- Last week, two top members of the Trump Administration indicated a US-China trade deal may materialize soon. “I think we’re headed toward a remarkable historic deal,” White House National Economic Council Larry Kudlow said in an interview on Friday. He reported that the deal includes China reducing subsidies to state-owned firms and a promise to “de-emphasize” its Made in China 2025 plan which aims to dominate the technology sector. At a Senate Finance Committee Hearing, USTR Lighthizer told the panel that the two countries are in the “final weeks” of negotiations. He cautioned there are still major issues to be worked out, but would not elaborate on them in a public forum. He assured the Committee, “if those issues are not resolved in favor of the United States, we won’t have a deal.” Earlier this month, the White House announced they would indefinitely postpone a tariff increase, which was originally scheduled for March 2.
Nominations & Confirmations
The Week Ahead
- Agri-Pulse hosts its 2019 Ag & Food Policy Summit at the National Press Club. The theme this year is Shaping Farm and Food Policy Strategies for 2040.
- USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service will host a Farm Bill Listening Session to hear from stakeholders on programs under the Trade Title of the 2018 Farm Bill. The agenda will focus on two areas: the Food Assistance and Fellowship and Exchange Programs and Export Market Development.
MTA In Action
A Quick Look Back
- U.S. Farm Belt Slammed by Floods, Heavy Snow from Bomb Cyclone
- Trump Advances Changes to Unleash Ethanol Sales in Gasoline
- Bipartisan Bill Exempting Ag Haulers from ELD Regulation Reintroduced
- Lawmakers Say No to Potential EU-U.S. Trade Agreement Without Agriculture
- Secretary Perdue Announces Middle List For ERS and NIFA Relocation
- New York Public Schools to Have ‘Meatless Mondays’ Starting this Fall
- USDA Announces Launch of the Start Simple with MyPlate Campaign
Pertinent Timing Ticker
- 15 days remaining to comment on USDA’s Proposed Rule on SNAP Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (April 2, 2019).