Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 1.27

Monday, January 27th, 2020


January 27, 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

Trade Update– After two years of negotiations, President Trump officially signed a “Phase One” trade agreement with China on January 15th. On the 16th, the Senate gave bipartisan approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, sending it to the President’s desk. President Trump is scheduled to hold a signing ceremony this Wednesday, January 29th. Both trade deals come at an opportune time for agricultural producers, following another year of a down farm economy. Now, the White House has indicated interest in negotiating with the UK, EU and India for the next international trade deals.

Administration Rolls Out New WOTUS– The White House formally replaced the “Waters of the US” rule from the Obama administration with the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” on January 23rd. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) applauded the announcement, “The original ‘WOTUS’ rule was nothing but a severe regulatory over reach.” Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), who serves as ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, opposed the move, stating, “[This revised rule] breaks the law and ignores the basic science that tells us our waterways are critically interconnected.” Several farm groups shared support for the new rule, including National Association of Wheat GrowersNational Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association, among others.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, January 28
  • The House Agriculture Committee will review “Implementation of Farm Bill Conservation Programs.”
  • The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “Building Infrastructure in America: Overview of the Build America Bureau and the Transportation Department Rural Transportation Initiatives.”
  • The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will convene to hear “Out of Control: The Impact of Wildfires on Our Power Sector and the Environment.”
Wednesday, January 29
  • The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing entitled, “Stakeholder Perspectives on the Importance of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.”
  • The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will meet to discuss, “Improving Safety and Transparency in America’s Food and Drugs.”
  • The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research will discuss “The Future of US Farm Programs: Evaluating the 2020 Presidential Candidates’ Agriculture Policy and Rural Development Platforms.”

MTA In Action

Last week, Michael Torrey spoke to dairy farmers and industry stakeholders at Dairy Strong in Madison, Wisconsin. Dairy Strong provides a space for Dairy Business Association, Edge, Dairy Farmer Cooperative members and other dairy stakeholders to come together and reflect on the upcoming year for the industry. Kerry Lynch also attended the conference, informing farmers about the latest updates regarding trade, immigration, and Farm Bill implementation.

MTA’s Michael Torrey presenting at Dairy Strong 2020 in Madison, WI.

MTA’s Tara Smith was a featured contributor in the January edition of Illinois Soybean Association’s Soy Perspectives. In her article, “What Have We Learned From This No Good, Very Bad Year?” Smith reviewed challenges from the 2019 crop year and unanswered questions for the future of farm policy. Tara Smith offered, “There isn’t much that can be done at this point to make the 2019 crop year any better, but there are a lot of avenues (…) to make the safety net better for next time. Because there’s always a next time.” Click here to read the article.

A Quick Look Back