Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 10.22

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018


October 22, 2018

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

  • Schedule- The House and Senate are out of session and will not meet until after the midterm elections.
  • Department of Labor Statistics Show H-2A Jump– 2018 saw a major spike in H-2A temporary agricultural laborers, according to data recently released from the Department of Labor. This year, farms hired over 242,000 individuals, a 21 percent increase from 2017. The produce sector, namely berries, apples, melons, lettuce, and cherries, is named as the top hiring industry. Georgia has had the largest number of workers to date, followed by Florida, Washington, North Carolina, and California. The American Farm Bureau Federation shares more insights in this analysis.
  • Tariffs Impact 2018 Farm Income-  Continued uncertainty surrounding the Trump Administration’s trade disputes continues to weigh heavily on on the agricultural sector. The USDA’s Economic Research Service expects that farm income for 2018 will drop to $9.8 billion, down 13% from last year. Producers also face a rise in input costs and a storage shortage for newly harvested crops.
  • USTR to Pursue Trade Deals with EU, UK, Japan-Last week, USTR Lighthizer announced that the Trump Administration will begin negotiating trade agreements with Japan, the EU, and the UK. The announcement is part of a formal notification process under the Trade Promotion Authority legislation that requires an administration to publish their negotiating objectives 30 days before formal talks begin. The UK letter notes that negotiations will begin after their formal exit from the European Union, expected in March. Preparatory talks have already taken place in Brussels, Tokyo, and London. Read more from Politico here.

Nominations & Confirmations
Congress is out of session and will resume on November 13th.

The Week Ahead
Congress is out of session and will resume on November 13th.

MTA In Action

MTA Wins Thoth Award– Last week, the Michael Torrey Associates team was awarded with the Thoth Award of Excellence in Social Media Advocacy by the Public Relations Society of America. Through work with the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, the MTA team developed the #ProtectCropInsurance social media toolkits and focused on creating a positive drumbeat of support for the program and its impact on the ag economy. Sarah Hubbart and Kerry Lynch accepted the award on behalf of the firm.



A Quick Look Back

Pertinent Timing Ticker

  • 22 days since farm bill expiration (Sep. 30, 2018).
  • 15 days until midterm elections (Nov. 6, 2018).
  • 22 days until the Lame Duck session (Nov. 13, 2018).