Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 10.29

Monday, October 29th, 2018


October 29, 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.
  • USDA, FDA Cell-Cultured Meat–  USDA and FDA held a two day summit last week to address emerging cell-cultured meat technology. During the opening of the joint-agency event, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb vowed to collaborate to create a dual-agency regulatory framework that could be finalized as soon as next year. Day one included several hours of public comments and presentations from consumer advocates, food researchers, industry groups, and startups. Day two centered around labeling and identity standards for the new product. Traditional meat groups spoke out against use of the term “meat”, while cell-based startups said that it would be “simply dishonest” to label it anything else. There were no formal announcements or immediate decisions made by USDA or FDA after the event.
  • Mexico: USMCA on Pause Until Tariffs are Resolved-Mexico’s deputy commerce minister, Juan Carlos Baker Pineda has said that Mexico will not sign the new USMCA until the United States removes it’s steel and aluminum tariffs. “We believe we need to solve that issue before the signing takes place,” he said, “We need to get these tariffs lifted. That’s objective No. 1.” The US imposed tariffs on Mexico and Canada back in March, with a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.
  • 136 Entities Vie for New ERS and NIFA Location–  Over 130 entities from 35 states wrote USDA with interest in becoming the new home for the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Secretary Perdue’s proposal to move the two agencies out of Washington DC in August has been met with mixed responses. The location will be chosen in January, with the relocation taking place in the summer of 2019.

Nominations & Confirmations

Aurelia Skipwith was nominated to be Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Nannette Christ was named Director of the Office of Investigations at the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC provides independent analysis and information on tariffs, trade, and competitiveness to the President and Congress.

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

A Quick Look Back


Pertinent Timing Ticker

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