Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 10.4

Monday, October 4th, 2021


October 4, 2021

  • Big Picture Outlook
  • The Week Ahead
  • A Quick Look Back
  • Contact the Team

Big Picture Outlook

Continuing Resolution to Prevent Government Shutdown – On Thursday afternoon, Congress passed a stopgap spending bill that prevented a government shutdown. The logjam was cleared when Democrats scrapped language to extend the looming debt limit — a provision that prompted Senate Republicans to block a previous version of the bill. This vote gives Congress a new deadline of December 3, 2021 to either work out a broader deal on new funding totals or yet another temporary patch. Separately, Treasury Secretary Yellen has warned of an October 18 timeframe for hitting the debt ceiling and the Administration is pushing to Congress to act to suspend the debt ceiling by then.

Stopgap Bill Will Help AgricultureThe stopgap funding bill will provide $10 billion to the USDA to cover the losses of crops, trees, bushes, and vines from natural disasters. It will also provide $28.6 billion to help communities recover from recent hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts. The bill directs $416 million to the Interior Department and $1.36 billion to the Forest Service for natural disaster expenses. The bill will also allow the Food and Nutrition Service to increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables in Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages. USDA will meet the demand for farm ownership loans and continue to provide loans that expand economic opportunities in rural areas.

Infrastructure Bill Vote DelayedThe $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill was set for a vote late Thursday evening and never received one. The House met early Friday morning to continue negotiations on the bill. A majority of progressives threatened to vote against the legislation without a deal on the larger Build Back Better reconciliation package. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) continue to object to the package’s high price tag. The Senators spent Thursday evening meeting with top White House officials but could not reach an agreement. Because of the lack of action on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, some of the surface transportation authorities lapsed on Friday and 3,700 employees faced furlough. However, over the weekend, Congress passed a short-term extension of those authorities through October 31. The new “deadline” for passing both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better reconciliation package bills is October 31.

Comprehensive Package of Investments Targets Urgent Challenges Facing Agriculture TodayLast Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a comprehensive set of investments to address challenges facing America’s agricultural producers. The USDA is preparing $3 billion in investments that will support drought resilience and response, animal disease prevention, market disruption relief, and purchase of food for school nutrition programs. The support will be made available via the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Secretary Vilsack also announced a new initiative to finance the deployment of climate-smart farming and forestry practices to aid in the marketing of climate-smart agricultural commodities. USDA will support a set of pilot projects that provide incentives to implement climate smart conservation practices on working lands and to quantify and monitor the carbon and greenhouse gas benefits associated with those practices.

The Week Ahead 

 Wednesday, October 6

  • 2:30 PM EST: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources holds a meeting for hearings to examine the status and management of drought in the western United States

Thursday, October 7

  • 12:00 PM EST: House Agriculture Committee holds a hearing to review the state of the livestock industry


To see a full list of House and Senate Committee business, visit here.

A Quick Look Back 

“New USDA initiative to help farmers address climate change” Farm Progress

“U.S. trade chief Tai to unveil Biden’s China trade strategy on Monday” Reuters

“Global Corn Production Higher, but Farmers Face Ida-Related Input Supply Disruptions- Increased Fertilizer Costs” Farm Policy News

“North Dakota, South Dakota Delegations Urge USDA to Improve Sunflower Crop Insurance” KFGO

“USDA to survey Row Crops County Acreage and Production” Stuttgart Daily Leader

“Fourth stimulus check coming for some essential workers” Fox 43

“House Ag subcommittee hears from Forest Service chief” The Fence Post

“Daigneault testifies in hybrid Congressional hearing on sustainable forestry and climate solutions” The University of Maine

“Senate confirms Biden’s pick for Bureau of Land Management” NPR

“SNAP benefits are rising for millions of Americans, thanks to a long-overdue ‘Thrifty Food Plan’ update” NBC 12

“Iowa politicians united in opposition to biofuel mandate cuts” Iowa Capital Dispatch

Contact the Team 

Feel free to contact Michael TorreyTara SmithDanielle NelsonCassandra KuballJames GlueckBarbara PattersonTrey ForsythPerry Harlow, or Brandon Barnett with any questions or comments.