Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 11.19

Monday, November 19th, 2018


November 19, 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 will be out this week for the holiday. We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
  • Farm Bill Inching Closer–  House Agriculture Chairman Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Peterson (D-MN) surprised some by presenting a joint farm bill offer to their Senate counterparts on Friday. Senate Ag Chairman Robert’s (R-KS) office called it “a good sign” and Peterson touted that conference committee House Democrats are “100 percent” in support of the proposal. Senate Ag Ranking Member Stabenow (D-MI) has been considering the farm bill proposal presented by the pair. “The House and Senate are continuing to exchange offers daily, bringing us closer and closer to a final deal. We’re reviewing the latest proposal and remain committed to reaching a practical bipartisan agreement as soon as possible,” her spokeswoman said.
  • FDA, USDA to Share Cell-Cultured Foods– In a joint statement on Friday, the FDA and USDA have concluded that the two agencies will jointly oversee the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry. FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. The USDA will take control during the cell harvest stage and regulate the production and labeling of the products. The agencies held a public meeting on October 23 and 24 that focused on agency oversight, stakeholder input, and standards of identity. The public comment period has been extended through December 26. FDA has also extended its comment period for labeling plant-based products that include names of dairy foods, such as “milk”, “yogurt”, and “cheese”.

Nominations & Confirmations

  • Michelle Bowman was confirmed to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
  • Senate Leadership has filed cloture on the nomination for Stephen Vaden to be General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture. The vote is expected to take place next week.

The Week Ahead
Congress is out of session and will resume the lame duck session on November 26.

MTA In Action

  • MTA Election Insights – The team at Michael Torrey Associates has crafted an in-depth analysis of last week’s midterm elections. In this thirty-minute recap, MTA Vice President of Federal Affairs Tara Smith shares key election dynamics, important outcomes, and noteworthy takeaways that effect the food and agriculture industry. Click here to view the video. Please contact the MTA staff if you have any questions.
  • Torrey Weighs in on Farm Bill– Michael Torrey shared insights on opportunities and challenges facing food and agriculture at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention. Representing Edge Dairy Cooperative, Torrey shared the factors impacting the dairy industry, such as low prices, the trade climate, and shortage of ag labor. The NAFB Convention brings together broadcast professionals, ag industry leaders and students focused on the agriculture industry to connect and learn more about what’s impacting US farmers and ranchers.

A Quick Look Back

Pertinent Timing Ticker

  • 50 days since farm bill expiration (Sep. 30, 2018).
  • 11 days until the USMCA Signing (Nov. 30, 2018).
  • 18 days until funding for USDA expires (Dec. 7, 2018).