Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 2.10

Monday, February 10th, 2020


February 10, 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

USDA Releases Third Tranche of MFP Payments– Last week, USDA released a third round of the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments to farmers. Amidst the US-China trade war in 2018, the Trump Administration created this program to assist farmers impacted by market losses. The Administration continued the program in 2019 and but has thus far not expressed an intention to continue the program in 2020. MFP has already paid out $11 billion to farmers, and this final round is expected to bring the total to $14.5 billion. USDA Secretary Purdue issued a statement in response to the announcement of these payments, saying, “While these [recent trade] agreements are welcome news, we must not forget that 2019 was a tough year for farmers as they were the tip of the spear when it came to unfair trade retaliation.”

Farm Income Expected to Fall in 2020– The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) delivered the first Farm Income Forecast of 2020, estimating that farm earnings will drop by $8.7 billion, or 9%, this year. The largest regional declines are projected to affect the Mississippi Delta and northern Great Plains, dropping by 17% and 16%, respectively. The gap is primarily attributed to the discontinuation of MFP payments, which bolstered farm incomes last year. ERS also predicts that most commodity growers will experience a decline in net cash income. Dairy and pork are the only commodities predicted to see an increase. Click here to see our summary of the data.

The Week Ahead

Monday, February 10
  • 1:30pm: The Hudson Institute and the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense will hold a discussion on “Containing the Coronavirus: Challenges to Thwarting the Outbreak.”
Tuesday, February 11
  • 10:00am: The House Appropriations Subcommittee Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on “Budget Hearing – USDA Office of the Inspector General.”
  • 10:00am: The House Agriculture Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Economic Opportunities from Local Agricultural Markets.”
Wednesday, February 12
  • 10:00am: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Animals in Disasters.”
  • 10:00am: The House Appropriations Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Budget Hearing: Farm Credit Administration.”
Thursday, February 13
  • 2:30pm: The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a briefing on “Coastal Resilience in the Great Lakes Region: Science, Policies and Programs Furthering Local Resilience Goals.”
Unless noted, all times are in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

MTA In Action

Last week, MTA staff attended the Foster our Future Annual Meeting, hosted by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). The meeting focused on the importance of advancement in agriculture research and technology. It featured leaders in the food and agriculture space, such as USDA Deputy Under Secretary Scott Hutchins, US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) Chairman Chip Bowling, former USDA Secretaries Tom Vilsack and Mike Johanns, Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and former Vice President Al Gore. At this year’s event, FFAR and USFRA announced an Agriculture-Climate Partnership “to unlock the climate-saving potential in farmlands.” The partnership aims to see every farmer and rancher employ “at least one climate-smart solution on every acre of farmland.” To read more about this partnership and its implications for agriculture, click here.

A Quick Look Back