Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 2.25

Monday, February 25th, 2019


February 25, 2019

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

  • Trade Negotiations Underway on Several Fronts – President Trump tweeted yesterday that he will delay the scheduled increase in Chinese tariffs that were scheduled to begin on Friday. He announced that the US is making “substantial progress” in negotiations, and included agriculture as one of the issues being negotiated. It is unclear how long the deadline will be extended. The country has reportedly agreed to buy another 10 million metric tons of US soybeans, a similar move to the purchase agreement made in December. On Wednesday, USTR Robert Lighthizer will be on Capitol Hill, testifying on the China negotiations before the House Ways and Means Committee. Meanwhile, last week, Canada’s Minister of Transportation and Ambassador to the US said that the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs may block or delay passage of the new USMCA in their parliamentary elections. White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow has since shared that he is working to remove the tariffs.
  • USDA to Hold Farm Bill Implementation Listening Session- Three USDA agencies will hold a joint Farm Bill Implementation Listening Session on Tuesday, February 26. The agency is seeking stakeholders to provide input on the new programs and changes from the 2018 bill. The hearing is hosted by the Risk Management Agency, the Farm Service Agency, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. The listening session will start at 9am EST and will be streamed live on www.farmers.gov/farmbill. Written comments may be submitted through March 1.

Nominations & Confirmations

The Senate approved William Barr to be Attorney General. He is the replacement for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
President Trump nominated Rodney Brown to be a Member of the Farm Credit Administration Board.
Anne Hazlett, who formerly served as USDA’s Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, has transitioned to be Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs at the White House. Hazlett’s former post will open as the Under Secretary for Rural Development, and will require Senate confirmation. The change in designation was a part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, February 26
  • The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearingentitled, “Connecting America: Examining Intermodal Connections Across Our Surface Transportation Network”
  • The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife will discuss “The State of Water Supply Reliability in the 21st Century.”
  • Three USDA Agencies will hold a joint Farm Bill Implementation Listening Session in which stakeholders are invited to provide input on the new programs and changes from the 2018 bill. The Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency will be hearing comments at the session. You can view the livestream of the event here.
Wednesday, February 27
  • The House Committee on Agriculture will hold a business meeting to consider the Budget Views and Estimates Letter of the Committee on Agriculture for the agencies and programs under the jurisdiction of the Committee for fiscal year 2020. Following the meeting, the committee will receive testimony from USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on “The State of the Rural Economy.”
  • USTR Robert Lighthizer will testify before the House Ways and Means Committee on US-China Trade.
  • FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb will testify before the House Committee on Appropriations on the status of operations for the Food and Drug Administration.
Thursday, February 28
  • USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue will testify before Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on “Implementing the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018”.

MTA In Action

Tara Smith Featured in ISA Podcast Interview- MTA’s Executive Vice President, Tara Smith, was featured in a recent podcast interview with the Illinois Soybean Association. Smith shared perspectives on repercussions of the recent government shutdown, 2018 Farm Bill implementation, President Trump’s State of the Union, and other issues that farm country is facing. Click here to listen to the podcast.
Quoted: Budget Letter Gains Media Attention- The Crop Insurance Coalition, in an effort organized by the Crop and Reinsurance Bureau (managed by MTA) sent a letter to the Trump administration and Congressional budget leaders urging them to protect the crop insurance program this year. The letter was signed by about 60 national farm, lending, ag input, conservation, and crop insurance and reinsurance organizations. Several ag media groups picked up the letter and highlighted the work of the organization. Executive Vice President Tara Smith was interviewed by Brownfield Ag News, sharing more history regarding the program and the budget process.
Cocktails with the Crop Insurance Coalition– Are you attending the Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida? If so, join MTA for “Cocktails with the Crop Insurance Coalition”. The reception is co-hosted by the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau and the Association of Equipment Manufactures. The event will be Friday, March 1 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. at AEM’s Booth (2649). Contact Marissa Dake to RSVP.
Changes at MTA- This week the MTA team says farewell to our resident Californian, Sarah Hubbart, who is headed back west to be closer to family. Thank you Sarah for the invaluable contributions you have made to the firm and to the betterment of the ag community! You will be dearly missed.

A Quick Look Back


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