Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 3.22

Monday, March 22nd, 2021


March 22, 2021

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

Big Picture Outlook

Farm Labor Bill Advances to the Senate — The Farm Workforce Modernization Act (HR 1603), a sweeping farm labor bill that would provide a path to legal status for many of the nation’s farmworkers and make it easier for farmers to hire employees through the H-2A program, passed the House on March 18 with a vote of 247-174. It received four fewer Republican votes as compared to the previous session of Congress. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) plan to introduce the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the Senate.

Biden’s Cabinet Nears Completion — The Senate unanimously confirmed Katherine Tai as the next U.S. Trade Representative on March 17 with a 98-0 vote. Ambassador Tai already has several agricultural trade issues to address, including USMCA enforcement actions with Canada on dairy, Mexico’s restrictions on biotechnology and glyphosate, and enforcement of the U.S.-China Phase One Agreement. Marty Walsh is expected to be confirmed as the Secretary of Labor on March 22. Deb Haaland received her confirmation with a 51-40 vote as the Secretary of the Interior on March 15. The recent string of confirmations leaves only one more role in Biden’s Cabinet awaiting confirmation – a yet-to-be-named Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), following the withdrawal of Neera Tanden’s nomination. While not a Cabinet position, there is still no nominee to be the FDA Commissioner.

USDA Requests Public Comment on Tackling The Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad — The Federal Register has recently opened the public comment period on climate change plans and goals outlined in President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. Interested persons can submit comments until April 29.

The Week Ahead 

Tuesday, March 23
  • 10:00 AM EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies holds a hearing on “Wood Innovation: Sustainable Forest Products to Reinvigorate Rural Economies.”
Wednesday, March 24
  • 2:00 PM EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies holds a hearing on “The Rural Economy.”
Thursday, March 25
  • 9:30 AM EST: Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee holds a hearing to examine Child Nutrition Reauthorization, focusing on healthy meals and healthy futures.
  • 12:00 PM EST: House Agriculture Committee holds a hearing to review the state of black farmers in the U.S.
To see a full list of House and Senate Committee business, visit here.

A Quick Look Back 

Contact the Team 

Feel free to contact Michael TorreyTara SmithCassandra KuballJessica KuneyBarbara Patterson, Trey Forsyth, Perry Harlow, or Brandon Barnett with any questions or comments.