Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 3.4

Monday, March 4th, 2019


March 4, 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

  • Perdue Testifies on Capitol Hill- USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue spent much of last week testifying on Capitol Hill before both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. Perdue gave perspective on USDA’s progress towards farm bill implementation, ongoing trade negotiations, nutrition policy, and a myriad of other topics. He also gave a series of deadlines for USDA programs for the 2019 year. USDA will begin farmer sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage Program on June 17th. Payments can be expected to begin on July 8th. ARC and PLC program signup can be expected “around” the first of September. And the changes made under the Conservation Reserve Program will not apply until the 2020 planting season. Click here to watch the Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing. Click here to watch the House Agriculture Committee Hearing.
  • Trade Widely Discussed at Commodity Classic – The Commodity Classic brought together farmers and ag organizations from across the country last week. The group met in Orlando, Florida and heard from a variety of speakers, including USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. During his remarks, Perdue addressed the ongoing trade negotiations with China, and the ratification of the USMCA. He shared that he is “working to persuade” the President that the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs are “no longer needed” against Canada and Mexico. At Friday’s General Session, leaders from National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and National Sorghum Producers announced their support for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and will be advocating Members of Congress to ratify the trade agreement this year. They will also urge the Administration to keep the current NAFTA agreement until the new agreement is put in place.

Nominations & Confirmations

Andrew Wheeler was approved by the Senate to be the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He replaces predecessor Scott Pruitt, who resigned last July.
Michael Desmond was confirmed to be Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service and an Assistant General Counsel in the Department of the Treasury.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, March 5
  • The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will examine the electricity sector in a changing climate.
  • The Senate Environment and Public Works’ Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will discuss states’ roles in protecting air quality.

Wednesday, March 6

  • The House Budget Committee will hold a Members’ Day meeting on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
  • The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing entitled “The Economic Benefits of Highway Infrastructure Investment and Accelerated Project Delivery.”
  • The House Ways & Means Committee will discuss, “Our Nation’s Crumbling Infrastructure and the Need for Immediate Action.”

Thursday, March 7

  • The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Security will convene to examine, “China: Challenges for U.S. Commerce.”

MTA In Action

Crop Insurance Coalition Reception- Thank you to all who came to “Cocktails with the Crop Insurance Coalition” at Commodity Classic on Friday! The event was co-hosted by the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau (managed by MTA) and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. The event was well attended and brought a new level of visibility to the Coalition’s diverse membership.
Updates From the MTA Team- MTA has announced promotions for its team members with Tara Smith to Executive Vice President and Kerry Lynch to Director of Public Affairs. Tara and Kerry have been served MTA and its clients for several years including during the entirety of the 2018 Farm Bill process. Congrats to Tara and Kerry. Read more here.

A Quick Look Back


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