Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 3.8

Monday, March 8th, 2021


March 8, 2021

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

Big Picture Outlook

Senate Passed the American Rescue Plan Act with 50-49 Vote- The Senate passed the bill on March 6 after a vote-a-rama in which Democrats defeated most of the proposed amendments by Republicans. The House plans to take up the Senate version of the bill as soon as March 9. Democrats aim to pass the final American Rescue Plan Act before March 14, when many provisions from the previous CARES Act passed in December expire. The package includes $22.1 billion for food and agriculture spending, including funding to aid the food supply chain, paying off loans held by qualifying minority farmers, funding commodity purchases, and extending the 15% SNAP benefits increase. It also includes $1,400 stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, state and local aid, and COVID-related healthcare funding.

Bipartisan Farm Workforce Bill Reintroduced for H-2A Visas- Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) reintroduced the Farm Workforce Modernization Act to expand and overhaul the H-2A visa program. This bill adds the H-2A changes absent in the sweeping immigration reform bill endorsed by President Biden on February 18 that offers expedited citizenship to agricultural workers and requires farmworker overtime.

Antitrust Hearings in the Works for Senate Judiciary Subcommittee – Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) stated her plan to have the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights convene antitrust hearings regarding many industries, including agriculture. The first of such hearings will occur on March 11. Secretary Vilsack also tapped an antitrust expert as his senior advisor for fair and competitive markets, Andy Green.

White House Names Agriculture and Rural Policy Advisor- The White House has announced Kelliann Blazek as a special assistant to the president for agriculture and rural policy. She is a Wisconsin native who most recently worked in Wisconsin’s Office of Rural Prosperity.

The Week Ahead 

Thursday, March 11
  • 9:00 AM EST: House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on “A Look at Food Insecurity in America.”
  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing on “Competition Policy for the Twenty-First Century: The Case for Antitrust Reform.”
  • 10:15 AM EST: Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing to examine farmers and foresters, focusing on opportunities to lead in tackling climate change.
Unspecified Time
  • The full Senate will likely hold a vote this week on the nomination of Michael Regan to be the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The full Senate will likely hold a vote this week on the nomination of Katherine Tai to be the U.S. Trade Representative.
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.