Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 4.15

Monday, April 15th, 2019


April 15, 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

  • Senate Ag Takes Up Child Nutrition Reauthorization- The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing to address child nutrition last week. Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) indicated his timeline for the Senate to move first and take up child nutrition reauthorization this Congress. The last authorization was in 2010, under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which expired in 2015. Programs have continued under appropriations legislation since then Child nutrition programs include the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, WIC, the Special Milk Program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and the Farm to School Program.
  • China Trade Negotiations Focus on Ag Sector– As the US and China continue to work towards a trade deal, China is considering a request to move tariffs on key agricultural goods to other products. China would shift $50 billion worth of retaliatory duties (imposed last July) to non-agricultural inputs, though it is not clear which products would receive the brunt of the tariffs. The proposal also asks China to commit to buy more US commodities, such as soybeans and energy products, as well as allow 100% foreign ownership for US companies operating in China. They would need to achieve these terms by 2025. Meanwhile, producers are concerned that purchase pledges without lifting retaliatory tariffs will end up hurting American agriculture more than helping it.

Nominations & Confirmations

Kip Tom was confirmed as US Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, with the rank of Ambassador.
Dave Bernhardt was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior.
The Senate Agriculture Committee advanced the nomination of Heath Tarbert to lead the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Tarbert currently serves as Assistant Secretary for International Markets at the Treasury Department.

The Week Ahead

Congress is out of session for two weeks due to Easter recess.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) report on the economic impact of USMCA is expected this week.

MTA In Action

  • Tara Smith Featured in FarmHer Podcast– MTA’s Executive Vice President Tara Smith was featured in FarmHer’s Shining Bright Podcast. Marji Guyler-Alaniz interviewed Smith about her career path, her experiences working across the agriculture sector and her advice for young women beginning their career in DC. Click here to listen to the episode. Smith’s interview starts at the 6:40 mark.
  • Intern Spotlight: Lucas Dean- Lucas Dean is a junior at the University of Michigan majoring in English and History with minor in Political Science. He grew up on a diversified farm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where his family grew wheat, apples, hay and raised livestock. Working on dairy farms throughout high school, Lucas came to Washington to get a first-hand experience at how policy is made. During his internship with MTA, Lucas has monitored hearings and briefings, researched legislation and assisted staff with fly-ins. So far, Lucas has most enjoyed organizing fly-ins for the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.

A Quick Look Back