Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 4.8

Monday, April 8th, 2019


April 8, 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

  • USDA Proposes Rule on SNAP Retail Standards- The Food and Nutrition Service has released a proposed rule that changes the standards on foods that can be offered by retailers participating in the SNAP program. The proposal changes the definition of “variety” within food groups and increases the number of food items that are acceptable for sale. The rule will “provide retailers with greater flexibility to reach eligibility requirements” to participate in the program. On a related note, FNS has reopened the comment period for their proposed rule on SNAP Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs). The comment period had originally closed April 2nd, and will now close on the 10th.
  • White House Optimistic on China Trade Deal– China and the US appear to be in the final stages to reach a trade agreement and resolve the ongoing tariff war. Chinese Premiere Liu He was in Washington D.C. last week to meet with USTR Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. Agriculture was among the list of topics discussed. The White House released a statement on the talks, calling “productive,” and cautioning that “significant work remains.” “Both sides have been pretty clear that they would like to wrap things up in April,” explained Myron Brilliant of the US Chamber of Commerce. Two potential snags include lifting the $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods, and terms that allow the US to unilaterally retaliate against China if they violate therms of the agreement. Top officials from the two countries will continue negotiations this week via teleconference.

Nominations & Confirmations

Jeffrey Kessler was confirmed to serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, April 9
  • The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and the FDA will hear testimony from USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and USDA Budget Officer Erica Navarro on the FY20 Budget Request.
  • Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) will host the ninth annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition.
Wednesday, April 10
  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment will hold a hearing entitled, “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and Investment in our Nation’s Waterways Matter.”
  • The House Appropriations Subcommittee Agriculture, Rural Development, and the FDA will discuss “Economic Opportunities for Farmers through Sustainable Agricultural Practices.”
  • The Senate Agriculture Committee will hear testimony from several witnesses on “Perspectives on Child Nutrition Reauthorization.”
  • The Senate Small Business Committee will consider reauthorization of the Small Business Administration’s international trade program.
Thursday, April 11
  • The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and the FDA will hear testimony from USDA Secretary Perdue, Chief Economist Johansson, and Budget Officer Navarro.
  • USDA will release the Census of Agriculture on the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) website. The report will include millions of data points, including number of farms, land in farms, total value of production, demographics, and more at the national, state, and county levels.

MTA In Action

The Women in Government Relations’ Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force hosted MTA Executive Vice President Tara Smith as a panelist for their Farm Bill Implementation Panel on April 4th. She was joined by Dr. Sindall and Jamie Clover Adams of USDA, Janae Brady from the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Katie Zenk from the House Agriculture Committee. Smith shared her experience and expertise with previous farm bills and highlighted key provisions in the new 2018 Farm Bill.


A Quick Look Back


Pertinent Timing Ticker