Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 5.16

Monday, May 23rd, 2022

WEEKLY FOOD & AGRICULTURE UPDATE

May 16, 2022


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

Big Picture Overview

 

Administration Announces New Crop Production Incentives 

While visiting a soybean farm in Kankakee, Illinois last Wednesday, President Biden announced new actions his Administration will take to address rising food prices and costs for farmers. These actions include increasing the number of counties eligible for crop insurance on double cropping acres; increasing technical assistance for precision agriculture and nutrient management tools; and doubling the investment in USDA’s new grant program to incentivize domestic fertilizer production. Separately, USDA is considering a number of other actions to incentivize crop production in response to concerns with global food supplies, such as eliminating the penalty for planting after a prevent-plan insurance claim and allowing landowners with expiring Conservation Reserve Program contracts to start preparing the acreage for planting before September 30 when the contact ends. “We’re trying to create as many concepts and ideas as feasible and possible in the time we have, so that farmers have the ability to make some decisions for themselves,” Secretary Vilsack said to Agri-Pulse.

 

Vilsack Testified at FY23 Budget Hearing

On Tuesday, USDA Secretary Vilsack testified during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies hearing entitled “A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.” The Secretary was asked about a variety of issues, though disaster aid, boosting crop production and international food aid were dominant themes in the hearing. Regarding the $10 billion provided by Congress last fall to deal with weather disasters from 2020 and 2021, Vilsack said USDA is finalizing work that will “pre-fill” applications under the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus (WHIP+) that farmers have typically filled out in past years, answering roughly 250 questions. USDA announced details of the new Emergency Relief Program (ERP) earlier today. Payments under phase 1 of the program are expected in June.  The Secretary also touted the “Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities” pilot program as a way that USDA can help boost farmer incomes while providing incentives for conservation efforts. The first round of funding received 450 applications from all 50 states.

 

WOTUS Roundtables 

Last week, the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers held the first Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) roundtable to gather input on the latest effort to define WOTUS under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Some farm groups have expressed frustrations that the speakers at the roundtable did not represent their interests and with the way the roundtables have been organized, including the lack of transparency around speakers and views that are represented. Several panelists at last week’s first Midwest regional roundtable heavily criticized agricultural practices that contribute to nutrient runoff. The agencies are aiming to develop a long-lasting definition of WOTUS, but some stakeholders, including Republicans on Capitol Hill, have encouraged EPA to delay agency efforts until the Supreme Court rules on a case involving the regulation of wetlands under the CWA.


The Week Ahead 

Tuesday, May 17

  • 10:00AM EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies holds a hearing to discuss the FY 2023 Budget Request for the Department of Labor
  • 10:15AM EST: House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change holds a hearing to discuss “The Fiscal Year 2023 EPA Budget”
  • 2:00PM EST: House Agriculture Committee holds a House committee markup to discuss the Budget Views and Estimates Letter of the Committee on Agriculture for the agencies and programs under the jurisdiction of the Committee for Fiscal Year 2023

Wednesday, May 18

  • 10:00AM EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hold a hearing to discuss Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • 10:00AM EST: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies holds a hearing to examine proposed budget estimates and justification for fiscal year 2023 for the Environmental Protection Agency
  • 10:00AM EST: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works holds a hearing to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2023 for the Fish and Wildlife Service
  • 2:30PM EST: House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis hold a hearing to discuss Climate Smart from Farm to Fork: Building an Affordable and Resilient Food Supply Chain

Thursday, May 19

  • 10:00AM EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies holds a hearing to discuss Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the Food and Drug Administration
  • 10:00AM EST: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources holds a hearing to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2023 for the Department of the Interior

To see a full list of House and Senate Committee business, visit here.


A Quick Look Back

“Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Intent to Nominate Stacy Dean to Serve as Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services” USDA

“Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Intent to Nominate Alexis Taylor to Serve as Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs” USDA

“First Round of Proposals for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Shows Strong Interest” USDA

“USDA Continues Urgent Actions to Address Infant Formula Shortage” USDA

“Lawmakers Seek $1 Billion for Farm Bill Conservation Programs in 2023 Budget” Northern Ag Network

“World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” USDA

U.S. Agriculture Secretary has ‘Deep Concern’ about India’s Wheat Export Ban Reuters

“US Farmers under Pressure and on the Front Lines of Food Inflation Amid Price Spikes” CNN

“FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Releases Permitting Action Plan to Accelerate and Deliver Infrastructure Projects On Time, On Task, and On Budget” The White House

“Why Are Food Prices Going Up? Key Questions Answered” U.S. News

“Democrats Push for $5 Billion of Global Food Aid in Ukraine Package” Fortune

“SEC Extends Comment Period for Proposed Rules on Climate-Related Disclosures, Reopens Comment Periods for Proposed Rules Regarding Private Fund Advisers and Regulation ATS” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission


Contact the Team 

Feel free to contact Michael TorreyTara SmithDanielle NelsonCassandra KuballJames GlueckBarbara PattersonTrey ForsythJulie McClure, Perry Harlow, or Tracy Boyle with any questions or comments