Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 6.3

Monday, June 3rd, 2019


June 3, 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

  • Forward Movement on USMCA-The Trump Administration has taken another step towards the ratification of USMCA by sending the draft “Statement of Administrative Action” to Congress. This procedural move forward starts a 30-day clock that must pass before the potential for submitting draft legislation to Congress. The Canadian and Mexican governments additionally began their ratification processes in their respective legislatures.
  • Trump to Impose New Tariffs- On Thursday, President Trump announced starting June 10 that a 5% tariff will be imposed on all Mexican goods. The tariff amount will increase each month until illegal immigration at the US-Mexico border is solved. Mexico is the United States’ largest trading partner, having edged out China as a result of the US-China trade war. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wrote to President Trump in a public letter stating he does not want confrontation, and would like to set up meetings to discuss the issue. Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) opposes the move, calling it a “misuse of presidential tariff authority”. The tariffs could hinder the passage of USMCA through Congress. Canada recently began ratification and Mexico and the United States have also begun the process of submitting the agreement to their respective legislatures.
  • Heavy Rainfall Jeopardizes Planting Across the Midwest- Constant rainfall across the Midwest has significantly delayed planting for crops like corn and soybeans. Per the National Agricultural Statistics Service, on May 26, only 56% of corn nationwide had been planted, compared to the 90% average from 2014-2018. Midwestern states, like Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are particularly far behind, being only 35%, 22%, 33%, and 22% planted, respectively. Soybeans are also behind with only 29% of anticipated soybeans being planted, compared to the 2014-2018 average of 66% on May 26. June 5 and June 15 are the last dates for corn and soybeans, respectively, to be planted and still covered under crop insurance. It is likely that significant amounts of corn acreage will go unplanted. Analysts are predicting that anywhere from 4-6 million corn acres could go unplanted, with many farmers taking advantage of preventive plant insurance coverage. Robert Nielsen, a professor of Agronomy at Purdue University (IN), told farmers that through his entire career, he has rarely seen such a statewide delay in planting.

Nominations & Confirmations

  • Richard Parker and John Barsa were confirmed to be Assistant Administrators of USAID.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, June 4
  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Robert Wallace to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife.
  • The House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services will hold a hearing on “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service”. Brandon Lipps, the administrator of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, will testify.
  • The House Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the FY 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA Bill and the FY 2020 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Bill.
Wednesday, June 5
  • The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research will hold a hearing “Examining the Impacts of Relocating USDA Research Agencies on Agriculture Research”.

MTA In Action

The MTA team would like to wish all the best to Megan Pinegar as she begins her next adventure in the nonprofit sector. Thank you Megan for your invaluable support to the MTA team and to the greater ag community over the years!


A Quick Look Back