Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 7.30

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018


July 30, 2018

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

  • Schedule- The House left Friday for their August recess and will resume session Tuesday, September 4th. The Senate is in session this week.
  • Ag Committee Leaders Discuss Farm Bill- The Senate and House Ag leadership met last week to discuss the farm bill prior to conference committee. Now that the House is gone for August recess, the first full meeting of conferees isn’t likely to take place until September. The leaders made a joint statement after the meeting, saying that they must, “keep working to provide American farmers and families with the certainty and predictability they need and deserve.” The farm bill expires on September 30, 2018.
  • USDA Shares Farmer Relief Plan- The USDA has released a short-term plan to bring relief to farmers affected by retaliatory tariffs coming from China, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. The plan authorizes up to $12 billion for three programs entitled: the Market Facilitation Program, Food Purchase and Distribution Program, and Trade Promotion Program.
  • NAFTA Negotiations Restart- According to multiple administration officials, NAFTA negotiations are picking back up with Mexico. White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett said negotiators are making “absolutely amazing” progress in a televised interview on Saturday. Similarly, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer shared similar sentiments at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing and hypothesized a conclusion in August as “that’s not an unreasonable time frame if everybody wants to get it done”. Hassett also predicted “we will see something by the fall”.

Nominations & Confirmations

  • Bruce Landsberg and Jennifer Homendy were confirmed to be members of the National Transportation Safety board.

Senate Ag Considers CFTC, USDA Nominees- On Tuesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing to consider the nominations of Dan Berkovitz to be a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and James Hubbard to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment at USDA. In a statement made after the hearing, committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) said the roles are “very important” and “it is crucial to have these positions filled”.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, July 31

  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet will examine “The Impact of Global Internet Governance”.

Wednesday, August 1

  • Senate Environment and Public works will consider the Environmental Protection Agency’s agenda, focusing on protecting the environment and allowing America’s economy to grow.

MTA In Action

  • Last week, Michael Torrey shared insights on trade, the farm bill, labeling issues, and immigration reform at three policy picnics for Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. Torrey shared expertise with dairy farmers on the current state of play in ag policy and answered questions from the group.
  • Meet one of the newest additions to Team Torrey, Marissa Dake in this Q & A.

A Quick Look Back

Pertinent Timing Ticker

62 total days until the farm bill expires (Sep. 30, 2018).