Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 9.4

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018


September 4, 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 full Congress resumes session for the month, working on final legislative priorities before the midterm elections in November. While the House took an August recess, the Senate remained in session for most of the month to work on presidential nominations and appropriations bills.
  • First Farm Bill Conference Meeting Tomorrow- The Senate and House Agriculture Committee Leaders have scheduled the farm bill conference committee to meet for the first time on Wednesday, September 5th. The committee, comprised of nine senators and 47 House members, is charged with reconciling differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The current farm bill expires September 30th, giving lawmakers just eleven legislative days to pass the measure or extend current law. In a statement, committee leadership said that they are committed to a Farm Bill that “delivers certainty and predictability to our farmers and families as quickly as possible.” Watch this 90-second update from MTA’s Tara Smith for more information on the conference.
  • President Announces United States-Mexico Trade Agreement  In a joint announcement with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto last week, President Trump announced the formation of a new trade agreement with Mexico called the U.S.-Mexico Free Trade Agreement. Trump said he will be “terminating” NAFTA, following a year of negotiations to modernize the 24 year old trade agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. President Peña Nieto, who joined the conference by speakerphone, said that he hopes Canada will be incorporated into the deal. The Canadian Foreign Minister, Chrystina Freeland will be back in Washington this week to continue talks. The three countries would need to provide the text on any new agreement by the end of September to hold a signing with the current Mexican president. Peña Nieto finishes his term in office on November 30, then handing the baton over to incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
  • USDA Trade Mitigation Programs Launch– Today, USDA will launch three programsdesigned to assist farmers affected by the retaliatory tariffs from China, Mexico, Canada, and the European Union. The programs include a Market Facilitation Program, Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, as well as a food purchase and distribution program for selected commodities. USDA is authorized up to $12 billion to administer the programs. The Market Facilitation Program will be administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency and provide payments to cotton, corn, dairy (milk), pork, soybeans, sorghum, and wheat producers, based on a formula created and specified for each commodity.

Nominations & Confirmations

  • James Hubbard to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment.
  • Dawn DeBerry Stump and Dan Berkovitz to be Commissioners of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  • Jason Klitenic was confirmed as General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, September 5
  • The Joint Conference Committee on the Farm Bill (H.R. 2) will meet at 10am. Watch the hearing here.
  • The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will examine the impact of zero tariffs on autoworkers in the United States.
  • The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing on “Innovation in Surface Transportation”.
Friday, September 7
  • The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will discuss “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Water Resources Projects and Policy”.

A Quick Look Back

Pertinent Timing Ticker

  • 26 days until the farm bill expires (Sep. 30, 2018).