WeeklyFood & Agriculture Update 4.26

Monday, April 26th, 2021


April 26, 2021

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

Big Picture Outlook

Bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act Passes Out of Senate Ag Committee –The bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act, reintroduced by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), was unanimously passed in the Senate Agriculture Committee days after its introduction. With more than 40 bipartisan cosponsors and broad industry support, this bill aims to help farmers and foresters navigate carbon markets, incentivize carbon sequestration, and bring resources to producers. It will create a USDA certification program to solve technical barriers to entry to farms participating in carbon credit markets and creates a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program to provide transparency and legitimacy to this market.

Several other climate bills were also introduced last week, and progressives formally reintroduced the Green New Deal on April 20.

Senate Republicans Released Counteroffer to Biden’s Infrastructure Proposal – Senate Republicans have released their Republican Road Map, a $568 billion counteroffer to President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. The framework focuses primarily on transportation infrastructure with some other items like broadband and water projects. The remaining question is how this spending will be paid for, as that detail remains vague. Many Democrats have rejected this smaller alternative.

USDA Expands and Renews Conservation Reserve Program- USDA recently announced its plans to expand and renew the Conservation Reserve Program to boost enrollment and address climate change. This expansion includes higher payment rates, new incentives, and a more targeted focus on the program’s role in climate change mitigation. This announcement included additional investments in Regional Conservation Partnership Programs and On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials.

USDA Issues Pandemic Flexibilities for Schools Through June 2022- USDA issued a broad range of flexibilities for school meal programs and childcare institutions to return to serving healthy meals in fall 2021. Many of these flexibilities now extend through June 30, 2022. Schools nationwide can also serve meals using USDA’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option, typically a program reserved for summers, to maintain nutrition standards. Universal school meals were extended through the next school year and P-EBT was expanded into the summer.

The Week Ahead 

Tuesday, April 27

  • 2:30 PM EST: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee holds a hearing to examine S.283, to establish a National Climate Bank

Wednesday, April 28

  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing to examine the President’s proposed budget request for FY 2022 for the EPA
  • 12:00 PM EST: House Rules Committee holds a hearing on Ending Hunger in America: Challenges, Opportunities, and Building the Political Will to Succeed
  • 2:00 PM EST: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies holds a hearing on the Review of the Activities and FY2022 Funding Priorities of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

Thursday, April 22

  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Appropriations Committee holds a hearing to examine diversifying on-farm income, focusing on opportunities to strengthen rural America
  • 11:00 AM EST: House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change holds a hearing on The Fiscal Year 2022 EPA Budget

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

A Quick Look Back 

“Federal Spending on Food Assistance Reached Record High in 2020” USDA ERS

“Biden’s American Families Plan Expected This Week’” Forbes

“House Ag Committee Approves Budgets and Estimates Letter” The Hagstrom Report

“EPA Won’t Return Verbatim to Obama-era WOTUS Definitions” The Hill

Biden Pledges to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions” The White House

China’s Corn Imports Seen Hitting New Record High” Agri-Pulse

“Farm lending Decreased in the First Quarter” The Hagstrom Report

“Report Gives USDA Options for Operating a Carbon Bank” Industry-Update

USDA Asks for Public Comment on Improving US Food Supply Chain” Agri-Pulse

“Biofuels Advocates Ask EPA to Replace E15 Labels” Agri-Pulse

Contact the Team 

Feel free to contact Michael TorreyTara Smith, Danielle Nelson, Cassandra KuballJessica KuneyBarbara Patterson, Trey Forsyth, Perry Harlow, or Brandon Barnett with any questions or comments.