Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 1.23

January 23, 2023

Contents

  • Big Picture Overview
  • Internship Opportunity
  • A Quick Look Back
  • Contact the Team

Big Picture Overview

Farm Bill

On the Farm Bill front, House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson, along with a bipartisan group of nine Members of Congress, held the year’s first Farm Bill listening session in Pennsylvania. Stakeholders from across the food and agricultural supply chain discussed a variety of issues they would like to see addressed through the upcoming Farm Bill. Focal points of the conversation included protecting risk management tools for farmers and ranchers; the importance of voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs; the importance of nutrition programs; and the need for reliable ag labor. Last week, House Republicans also announced the new and returning Members of the House Agriculture Committee.

Separately, Ranking Member David Scott has released his priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill. The Ranking Member outlined five priorities, including expanding rural broadband, making permanent and increasing funding for the 1890 Land Grant African American College and Universities Student Scholarship Program, increased assistance for small family cattle farmers and ranchers, protecting nutrition programs such as SNAP, and helping producers combat dramatic changes in weather patterns and climate.

In the Senate, Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman held hearings late last year focused on rural development and energy programs as well as the research programs. They are expected to continue with hearings on the other farm bill titles in the weeks ahead.

Leaders at USDA are determining their vision for the upcoming Farm Bill. Media reports indicated Secretary Vilsack discussed the need for a bipartisan bill that provides support for a myriad of stakeholders, especially those operating businesses on a smaller scale. Notably, Vilsack highlighted the need for small farmers to have opportunities to diversify revenue, including though off-farm jobs.

Agencies

The Biden Administration’s “Waters of the United States” rule was published in the Federal Register and will go into effect March 20. However, there continues to be uncertainty from stakeholder groups around the rule because of the anticipated Supreme Court decision on the Sackett case, which could contain language that would force EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to respond with altered regulatory guidance. To that end, agricultural groups including American Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council, and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association have filed a lawsuit against EPA, stating the rule will mean “time-consuming, costly, and unpredictable case-by-case determinations by landowners and by the Agencies.”

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) announced updates to the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule, bolstering oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic products. The rule is intended to implement 2018 Farm Bill mandates, respond to industry requests for updates to the USDA organic regulations, and address National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommendations. Full text of the rule can be found here.

The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) have appointed 20 nutrition and public health experts to serve on the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Members of the Committee are responsible for reviewing the current standards of nutrition science and developing a scientific report that includes its independent, science-based advice for HHS and USDA to consider. Subsequently, this review will be used by the Agencies to develop the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For a full list of members click here.

Internship Opportunity

Torrey Advisory Group is seeking an intern for the Summer 2023 semester. Our interns have the opportunity to work alongside the entire Torrey team to provide support on various legislative and communications projects. For this paid internship, agricultural experience is a plus, but not required. Interested applicants should send a one-page résumé, cover letter, writing sample (maximum 3 pages), and references in one document to dclobbyshop@gmail.com. Applications close January 31, 2023. Additional details can be found here.

A Quick Look Back

Contact the Team

Feel free to contact Michael Torrey, Tara Smith, Cassandra Kuball, James Glueck, Barbara Patterson, Katie Naessens, Caroline Snell, Danielle Nelson, Julie McClureJacqueline MuhammadAshley Willits, Perry Harlow, or Tracy Boyle with any questions or comments. 

Food and agricultural organizations that need the right results in Washington, D.C. can trust Torrey Advisory Group to put its relationships, reputation, and expertise to work on your issue. Since 2005, the firm has successfully provided legislative and regulatory guidance, issues management, and association management services to a wide variety of clients. Learn more about us at torreydc.com. 

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