Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 12.12

December 12, 2022

Contents

  • Meet Team Torrey
  • Big Picture Overview 
  • The Week Ahead 
  • A Quick Look Back 
  • Contact the Team 

Meet Team Torrey

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Team Torrey Welcomes Jacqueline Muhammad

Torrey Advisory Group (TAG) is proud to add Jacqueline Muhammad to the policy team as a director of government affairs. Jacqueline joins the firm with nearly a decade of experience specializing in agriculture and food policy, capacity building, and campaign management. Read more about her experience and expertise here.

Big Picture Overview

FY2023 Funding

Congress continues to work on an FY2023 funding agreement, with Democrats pulling back plans over the weekend to attempt to move a Democrat-only bill. As the Dec. 16 deadline approaches and topline funding remains a point of friction between the two parties, an additional stopgap funding bill will be necessary. Currently, the Senate is scheduled to be in session until December 21 and the House until December 15, but it is likely that those dates could be extended as Congress continues negotiations. Reports indicate that additional ad hoc disaster funding with payments per planted crop acre up to $130 could be included in the omnibus, separate from an extension of the Economic Relief Program (ERP) for eligible 2022 crops and livestock. Although, this funding is not guaranteed and still subject to negotiations.

Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

This week, the Senate is expected to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The bill puts into statute a 2020 cost-share change for inland waterway construction projects – 35% from the general Treasury fund and 65% from the Inland Waterway Trust Fund. Notably, the bill includes a provision that sunsets the 65-35 cost-share back to 50-50 in 10 years. The House passed the package last week.

Climate Smart Agriculture

The United States Department of Agriculture announced a new round of climate-smart commodities projects. This round includes 71 projects, totaling $325 million dollars. The projects are primarily targeting niche markets and historically underserved farmers. For this round most projects received close to $5 million, the maximum allotted funds for a single projects. When announcing the projects on Monday Vilsack said, “We recognized in developing and designing of this program that it wasn’t enough to create large projects, that we also had to address and attend to the needs of small-sized family operations, as well as those who have been historically underserved.”

E-15 Legislation

Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN) and Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022. This is a companion bill to the bill introduced in the Senate by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and others, in late November. If passed, the bill would remove restrictions on the sale of higher ethanol blends in the summertime. Notably, API is in support of this bill, mainly due to concerns over a petition submitted to EPA by a group of Midwest governors – Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin – for individual state-specific exemptions to the rule that could create challenging supply issues.  

Separately, the Office of Management (OMB) is now reviewing a proposed rule in response to the Governors’ petition after EPA submitted it for interagency review last week. Earlier this year, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said he intends that a decision will be made in time for the 2023 summer driving season. 

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, December 13

  • 10:00 AM: House Financial Services Committee hearing investigating the collapse of FTX, Part 1
  • 10:00 AM: Senate Ag Subcommittee hearing to examine food as medicine, focusing on current efforts and potential opportunities
  • 10:00 AM: Senate Commerce, Science, and Technology hearing to examine solutions to meet America’s broadband needs

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 McClure, Ashley 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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Navigating Today's Dynamic Political and Regulatory Environment

The Torrey team is the right choice for professionals who need an advocate you can trust to guide you through the sometimes-stressful policymaking process.