Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 2.7

February 7, 2022


  • Big Picture Outlook
  • Thoughts from Team Torrey
  • The Week Ahead
  • A Quick Look Back

Big Picture Outlook

Farm Bill

Last Wednesday, the House Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee held a hearing to review federal conservation programs. Subcommittee members agreed that conservation begins with farmers, ranchers, and foresters, and that continued support is vital. The conversation focused on existing USDA programs, other support needed from the agency, funding, and staffing issues. Several members emphasized a desire to keep talks focused on conservation and avoid a heavy focus on climate issues. The House continues efforts to prepare for the 2023 Farm Bill with a hearing this week to review the commodity programs.

Ocean Shipping Reform Act

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act was introduced in the Senate on Feb. 3 by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The bipartisan legislation would update federal regulations for the global shipping industry and level the playing field for American exporters by making it harder for ocean carriers to unreasonably refuse goods ready to export at ports. The bill would give the Federal Maritime Commission more authority to regulate harmful practices by carriers. The House passed its version of the bill in December by a 364-60 vote, and it was also included as an amendment to the China competition bill, the COMPETES Act, that passed the House last Friday.

“Build Back Better” Budget Reconciliation Package

House Democrats from competitive districts are calling for President Biden to narrow focus to the $555 billion in climate change investments already passed by the House as part of the Build Back Better Act. The bill has no near-term path to success in the Senate in its current form.  The climate portion of the legislation represents the largest-ever federal investment in clean energy, including major tax incentives for low-emission energy sources. Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Administration had not set a deadline to pass the bill.


The House is expected to take up a three-week stopgap funding extension through March 11 as soon as Tuesday to allow more time for appropriators to write final fiscal 2022 spending bills. The temporary spending bill is needed as negotiations continue on an agreement on topline funding allocations for defense and nondefense programs as well as policy riders.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, February 8

  • 10:00 AM EST: House Agriculture Committee holds a hearing to Review Farm Policy with Undersecretary Robert Bonnie

Wednesday, February 9

  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee holds a hearing to examine digital assets, focusing on risks, regulation, and innovation

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

A Quick Look Back

“USDA Announces Inaugural Federal Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture” USDA

“USDA Invests $1.4 Billion to Support Local Businesses, Create Good-Paying Jobs and Strengthen the Economy in Rural America” USDA

“USDA Helps Schools Build Back Better, Issues Transitional Nutrition Standards for Coming School Years” USDA

“Food Prices Rise in Jan., Led by Vegetable Oils, U.N. Agency Says” Reuters

“U.S. Trade Official Says China Failed to Meet ‘Phase 1’ Commitments” Reuters

“Bipartisan Senator Group Urges U.S. EPA “Against Retroactive Cut to Biofuel Requirements” Reuters

“Foods Program Guidance Under Development” U.S. FDA

“House Members Protest COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for H-2A Workers” The Fence Post

“USDA Announces Partnership to Ease Port Congestion and Restore Disrupted Shipping Services to U.S. Grown Agricultural Commodities” The Packer

“Highlights from the February 2022 Farm Income Forecast” USDA ERS

House Passes COMPETES Act Bill Aimed at Boosting US Competitiveness with China” USA Today

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