Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 3.21

March 21, 2023

Contents

  • What We’re Watching
  • Team Torrey in Action
  • Notable News
  • Upcoming Hearings
  • Contact the Team

What We’re Watching

Waters of the United States

This week, the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States rule is set to go into effect. In Congress, the House has passed a congressional review act resolution to overturn the rule, and the Senate is expected to vote on it this week. In the Senate, the measure is supported by the entire Republican caucus. However, if the measure passes Congress, it is predicted that President Biden will veto it. Separately, the Supreme Court of the United States is still expected to rule on Sackett v. EPA later this year, which could impact how the federal government applies the Clean Water Act to certain waters and wetlands. EPA has signaled in the most recent regulatory agenda that there could be additional regulatory action if needed following the court’s decision.

Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA)

Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) have introduced the Advancing Cutting Edge (ACE) Agriculture Act, a bill that would bolster AgARDA and research funding efforts. This bill was applauded by both the ag community and land-grant universities as it would double the funding authority from $50 million to $100 million for the program. A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the House in the short term.

SNAP Funding

Last week, Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced a bill that would tighten the work requirements for participants of the SNAP program, spurring a myriad of responses from both sides of the aisle. Democrats generally oppose an increase in work requirements and any cuts to the program — with Chairwoman of the Senate Ag Committee Debbie Stabenow making public comments that should SNAP funding be cut, it would result in a total scale back across the board for farm bill programs. Additionally, a new coalition effort is launching —Farmers Feed America—to highlight the impact of the federal feeding programs on farmers, food companies, retailers, and anti-hunger organizations, 

Team Torrey in Action

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Executive Vice President Tara Smith spoke on behalf of the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau (CIRB) at this year’s Agri-Pulse Ag & Food Policy Summit. Smith discussed the intersection of climate, conservation, and crop insurance alongside Dan Christenson from PepsiCo, Andrew Lentz from the Environmental Defense Fund, and Chuck Conner from National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. Smith shared that she believes crop insurance is well positioned heading into the future to continue to be farmer’s first defense against adverse weather conditions and climate challenges. She also reminded attendees that in order for crop insurance to remain a critical risk management tool, the program must remain actuarily sound.

Notable News

Upcoming Hearings

Wednesday, March 22 

  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Environment and Public Work hearing to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2024 for the Environmental Protection Agency with Administrator Regan 
  • 10:00 Am EST: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing to examine proposed budget estimates and justification for fiscal year 2024 for the Forest Service with Randy Moore, Chief of U.S. Forest Service 
  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Budget Committee hearing to examine how climate change is changing insurance markets
  • 2:30 PM EST: Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing to examine Native priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization

Thursday, March 23 

  • 9:30 AM EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies budget hearing on Fiscal Year 2024 Request for the United States Forest Service 
  • 10:00 AM EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Member Day 
  • 10:00 AM EST: House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Research, and Biotechnology hearing on a Review of Title VII: USDA Implementation of Research Programs 
  • 2:00 PM EST: House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation hearing to Review the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request for Federal Maritime Transportation Programs, and Implementation of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 

Friday, March 24 

  • 9:00AM EST: House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Biden Administration’s 2023 Trade Policy Agenda with United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Tai

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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