Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 3.21

March 21, 2022


Contents

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

Big Picture Outlook

Farm Bill

As conversations continue on the 2023 Farm Bill, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on Wednesday titled “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The Role of USDA Programs in Addressing Climate Change.” Witness testimony can be found here. The hearing included a partisan debate around climate-smart agricultural practices and how they will be considered in the 2023 Farm Bill. Democrats on the committee largely emphasized the need to tackle the climate crisis and asked the witnesses about the results of various potential solutions.  Republicans wanted to focus on the challenges producers are facing, including soaring inflation, rising input prices, and labor shortages. The topic of climate-smart commodities was a point of contention, as the USDA recently invested $1 billion for partnerships of climate-smart pilot programs. Witness Dr. Joe Outlaw cautioned the committee not to link climate-smart practices with prices of crop insurance premiums as it could result in winners and losers based on regionality.

Russia and Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Congress last Wednesday and expressed his gratitude for U.S. assistance against invading Russian forces and humanitarian support but requested more military aid to combat Russian warplanes along with stronger economic sanctions. President Joe Biden later announced the U.S. would send more anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones. Biden also identified Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal, and the next day the Senate unanimously asked for international investigations of Putin for war crimes in Ukraine.

According to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the Russian military is purposefully targeting agricultural machinery. During the most recent incident, in the Sumy region, warehouses full of agricultural machinery were bombed, destroying more than 30 units. With a focus on the upcoming planting season, the Ukrainian government has indicated that it will pay interest on loans to cover any costs associated with agricultural activities and provide guarantees of up to 80% of the amount of loans the farmers have obtained.

There is continued conversation among Ukraine and Russian officials regarding a potential cease-fire and a negotiated end to the ongoing conflict.  At the end of this week, President Biden is expected to meet with EU and NATO partners in person.  And, the White House has announced travel to Poland to meet regarding human rights and humanitarian needs.

White House Begins Planning Nutrition Conference

The Biden Administration is working on a White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger and health, expected to take place later in 2022. The omnibus appropriations package signed into law by President Biden on March 15 included $2.5 million to fund the conference. The White House last held a major conference on food in 1969, which led to a major expansion of food stamps and school meals access, leading many to believe a conference this year could create new major policy initiatives.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, March 22

  • 10:00 AM: Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry holds a hearing to examine rural quality of life, focusing on opportunities and challenges for the rural care economy
  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation holds a markup to consider several pieces of legislation, including the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022

Wednesday, March 23

  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works holds a hearing to examine promoting American energy security by facilitating investments and innovation in climate solutions

Monday, March 28

  • White House FY 23 Budget Proposal to be Submitted to Congress

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

A Quick Look Back

“USDA Announces Actions on Nutrition Security” USDA

“USDA Announces Partnership with Northwest Seaport Alliance to Ease Port Congestion and Restore Disrupted Shipping Services to U.S. Grown Agricultural Commodities” USDA

“USDA Now Accepting Applications for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program, Providing Up To $200 Million to Purchase Local Food for Schools” USDA

“USDA Announces Additional Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors” USDA

“Biden Administration Withdraws Trevino Nomination for USTR Ag Negotiator” Brownfield

“Chlorpyrifos Ban Stands” Progressive Farmer

“Analyzing Farm Inputs: The Cost to Farm Keeps Rising” American Farm Bureau Federation

“Hemp Feed Coalition Submits the First Ingredient Application in the United States for Hemp to be Federally Approved as a Feed Ingredient for Poultry” Hemp Feed Coalition

“Farm Worker Overtime in Limbo” The Daily News

“U.S. Ethanol Stocks Return to Pandemic Highs” Market Watch

“U.S. Senate Approves Bill to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent” Reuters

“How the White House Can Most Impactfully Implement a 2022 Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger, and Health” Hunger Free America

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