March 7, 2022
- 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 House is expected to vote on a resolution to overturn the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Reports indicate that the House will likely pass the measure, setting up a vote in the Senate. However, if the measure passes Congress, it is predicted that President Biden will veto it. 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.
Child Nutrition Program Extension Request
As USDA works to update child nutrition programs, top Republican leadership in the House and Senate are requesting the Agency give an additional 30-days for stakeholders to comment on the proposed rule. The authors of the letter, Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC-5) have criticized the rule for putting burdensome regulations on schools and the budgetary increase that could ultimately fall on local school districts.
Agricultural Biotech Technical Consultations
After months of increasing uncertainty over Mexico’s regulatory environment for agricultural biotechnology, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has announced the start of USMCA technical consultations with Mexico. Now, the U.S. and Mexico will have 30 days to start discussions, and 180 days to come to a resolution on the issue. In the case a resolution is not agreed upon, the next step would be dispute consultations and potentially calling in a third-party dispute panel to act as a judge. This process would then be followed by six months in which a final report is prepared that would determine next steps and possible retaliation efforts.
Product of the USA Labeling Rule
USDA released a proposed rule on the “Product of the USA” label aimed to better align voluntary efforts with consumer understanding of the label. Under the rule, “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” labels could be applied to meat, poultry and egg products if the animal was born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States. Notably, the label would remain voluntary and eligible for generic approval, but would require proof through additional supporting documentation in the case of Agency inspections. Additional details can be found here.
USDA Efforts on Competition and the Marketplace
Secretary Vilsack has announced an additional $89 million in grants under the second round of the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program to improve financing options for independent meat processors in Alabama, Georgia, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. Additionally, USDA has released a report titled, “More and Better Choices for Farmers: Promoting Fair Competition and Innovation in Seeds and Other Agricultural Inputs,” following up on the July 9, 2021 Executive Order on the whole-of-government approach to competition and a March 17, 2022 USDA request for public input on the seed industry. Recommendations include a new Farmer Seed Liaison, a USDA/U.S. Patent and Trademark Office working group on IP and competition in seeds and other ag inputs, a USDA notice regarding compliance with the Federal Seed Act, and expansion of USDA’s portal to report tips and complaints related to seed markets.
President’s Budget Announcement
President Biden is expected to release his FY2024 budget on Thursday, March 9. While topline funding and overarching priorities will be released this week, additional budget details and historical data are expected to be released on March 13 or later.
Team Torrey in Action
Executive Vice President Tara Smith will be speaking on behalf of the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau (CIRB) at this year’s Agri-Pulse Ag & Food Policy Summit. Smith will be on a panel discussing 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. Click here to view the agenda.
- FDA is redefining ‘healthy’ and food industry is pushing back – The Washington Post
- Landmark study finds USDA data gaps, but gives boost to conservation practices – Agri-Pulse
- Iowa leaders critical of delayed EPA move to expand e-15 sales – KCRG
- As the West’s drought eases, this area remains in the worst on record — and it’s hitting farmers hard – CNN
- Made in the USA? Proposed rule clarifies grocery meat labels – Associated Press
- How New Zealand plans to tackle climate change: Taxing cow burps – The Washington Post
Tuesday, March 7
- 9:00am EST: House Ways and Means field hearing on the State of the American Economy: The Heartland
Wednesday, March 8
- 10:00am EST: House Ag Subcommittee on Forestry hearing titled: “A Review of Title VIII: Forestry Stakeholder Perspectives”
- 2:00pm EST: House Small Business Committee hearing on Small Business Perspectives on the Impacts of the Biden Administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule
- 10:00am EST: Senate Ag Committee hearing to examine the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
- 10:00am EST: Senate Budget Committee hearing to examine the economic costs of wildfires
- 10:15am EST: House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands oversight hearing titled “Promoting Conservation with a Purpose on America’s Federal Lands and Forests”
Thursday, March 9
- 10:00am EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies oversight hearing on U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General
- 10:00am EST: House Ag Committee hearing entitled: “Rising Risks: Managing Volatility in Global Commodity Derivatives Markets”
Friday, March 10
- 9:00am EST: House Ways and Means hearing on President Biden’s fiscal 2024 budget request
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, Jacqueline Muhammad, 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.