Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 1.17

January 17, 2022


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

Big Picture Outlook

“Build Back Better” Budget Reconciliation Package

Democrats are looking to pull out climate-smart ag provisions and clean energy incentives from the Build Back Better bill and move them as a separate package, according to Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow. Additionally, Stabenow has acknowledged that they will also have to rework a tax incentive for electric vehicles that is targeted to U.S.-manufactured cars and trucks.

Vaccine Mandates 

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a stay of the OSHA vaccine-or-test requirement on private businesses of 100 or more workers, dealing a setback to the Biden administration’s effort to control the COVID pandemic. By a 6-3 vote, the court reasoned that the agency exceeded its authority to regulate workplace safety. At the same time, the justices voted 5-4 to allow the Biden administration to require vaccination of health care workers at facilities that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients, subject to religious and medical exemptions.

Electric Vehicle Ag Committee Hearing

On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to discuss the implications of electric vehicles for agriculture and rural America. The committee focused on the investments that will need to be made to ensure the successful growth of the electric vehicle industry. The use of biofuels to ensure low carbon transportation during the long period of transition to electric vehicles was given significant consideration. Several members expressed concern about the lack of investments and policy advantages provided to biofuels and what that would mean for the agricultural industry going forward.

Califf Nomination

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced Robert Califf’s nomination to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in a 13-8 vote Thursday. Califf ran the FDA during the last year of the Obama administration.

The Week Ahead

Thursday, January 20

  • 10:00 AM EST: House Agriculture Committee holds a hearing to Review the State of the Rural Economy with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

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

A Quick Look Back

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

“USDA to Invest up to $225 Million in Partner-Driven Conservation on Agricultural and Forest Land” USDA

“USDA Invests $9M to Expand Reach and Increase Adoption of Climate-Smart Practices” USDA

“USDA Invests $50 Million in Partnerships to Improve Equity in Conservation Programs, Address Climate Change” USDA

“Rural Counties Break Record for Most Covid-19 Infections in a Single Week” The Daily Yonder

“Crop Production 2021 Summary” USDA

“Vilsack Wants to Double Cover Crop Acres by 2030” Farm Progress

“Exclusive: Biden Weighing Cuts to 2022 Ethanol Blending Mandate Proposal” Reuters

“Labor Shortages Mean Trouble for Ag” The Collegian

“EPA Announces Endangered Species Act Protection Policy for New Pesticides” EPA

“Economic Impact of Higher Fertilizer Prices on AFPC’s Representative Crop Farms” Agricultural and Food Policy Center Texas A&M University

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