Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 5.9

May 9, 2022


Contents

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

Big Picture Outlook

White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

Last week, the White House announced that it will hold a conference in September to rally the public and private sectors around a coordinated, whole-of-government strategy to accelerate progress and drive significant change. The conference, the first such meeting in 53 years, is part of the White House’s commitment to end hunger, improve nutrition and physical activity, reduce diet-related diseases, and close disparity gaps by 2030. There will be several opportunities for stakeholders to weigh in, including at regional convenings, the national conference, and an open comment period. In response to the announcement, USDA Secretary Vilsack stated, “For our country and our children to reach their highest potential, we must not only keep food on the table, but also aim for everyone to enjoy nutritious and affordable food that contributes to their overall health. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to tackling both food and nutrition insecurity in order to prevent the diet-related diseases that plague our country, address health disparities in underserved communities, and give all Americans a chance for a healthy future.”

Chinese Tariffs

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced last Tuesday that it will begin soliciting feedback from U.S. industries about whether to extend the Section 301 tariffs put in place on billions of dollars in Chinese goods during the Trump Administration. As the tariffs approach their four-year anniversary of implementation in July and August, USTR will be required to decide whether to maintain, modify or remove the tariffs, or else they will automatically expire. Senior Biden Administration officials are continuing to discuss whether the White House should lower/adjust the current tariffs in an attempt to address inflation. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the White House Press Secretary recently suggested the action was being considered to fight inflation, and USTR Katherine Tai publicly questioned whether lowering the tariffs would be an effective strategy to accomplishing that goal. Ambassador Tai has noted that the USTR review will be focused on hearing from all stakeholders, and ensuring whatever decision is made leads to a “durable, effective strategy with respect to our ability to compete with China.”

Ukraine Supplemental Request

Negotiations continue on the $33 billion Ukraine aid package requested by President Biden. The request included $20 billion for military assistance to Ukraine and nearby countries, $8.5 billion to support the Ukrainian economy/government, and $3 billion in support for refugees and food assistance. Proposed agriculture provisions—a temporary boost in marketing loan rates for wheat, soybeans, rice and minor oilseeds and a $10-per-acre incentive for double cropping soybeans after winter wheat in 2023—have raised questions on Capitol Hill and among stakeholders. Additionally, some members have expressed interest in including school meal waivers, immigration policy, and business assistance in the supplemental conversation. Big picture, Republicans are supportive of quickly moving military assistance for Ukraine, but they have signaled opposition to extraneous requests and COVID-19 assistance.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, May 10

  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies holds a hearing to examine proposed budget estimates and justification for fiscal year 2023 for the Department of Agriculture with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
  • 1:00 PM EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies holds a hearing to discuss the FY 2023 Budget Request for the Department of Transportation with the Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Wednesday, May 11

  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works holds a hearing to discuss Oversight of the Council on Environmental Quality: A Year in Review with Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality
  • 2:00 PM EST: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs holds a hearing to examine the global food security and COVID-19 crises, focusing on the U.S. response and policy options

Thursday, May 12

  • 10:00 AM EST: House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials holds a hearing to discuss “Board Member Views on Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization”

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

A Quick Look Back

“Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Intent to Nominate Stacy Dean to Serve as Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services” USDA

“Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Intent to Nominate Alexis Taylor to Serve as Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs” USDA

“First Round of Proposals for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Shows Strong Interest” USDA

“USDA Continues Urgent Actions to Address Infant Formula Shortage” USDA

“Lawmakers Seek $1 Billion for Farm Bill Conservation Programs in 2023 Budget” Northern Ag Network

“World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” USDA

U.S. Agriculture Secretary has ‘Deep Concern’ about India’s Wheat Export Ban Reuters

“US Farmers under Pressure and on the Front Lines of Food Inflation Amid Price Spikes” CNN

“FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Releases Permitting Action Plan to Accelerate and Deliver Infrastructure Projects On Time, On Task, and On Budget” The White House

“Why Are Food Prices Going Up? Key Questions Answered” U.S. News

“Democrats Push for $5 Billion of Global Food Aid in Ukraine Package” Fortune

“SEC Extends Comment Period for Proposed Rules on Climate-Related Disclosures, Reopens Comment Periods for Proposed Rules Regarding Private Fund Advisers and Regulation ATS” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

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