Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 6.13

June 13, 2023

Contents

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

What We’re Watching

Congress

Farm Bill

Late last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called for action on the farm bill. In a speech to the Senate, the Minority Leader said “Congress needs to do its job and get this legislation across the finish line – swiftly… This legislation is the cornerstone of the government’s approach in helping farmers feed America.” You can watch the full remarks here. In comparison to reauthorization efforts in recent history, the farm bill process seems to be lagging behind. Separate authorities with September 30 expiration dates have seen markups in their respective legislative committees over the past month.  

The House Ag Committee has extended the deadline to submit comments to their farm bill portal until Friday, June 16. You can submit comments to the House Agriculture Committee here. 

Appropriations

On the topic of September 30 deadlines, the House Appropriations Committee is moving forward with markups of bills that were postponed for debt ceiling talks which impacted spending caps last month. The House Committee is considering the FY24 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies billthe Ag, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies bill; and subcommittee allocations this week. Subcommittee markups are also planned to continue this week.  

Hearings 

The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing last week on “Innovation, Employment, Integrity, and Health: Opportunities for Modernization in Title IV.” Opening remarks from Chairman Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA) included references to the integrity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and how innovation in the food assistance space can bring nutritious food to those in need. Witnesses touched on their own experiences with the SNAP program and how it can lower the burden of chronic illness, the importance of reaching zero hunger in America, and how SNAP can be an incentive to improving employment. Questions were around workforce, nutrition, mitigating fraud, and how SNAP dollars contribute to the local economy. Continuing with farm bill hearings this week, members of the House Agriculture Committee will hear from stakeholders about rural development programs today and about university research efforts on Wednesday. 

Last week, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research held ahearing on the “Horticulture Title: How the farm bill works for specialty crop producers.” Opening statements encouraged other members to consider crop insurance and industries that produce specialty crops in the upcoming farm bill. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) called for support on the Plant Biostimulant Act, the Industrial Hemp Act, and the American Food for American Schools Act. There was broad support from members to work on protections and incentives for the specialty crop industry. 

Feed Additives

Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) have introduced the Innovative FEED Act, which would establish a new pathway for the FDA to regulate feed additives and allow for label claims as food ingredients instead of animal drugs. Many of these products are being developed to improve production efficiency in livestock, address food safety challenges, and reduce byproducts.

Administration

RVO Ruling EPA 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release the final annual renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard program for 2023, 2024 and 2025 by this Wednesday, June 14. Reports have indicated that EPA is likely to forgo the inclusion of the ability for electric vehicles manufacturers to generate credits (e-RINs), that was included in the previously released proposed rule.

USDA Suspends Livestock Risk Protection Due to Drought 

The USDA will be allowing Approved Insurance Providers, at their discretion, to waive the 60-day ownership requirement for LRP Specific Coverage Endorsements in effect as of June 9, 2023. This decision comes due to severe drought conditions forcing farmers to market their livestock sooner than they need. 

USDA Provides Grant Funding for the Dairy Industry 

The USDA announced they will be giving $23 million in grant funding toward processing capacity expansion, on-farm improvements, and technical assistance services to producers through the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives. Applications are encouraged to identify activities that benefit small farms and ranchers, minorities, and underserved communities. Grant eligibility information can be found here, and applications are due by August 10, 2023. 

Notable News

Upcoming Hearings

Tuesday, June 13

  • 10:00 AM: The House Judiciary Committee Administrative State, Regulatory Reform, and Antitrust will hold a hearing titled “Where’s the Beef? Regulatory Barriers to Entry and Competition in Meat Processing.”
  • 10:00 AM: The House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development will hold a hearing on “Stakeholder Perspectives on USDA’s Rural Development Programs.”
  • 10:15 AM: The House Natural Resources Committee will have their Forestry Bills Mark-up.

Wednesday, June 14

  • 10:00 AM: House Agriculture Committee Conservation, Research, and Biotechnology Subcommittee will have a hearing on “A Review of Title VII: University Perspectives on Research and Extension Programs.”
  • 10:00 AM: House Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the Fiscal Year 2024 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Bill and Interim Suballocation of Budget Allocations.

Thursday, June 15

Contact the Team

Feel free to contact Michael Torrey, Tara Smith, Cassandra Kuball, James Glueck, Barbara Patterson, Katie Naessens, Caroline Snell, Danielle Nelson, Julie McClureAshley Smith, Olivia Lucanie, 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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