August 8, 2022
- Big Picture Outlook
- Thoughts from Team Torrey
- The Week Ahead
- A Quick Look Back
Big Picture Outlook
On a party line vote over the weekend, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act. This Democrat-led legislation includes over $40 billion in agriculture funding. In addition to the original $20 billion for USDA conservation programs, $14 billion for rural development, and $5 billion for climate-smart forestry and wildfire mitigation, new provisions added over the weekend include $4 billion for drought resilience, and over $5 billion in debt relief for “distressed” borrowers of USDA loans and farmers who have experienced discrimination from USDA. The House is expected to return from August recess on Friday to consider the bill.
Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act
Reps. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), David Scott (D-GA), and Jim Costa (D-CA) introduced the Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act. This legislation is intended to address issues facing the rail service industry by strengthening the Surface Transportation Board’s authority to address rail service emergencies and “create a fair marketplace” for railroads and shippers. Ag groups, such as the National Grain and Feed Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation, support the legislation.
Emergency Relief Program Reauthorization Act
A bipartisan group of representatives in the House introduced legislation to make 2022 losses eligible for the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) through USDA. In September 2021, Congress appropriated $10 billion to address losses of crops, trees, bushes, and vines, as a consequence of disasters such as, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze, smoke exposure, quality losses of crops, and excessive moisture occurring in calendar years 2020 and 2021. Thus far, approximately $6.1 billion has been distributed to commodity and specialty crop producers who suffered eligible losses in 2020 and 2021. USDA strived to increase payment efficiency through a new process in which existing data and crop insurance files were used to send pre-filled applications to potentially eligible producers.
Kenya Trade Deal Public Comments
A public comment period is now open regarding the newly announced U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership. The partnership will primarily focus on labor, environment, digital trade, trade facilitation, and good regulatory practices. In addition, agriculture trade and transparency issues along with science- and risk-based sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures will be considered. Comments must be submitted by September 16, 2022.
Thoughts from Team Torrey
Louisiana State University alumni, Josephine Engelman, recently completed her internship in our D.C. office. In this article, Engelman discusses how being a part of Team Torrey allowed her to learn fundamental skills and make connections that will help advance her career. To read the full article click here.
Michael Torrey Associates offers three internship opportunities each year for undergraduate and graduate students interested in food and ag policy. For more information, contact Ashley Willits.
The Week Ahead
Friday, August 12
- The House is expected to return from their August recess to consider the Inflation Reduction Act.
To see a full list of House and Senate Committee business, visit here.
A Quick Look Back
“GMOs safe for humans, animals, FDA affirms in new education materials” Agri-Pulse
“A Senate proposal would give CFTC responsibility for policing bitcoin, ethereum” The Washington Post
“Biden-Harris Administration to Begin Accepting Applications on September 6 for USDA ReConnect Program Round 4 Funding” USDA
“FMI identifies what ‘plant-based’ means to consumers” Food Business News
“Ethanol Industry Wants to Bury Its Carbon, but Some Farmers Stand in the Way“ Wall Street Journal
“U.S. fuel retailers rail against green aviation fuel tax credit“Reuters