Lawmakers are well into their preparatory hearings for the drafting of the next farm bill. But a veteran Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee suggests the fate of the bill will hinge on whether lawmakers find more funding.
“I think one of the most important things that will determine whether things go smoothly in the Senate and the House will be an agreement on core funding,” Rep. Jim Costa, D-California, said in an interview with Agri Pulse The journalists. “If we’re stuck with core funding from five years ago, then that’s going to be a problem.”
Costa noted that there are large demands for funding for disaster relief and conservation programs, and “our ability to expand these tools is partly determined by core funding,” he said. he declares.
Why is this important: There are also calls to increase reference prices in the price loss hedging program, something else that could increase the cost of the bill. A big question is whether Republicans will want to increase farm spending if they take control of the House.
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Congress authorizes school nutrition waivers
A bill headed to the White House will expand a series of waivers that will guarantee the availability of meals for children during the summer and the upcoming school year. The $3 billion bill, which is paid for by reversing previously approved COVID relief funding, passed the Senate on Thursday evening after being approved by the House earlier in the day.
Among other things, the bill would allow take-out meals this summer, increase reimbursement for school meals and provide free meals to children who normally qualify for discounted lunches.
Credits intrude on biotech animal debate
The House Appropriations Committee is supporting an effort to overhaul the regulation of genetically modified animals. The committee adopted a report Thursday that directs the USDA and FDA to coordinate on potential regulatory changes.
The FDA currently holds sole regulatory authority and has long resisted abandoning it. But Secretary General Tom Vilsack has kept alive an effort launched in the Trump administration to give the USDA an oversight role. The department has not set a timeline for proposing regulations.
“This is an important question,” said Georgia Democrat Sanford Bishop, who chairs the farm appropriations subcommittee. “We have to make sure that the coordination is done properly. The decision on where that authority rests continues to evolve.
Why is this important: An appropriations committee report is not legally binding within the meaning of the text of the bill. But the report provides guidance on the priorities of those responsible for ownership.
But, but, but: The Appropriations Committee, while it drafts the annual spending bills and accompanying reports for the USDA and FDA, is not the authorizing committee for either. The House Energy and Commerce Committee writes laws covering the FDA. The USDA, of course, reports to the House Ag Committee.
OECD: agricultural subsidies increase sharply while sustainable development spending decreases
Government agricultural subsidies around the world are at record highs while funding for agricultural programs to combat climate change has dwindled, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The study, which was conducted in 54 countries, including all OECD countries as well as some developing countries, indicates that the average expenditure on agricultural subsidies from 2019 to 2021 was $817 billion. This represents a 13% increase over spending from 2018 to 2020.
Meanwhile, funding “directed towards longer-term efforts to address climate change and other food systems challenges” has dropped to an average of 13% of support spending, from 16% over the same periods.
“This is not a good signal, as a significant boost to sustainable productivity growth is needed to address the challenges facing food systems while keeping agricultural emissions on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said OECD Trade and Agriculture Director Marion Jansen.
The Trump era ‘habitat‘ definition canceled by wildlife services
The Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have canceled the Trump administration’s definition of “habitat” under the Endangered Species Act. The agencies say this definition would have made it difficult to designate areas unoccupied by species but necessary for their recovery.
The Trump-era rule, issued after the 2020 election but before the end of then-President Trump’s term, was “unclear, confusing, and inconsistent with ESA’s conservation goals.” say the agencies.
The farming community had largely supported the definition of “habitat,” a word that ESA has never defined. The ESA requires the FWS and NMFS to list threatened or endangered species and then designate their critical habitat.
In opposing the proposed cancellation, the American Farm Bureau Federation said that the “return to a” case-by-case review “returns to decades of uncertainty for landowners like farmers and ranchers”.
US ambassador warns countries: Don‘t cut food exports
Cindy McCain, the US ambassador to the UN food and agriculture agencies, is warning countries not to institute export bans amid growing food shortages.
Eighteen countries currently have food export bans in place, but McCain said the bans worsen global food security. Not only do they cut off access to food for people in the countries, but they also hurt vendors looking to sell food, she said.
McCain has a different idea for solving the hunger problems resulting from the war in Ukraine.
“The Russians must withdraw from Ukraine,” she said. “That’s the answer to that.”
Keep in mind: Commodity prices were already at historically high levels before the invasion. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ food price index hit a record high in Februarydriven by sharp increases in the prices of vegetable oils and dairy products.
She said it: “Sorry, I had to.” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., after making a pun outlining a provision of the FY23 farm spending bill that would benefit orange juice producers in her state.
His pun: “Florida is the orange juice capital of the world. So, ‘orange’, are you happy that this provision is in this bill? »
Hannah Pagel, Steve Davies, Bill Tomson and Noah Wicks contributed to this report.
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