The lame-duck leftovers for ag policy


With assistance from Kelsey Tamborrino and Ximena Bustillo

Editor’s Note: Weekly Farming is a weekly variation of POLITICO Pro’s day-to-day Farming policy newsletter, Early morning Farming. POLITICO Pro is a policy intelligence platform that integrates the news you require with tools you can utilize to act on the day’s greatest stories. Act on the news with POLITICO Pro

WELCOME TO YOUR WEEKLY AG REPORT — and welcome to the last stretch of 2020. We hope everybody had a safe and pleased Thanksgiving. Your host is consuming absolutely nothing however remaining turkey, cranberry sauce, packing and pumpkin pie today. Legislators have a lot of leftovers on their plate this month, too. So let’s have a look at the greatest products they’ll need to end up prior to the brand-new year …

The primary entrée: With coronavirus relief talks efficiently frozen till 2021, the No. 1 task for Congress over the next 2 weeks is preventing a federal government shutdown. It’s safe to state that letting the lights head out at federal firms in the middle of pandemic and a governmental shift would be a catastrophe. Legislators have till Dec. 11, when a stopgap costs expense ends.

— Indications of development? Negotiators recently agreed on how to slice up the discretionary budget amongst the 12 costs that money different departments. They’re keeping the numbers under covers, however the last Agriculture-FDA financing level should not be much of a surprise, as we flagged for Pros. (Both your home and Senate proposed some $23 billion for food, farm and rural programs, and appropriators in each chamber primarily avoided questionable ag policy riders.)

— The tough part, as constantly, will be dealing with the yearly battle over financing for President Donald Trump’s border wall and other partisan fights. If absolutely nothing else, Congress can punt the due date a couple of days or weeks down the roadway by passing another substitute procedure.

Likewise on the menu: Your house prepares to vote today on a marijuana legalization bill that would ditch federal charges on marijuana and expunge some rap sheets. The legislation is anticipated to pass– and after that run straight into a Senate buzzsaw, per Pro Marijuana’ Natalie Fertig.

— Do not forget the grains: Congress likewise deals with a Dec. 11 due date to reauthorize parts of the grain requirements law. The Senate just recently passed a five-year extension that would permit USDA to set marketing requirements for crops like corn, soybeans and wheat and to money examinations of grain deliveries through user costs. Your house is set up to use up the bipartisan measure on Wednesday.

And obviously, President-elect Joe Biden’s shift continues apace. The inbound POTUS called a handful of his choices for prominent Cabinet posts (Secretary of State, Treasury, and so on) and prevented much reaction from either side. Remarkably, it may be more difficult for Biden to keep everybody pleased when he selects a Farming secretary, provided the extreme lobbying by moderates and progressives for their particular competitors.

The jockeying over who needs to run USDA is the very first skirmish in between those who desire the department under Biden to hew near the status quo and concentrate on standard farm and rural concerns, versus others who desire a more enthusiastic program– like employing farmers to handle environment modification, reinforcing antitrust enforcement and positioning much more focus on nutrition policy and anti-hunger efforts. The New York Times has another look at the tug-of-war.

Broad view: The post-Thanksgiving legal session each year is generally a high-pressure sprint to money the federal government and finish up other incomplete organization prior to the vacations. However in 2020 it’s all unfolding versus a background of increasing coronavirus cases and a rough, bitter shift of power from Trump to Biden. That might in theory assist congressional mediators by keeping them out of the spotlight– however most likely, it simply makes the next month more complex.

DELIGHTED MONDAY, NOV. 30! Mentioning leftovers, your host valued these concepts for what to do with all that extra turkey (consisting of “turkey bacon bombs.”) Send out ideas to [email protected] and @ryanmccrimmon, and follow us @Morning_Ag.

FOOD MARKET STEELED FOR SECOND COVID WAVE: The start of the pandemic in March required food manufacturers, suppliers and sellers to quickly revamp their operations and rewire their supply chains. Now those services state they’re better gotten ready for the present tidal bore of coronavirus cases throughout the nation, your host reports.

Amongst the preparations: Shops were long earlier updated with plexiglass barriers, physical spacing standards in aisles and broadened sanitation procedures. Consumers are purchasing a lot more food online, consisting of low-income households that are significantly able to utilize food stamps to purchase groceries online. Meatpacking plants, hotspots for Covid-19 break outs previously this year, are investing greatly on protective equipment, screening and even algorithms to track regional infections around their centers.

However, however, however: There are indications of the supply chain disturbances that marked the early days of the pandemic– consisting of images of empty shop racks and per-customer limitations on basics like bathroom tissue and cleansing items.

— “We are becoming aware of sellers putting limitations [on] particular items, however this is a momentary technique to suppress need,” stated Heather Garlich, senior vice president at FMI, the food market association previously referred to as the Food Marketing Institute.

— Dining establishments continue to lay off employees or close store, as financial rescue programs lapse and Congress declines to action in. Significant suppliers like Sysco have actually attempted to assist having a hard time dining establishments by supplying more versatility on order sizes.

— Looking forward, the wider market is pressing federal government authorities to focus on important food and ag employees when a vaccine is all set (after healthcare employees and others on the cutting edge).

Another trademark of the pandemic: Cravings is increasing throughout the nation as the pandemic worsens and the financial fallout accumulate. The Washington Post reports that more Americans are going starving now than at any point this year, and specialists state it’s most likely the worst year on record, considering that the Census Bureau began collecting similar home information in 1998.

TRUMP COULD LEAVE BIDEN AN RFS MESS: The EPA appears most likely to miss out on today’s legal due date for releasing 2021 biofuel mixing requirements under the Sustainable Fuel Requirement. That might produce a headache for Biden’s EPA group, which will require to make fast choices about mixing volumes for a compliance year currently in development, Pro Energy’s Eric Wolff writes this a.m.

What to do about waivers: The brand-new administration will likewise need to handle the 41 ask for mixing exemptions from little oil refiners that have actually been dealing with weak fuel need throughout the pandemic.

With time going out for the Trump administration, the EPA might be more concentrated on settling other guidelines than rebooting a battle over ethanol. The company did send out a proposed blending rule to the White Home for evaluation in Might, however it was established in a pre-Covid world and needs significant modifications, per market sources.

” Something that’s clear: With all the other things that’s going on, the RFS does not appear to be a top priority,” stated one refining market executive. “There’s an opportunity this administration not does anything else on this program.”

Next year would not be the very first time ethanol providers and gas refiners have actually needed to take their finest guess on mixing requirements. The Obama administration provided its last guideline for 2014 through 2016 just in late 2015. However refiners state the stakes for 2021 are greater, as a number of the market’s plants are teetering. 6 refineries have actually closed completely, and others have actually shuttered a minimum of briefly.

Geoff Cooper, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, stated there are “conspiracy theories” that the Trump administration may toss refiners a bone on its method out the door. “That would clearly break a few of the current court orders and break the law, however it would be delegated the brand-new administration to clean up that up,” Cooper stated.

TRUMP DEMOLISHES THE TURKEY VOTE: The president roasted Biden throughout the greatest turkey-farming areas in the U.S., fattening his electoral margins in each of the top 20 congressional districts ranked by the variety of turkeys offered, according to a contrast of USDA information and election returns. It’s yet another indication of Trump’s political appeal in rural America, and a repeat of his dominant proving in those very same districts in 2016, writes POLITICO’s Ximena Bustillo.

Plume in his cap: The president likewise brought 4 of the top five turkey-producing states, though he lost in Minnesota, the country’s No. 1 turkey center. Still, he won the 3 Minnesota districts that offer the bulk of the state’s birds– consisting of the 7th District, which is without a doubt the greatest turkey provider in the nation, with nearly 30 million offered in 2017.

— The district’s pro-Trump wave likewise assisted Republican politician opposition Michelle Fischbach take down Home Ag Chair Collin Peterson, though the ag sector invested greatly in backing Peterson.

Trump’s farmer-friendly rhetoric and federal ag programs like coronavirus relief payments assisted reinforce his image amongst turkey manufacturers. Sarah Anderson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, likewise mentioned market assistance for the current USMCA offer– a top priority for turkey exporters who count Canada and particularly Mexico as their leading consumers.

RACE ROUNDUP: Yes, election outcomes are still being called– almost a month considering that Election Day. That consists of the contest in between Rep. T.J. Cox, a freshman Democrat on the Home Farming Committee, and previous GOP Rep. David Valadao, a dairy farmer who lost his seat to Cox 2 years earlier.

— Valadao has actually directly beat Cox in the greatly farming Central Valley district, the 3rd Republican win in a California district that Democrats had actually simply turned in 2018, per POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White.

From the ‘Every vote matters’ department: The race to change retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack boiled down to simply 6 votes (!) out of almost 400,000 that were cast in the southeastern Iowa district– making it the closest Home election in the country.

— Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks leads Democrat Rita Hart by a half-dozen votes following a recount that ended on Saturday. A state board is anticipated to license the outcomes today, the AP reports.

Still waiting: Home Ag member Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) was leading previous Republican politician Rep. Claudia Tenney by 13 votes in a rematch of their 2018 race, while objected to tallies were being examined in court, the Utica Observer-Dispatch writes.

EU PARLIAMENT BACKS U.S. LOBSTER OFFER: European legislators voted to end tariffs on American fresh and frozen lobsters as part of a mini-accord in between Brussels and Washington. It’s more of a handshake offer than a free-trade contract, however the relocation needs to assist U.S. lobstermen who have actually struggled to take on their Canadian competitors, who deal with lower EU tariffs under a different bilateral trade offer, POLITICO’s Jakob Hanke Vela reports.

How it works: In other words, the EU will drop its lobster tasks on all WTO members, while the U.S. will ditch tariffs on WTO members for particular items that are more greatly made in Europe, consisting of particular processed meals.

CHINA STILL LAGGING STAGE ONE AG IMPORT TARGETS: The partial trade offer that worked in February assured that China would purchase about $36.6 billion worth of U.S. farm items. However since October, Beijing was less than midway to reaching that turning point with simply 2 months left in the year, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Huge year ahead? Still, USDA recently stated it anticipates near-record ag exports in financial 2021 (which began Oct. 1), sustained by a rise of sales to China if trade stress ease and the pandemic ultimately subsides. The Food and Environment Reporting Network has more.

— The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is backing Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) for your home Farming chairmanship, mentioning his efforts to offer Covid-19 defenses for farmworkers and broaden preservation programs, along with his management of the Hispanic Caucus farming job force throughout 2018 farm expense settlements. Read the group’s letter.

— Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) swore to “continue constructing agreement” in the next Congress on antitrust enforcement in farming, particularly cautioning about the enormous space in beef rates brought by animals manufacturers and meatpackers, in a Q&A post on Medium. There’s bipartisan momentum for challenging anticompetitive practices in the farm sector, and Biden consultants have actually stated it will belong to the inbound administration’s program.

— The EPA launched a draft examination of glyphosate’s prospective effect on threatened types and important environments, finding that the extensively utilized weedkiller is “most likely to negatively impact” more than 2,400 types and environments. That indicates more regulative modifications might be ahead for the questionable herbicide, writes DTN Progressive Farmer.

— Countless farmers in India are opposing a farming procedure they state will annihilate crop rates by permitting the federal government to stop purchasing their grain at ensured rates, requiring them to offer to big agribusinesses for less revenue. The AP has more.

— Something to chew on: The New Republic has a not-so-flattering take a look at Thanksgiving and the policy challenges behind the meals, consisting of a getting worse environment crisis and variations within farming. Read it here.

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