Latest News From POLICY

USDA Announces Second Round of Debt Relief to "Distressed" Borrowers

This round is for those who were delinquent on a direct loan as of Sept. 2020, restricted a loan after Feb. 2020 through FSA, or those who owe more interest on a direct loan than the level of the principal.

3 Topics Producers Should be Tracking in the Farm Bill

“We don’t need to rewrite the entire farm bill,” Rep. Thompson (R-Pa.) says. “We’re comfortable with many parts of the 2018 bill and there aren’t many tweaks, instead things we need to protect and invest in."

Cargo Ships Leave West Coast Ports As Labor Talks Show 'Little to No' Progress

Rail strikes ran headlines in late 2022 and came to an end in December when Congress passed an agreement. But there may be another strike looming in the transportation sector unless the Biden administration changes pace.

Is There Anything New from the Latest Farm Bill Debate?

We need to know the final funding level in the debt limit debate before there are can be any attempt to mix and match farm bill titles and funds.

Senators Reintroduce the Next Generation Fuels Act

Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO, says the fuel industry has only “scratched the surface” of ethanol potential. She feels this act will help unleash ethanol’s capabilities.

What Bodies of Water are Considered WOTUS?

The EPA’s new definition of Waters of the U.S. takes effect Monday. Here's a rundown of what is considered WOTUS and, therefore, subject to federal regulation.

US Importers Carried the Burden of Chinese Tariffs Placed by President Trump

Former President Donald Trump placed tariffs on more than $300 billion in Chinese goods during his presidency, raising costs for American companies, according to the ITC.

Who Defines WOTUS? It Might Come Down to the President or Supreme Court

The House last week has already passed its WOTUS rule resolution and it’s up for a Senate vote. The White House has pledged a veto of the measure, should it reach President Joe Biden’s desk.

Working In DC Is Less Like The West Wing, More Like Veep

There’s drama and comedy in politics says ARA’s Hunter Carpenter. 

Decision Is In: STB Approves Acquisition of Kansas City Southern Railway Company by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited

STB Chairman Martin Oberman hosted a press conference—the first of its kind that he said anyone could remember—to explain more behind the decision, which approves the first major merger in 25 years. 

Radical Changes Coming in USDA: FSA Administrator Talks About Marching Orders from Equity Commission Report

USDA's Equity Commission recently recommended sweeping changes across the entire government agency. What can farmers expect to see?

King Corn’s Sleepy Reign?

The writing may be on the wall for a transformation, but a pivot doesn’t have to be a 180° turn.

USDA’s Cover Crop Program Would be Made Permanent through Biden's Budget

To put cover crop investments in motion, NRCS would draw on federal, state and private conservationists to hire “thousands” of employees for rural America.

The Impact Of ARA Policy Priorities & Fly-In

The ARA public policy committee convened the day before the Capitol Hill visits to confirm these top priorities for 2023

Is There Movement On The Right To Repair?

Under the MOU, both parties have the right to walk away from the agreement if any state or federal right-to-repair legislation is enacted.

How Can The Farm Bill Better Reflect Farmers? House Ag Committee Released A Road Map

An early look at the report shows the House Ag Committee could push for improvements to the current safety net within Title I of the farm bill and move away from relying on Congress to approve ad hoc disaster aid.

Push for Permanent Disaster Aid? Sorghum Producers Seek to Secure Stronger Safety Net in the Farm Bill

As farmers in the Plains continue to see losses from drought, groups like NSP are discussing during Commodity Classic either permanent disaster aid or other changes to strengthen the safety net within Farm Bill.

ASA CEO: Renewable Diesel Could Drive a New Era for Soybean Demand, But EPA Needs to Rethink the RFS

ASA policy priorities during Commodity Classic focus on everything from the Farm Bill to EPA's recent Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) proposal, while also pushing for increased market access through trade. 

US Nears USMCA Dispute With Mexico Concerning GMO Corn

By requesting consultations, the U.S. Trade Representative began a process to come to a settlement on ag biotechnology imports to Mexico. If a settlement is not reached, the issue will move to a full-blown trade dispute.

Is the U.S. Becoming Less Competitive in Growing Wheat? A New Warning Sign for the Future of Wheat

BASF announced it’s halting the development of hybrid wheat in North America, a move NAWG fears could ultimately drive wheat acres out of the U.S., unless more public and private investments into R&D are made.

John Phipps: If China Sides With Russia, The Move Could Cost U.S. Farmers Beyond Trade

Russia badly needs to replace expended and outdated Soviet arms while China needs Russian energy. That is compelling math. This is bad news not just for the heroic people of Ukraine, but Europe and the US.

Will Bird Flu Become a Recurring Issue Each Year?

Egg prices peaked in December at around $5.43, then decreased 52% to $2.61 per dozen in February thanks to bird flu. Some speculate this could become a trend based on a hypothesis in how the disease is transmitted.

Battle For Ukraine: The Untold Farming, People And Infrastructure Stories From The Front Lines

“When Ukraine fails, in terms of their ability to produce agricultural products, the world becomes less safe,” says Howard Buffett, global philanthropist and Illinois farmer.

Is Russia's Threat to Nix Black Sea Grain Deal a Potential Ploy to Push Wheat Prices Higher?

Russia is now saying it will only extend its Black Sea grain deal if sanctions are lifted on its own agricultural products. The deal, which was brokered last year, allowed for safe passage of Ukrainian ag products. 

New Conservation Funding and CRP Took Priority in Senate Ag Hearing

"The prioritization of resource concerns must be left to the local level where producers decide how they can best address their unique and varied landscapes and needs," said Sen. John Boozman.

John Phipps: Is the World On the Verge of Running Out of Phosphates?

Morocco is sitting on 75-85% of proven global phosphate reserves, but projections of phosphate depletion span from 50 to 300 years. John Phipps explains why the concerns about peak phosphate production may be overblown.

Three Days On the Job, NCGA's New CEO is Pushing for Trade Dispute Settlement Over Mexico's GMO Corn Ban

Mexico is accusing the U.S. of playing politics over the GMO corn issue, but NCGA CEO Neil Caskey says if Mexico wants non-GMO, they'll need to pay a premium for it instead of violating a trade pact already in place. 

US Trade Rep Tai to Discuss Biden's Trade Agenda Today

"In this current situation, the traditional approach to free trade agreements — which isn't just tariff cuts, but that they do tariff cuts on a fully comprehensive basis — isn't what we need right now,” Tai says.

EPA’s Year-Round E15 Proposed Rule Pushes Sales into 2024

"This proposal, while well-intended, still leaves the country with a patchwork of regulations that prevents the nation’s driving public from enjoying the full benefits of biofuels," said Sen. Deb Fischer.

River Rebound: Is the Shipping Crisis on the Mississippi Ending?

With improved snowpack in areas such as Montana and precipitation through the midsection of the country late last fall and this winter, the Mississippi River and its tributaries could be back to normal by this spring. 

8 State Requests for Year-Round E15 Reviewed by US Budget Office

Without the Office of Management and Budget approval, states will be unable to sell E15 fuel in the summer months.

One Year After Russia's Invasion of Ukraine: How Has World Trade Realigned?

A year ago, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine injected uncertainty about global grain supplies into the market. Today, initial concerns have been squashed by the reality of record exports from the Black Sea Region.

Vilsack Signals USMCA Case is Coming on GMO Corn Situation in Mexico

The U.S. appears to be pursuing a case via USMCA on the matter: “That is going to happen, because we're essentially in a circumstance where this is not a situation that lends itself to a compromise,” Vilsack said.

Top 10 Charts from the Kickoff of USDA's Ag Outlook Forum

Despite weather trends, planting projections for 2023 find corn, wheat and soybeans similar to 2022, for a combined 228 million acres—a 3% increase from 2022.

Supreme Court May Soon Announce Prop 12 Decision; Here's Why All Producers Should Care

“If California were to win this Supreme Court case, there’s nothing stopping the state from saying, for example, you can only sell corn in California if it’s harvested with an electric combine,” Dillard says.

Is the Biden Administration's Finally Making Some Progress on Their Trade Agenda?

Is the Biden Administration's trade agenda finally making some progress? Farm groups are hopeful after key appointments are confirmed and some recent success stories on the trade front.

Commodity Programs Might See a 12% Cut in the Proposed $1 Trillion Farm Bill

SNAP, which historically receives the greatest amount of farm bill funding, will see an 82% increase of a quarter-trillion-dollars.

U.S. Debt Will Likely Become a Major Issue in Washington

“Over the long term, our projections suggest that changes in fiscal policy must be made to address the rising costs of interest and mitigate other adverse consequences of high and rising debt," CBO Director Swagel said

DOJ Weighs in on Right to Repair Court Case

A filing Tuesday by the Department of Justice urged a federal court in Illinois not to throw out a class action suit that consolidated several farmers’ lawsuits against John Deere over repair restrictions.

How Long Does it Take to Write a Farm Bill?

The House will take the reins in writing farm bill 2023. House Ag Chairman Thompson says the pen is “firmly” in his hand, with few tweaks to be made from 2018. The Senate says their version is nearly complete.

Destination Morocco: With Expanding U.S. Soybean Processing Industry it's a Growth Market for Meal

With the expansion of the U.S. soybean processing industry due to the push for green fuels farmers are looking for a new home for the extra meal...and they're finding it in Morocco.

Crop Insurance, Production Costs, ERP Among Key Topics at Senate Ag Farm Bill Hearing

A Senate Ag Committee hearing Thursday on the new farm bill raised a issue that is now evident: the Title 1 farm bill safety net can no longer deal with the current ag environment.

Mexico Says U.S. GMO Corn Will be Imported if it Passes a Test

Mexico's new decree will indicate that if U.S. GMO corn passes the sanitary filters of the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), it will have no problem entering Mexico.

The Cost of a Farm Bill: 2023 Row Crop Priorities

The 2018 farm bill was stamped with a $428 billon price tag when passed. With the bill set to expire on Sept. 30, here’s a breakdown of the topics ag groups look to push on the negotiating table.

Will Electric Vehicles Actually Drive Down Prices at the Pump?

Has U.S. gasoline demand peaked? And what will more electric vehicles mean for gasoline prices down the road? John Phipps looks into the issue in John's World.

House Reps Push for Seed Tech and Autonomy in 2024 Budget

In hopes of solidifying American ag’s competitive role in global markets, 27 House members signed a letter to the White House, stressing the importance of ag research investments in the 2024 budget.

Biden Officials Pressed on Mexico Corn Trade Issue at Farm Bill Hearing

“With 90% of corn acreage in the U.S. being planted to biotech seeds and Mexico being the number one purchaser of U.S. corn, I'm concerned this decree is not being met with urgency it deserves,” said Sen. Grassley.

Stepped-Up Basis Leaning in Favor of Rural America on House Ways and Means Panel

With Republicans now in control of the House, Rep. RandyFeenstra (R-Iowa) said he wants to introduce legislation shielding the stepped-up basis and like-kind exchanges.

USDA Withholds the Names of Farm Subsidy Payment Recipients

“It’s a mystery as to why the USDA began to hide the names of many recipients,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs for the Environmental Working Group.

FDA Looks to Consolidate its Food Policy and Regulation Divisions

The revamped foods program would absorb the functions of Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Office of Food Policy and Response, as well as some of the work of the Office of Regulatory Affairs.