Washington Week Ahead: Focus set on GMOs, data, immigration reform

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, April 28, 2014 - Lawmakers return today after a two-week recess and are set to discuss genetically modified crops (GMOs), big data, and immigration reform among other issues.

Today, the House Modern Agriculture Caucus will discuss the potential impacts of mandatory labeling for genetically engineered food. The event is being held by National C-FAR, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, the American Society of Plant Biologists, and the Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science Societies. Speakers include Alison Van Eenannaam, of the Department of Animal Science at UC-Davis; Sally Mackenzie, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Jorge Dubcovsky, UC-Davis. The panelists are expected to discuss how GMO products are used around the world and why states are considering legislation to mandate labels for GMO products.

On Tuesday, the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics will hold a forum to discuss “Increasing U.S. Agriculture's Competitive Edge: How Do Public Data and Big Data Fit?” J.B. Penn, chief economist at Deere & Co., will give the keynote address, and Sara Wyant, president of Agri-Pulse Communications, will moderate. The panel will include Mary Bohman, administrator of USDA Economic Research Service; Bob Young, chief economist and deputy executive director of public policy at American Farm Bureau Federation; Mark Harris, chair of the Agricultural Statistics Board at USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service; Ted Crosbie, distinguished science fellow at Monsanto, and Barry Goodwin, professor at North Carolina State University.

The debate will continue this week over an immigration reform package that could lead to legal status for many undocumented farm workers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is set to make comments today on the importance of reform for Virginia's agriculture economy and rural communities. Recently, there has been much back and forth between House Republican leaders and the administration about moving legislation.

Lets Talk Food

Further, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a field hearing Monday in Pennsylvania to focus on the potential impact of the EPA's and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' proposal to define waters of the United States protected under the Clean Water Act.

Also, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will deliver the keynote address at the 151st annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences Monday to focus on various EPA achievements.

The U.S. Capitol's Rotunda will reopen Tuesday after the installation of five layers of safety netting needed for the long-term restoration project of the dome.

The week's tentative events include:

Monday, April 28.

9:00 a.m. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will deliver the keynote address at the 151st annual meeting of National Academy of Sciences at 2101 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C.

9:00 a.m. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a field hearing on “Federal Regulation of Waters: Impacts of Administration Overreach on Local Economies and Job Creation,” in Altoona, Pa.

10:30 a.m. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a media conference call on the importance of immigration reform for Virginia's agriculture economy and rural communities.

12:00 p.m. The House Modern Agriculture Caucus is hosting a briefing on the potential impacts of mandatory labeling for genetically engineered foods in 1300 Longworth.

2:00 p.m. The Senate will convene for a period of morning business.

2:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Crop Progress

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Milk Cost of Production Estimates

5:30 p.m. The Senate will proceed to an executive session to vote on judicial and federal department nominations.

Tuesday, April 29.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack will deliver keynote remarks at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educations Fund Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.

10:00 a.m. The House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture will hold a hearing to review current research and applications of management strategies to control pests and diseases of pollinators in 1300 Longworth.

10:00 a.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Dairy Products - Annual.

3:30 p.m. The Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE) will hold a forum on “Increasing U.S. Agriculture's Competitive Edge: How Do Public Data and Big Data Fit?” in 562 Dirksen. J.B. Penn, chief economist at Deere and Company, will provide the keynote address, and Sara Wyant, president of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., will moderate the panel. The panel will include Mary Bohman, administrator of USDA Economic Research Service; Bob Young, chief economist and deputy executive director of public policy at American Farm Bureau Federation; Mark Harris, chair of the Agricultural Statistics Board at USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service; Ted Crosbie, distinguished science fellow at Monsanto, and Barry Goodwin, professor at North Carolina State University.

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Livestock & Meat Domestic Data

Wednesday, April 30.

9:30 a.m. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service in 124 Dirksen.

10:00 a.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

10:00 a.m. The House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit with hold a hearing on the state of the livestock industry in 1300 Longworth.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

1:00 p.m. The House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on “SBA-created Initiatives: Necessary or Redundant Spending?” in 2360 Rayburn. The purpose of the hearing is to examine if the Small Business Administration (SBA) entrepreneurial programs are duplicative of similar programs.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Broiler Hatchery

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Announcement of Class and Component Prices

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Peanut Stocks and Processing

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: National Dairy Products Sales Report

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Agricultural Prices

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Egg Products

Thursday, May 1.

8:30 a.m. USDA Report: Weekly Export Sales

9:00 a.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

10:00 a.m. The Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation will hold a hearing to examine ways to boost rural economies, in 328A Russell. Scheduled witnesses include Doug O'Brien, USA deputy under secretary for rural development; Dawn Keeley, executive director of Red River Regional Council; and Mark Tilsen, chief executive officer of Native American Natural Foods.

11:00 a.m. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on President Obama's 2014 Trade Policy Agenda, in 215 Dirksen. Scheduled witnesses include United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Michael Froman. 

2:30 p.m. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to review the events that lead to last winter's propane crisis, in 366 Dirksen. Scheduled witnesses include John Zimmerman, 2013 past president, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. 

 

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Dairy Products

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Commodity Costs and Returns

Friday, May 2.

12:00 p.m. USDA will release the 2012 Census of Agriculture full report. 

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Peanut Prices

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