September 23, 2020

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CDFA submits hemp plan to USDA
CDFA has finalized its hemp plan and yesterday submitted it to USDA for review.
“That's a very important piece for bringing some certainty to the hemp growers here in the state,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in August.
In the proposal, CDFA is maintaining its 30-day testing window required ahead of a harvest. USDA’s interim rule provides a narrow 15-day window. Growers have complained about the struggle to meet just a 30-day window due to backlogs for labs and the amount of labor and time needed to harvest the crop.
In January, Ross told Agri-Pulse she was optimistic USDA would revise its proposal.

Perdue disappointed in specialty crop signups for CFAP
During a United Fresh conference yesterday, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue urged specialty crop growers to sign up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
“We’ve frankly been a little disappointed in the specialty crop sector,” said Perdue. “We had anticipated more in CFAP-1.”
He recognized that many of the growers have not engaged with the Farm Service Agency before and may have trouble setting up an account.
“We don't want any of them left out if they are eligible,” he said.
Newsom and cabinet to host Climate Action Day
Nearly two weeks after vowing to “fast-track” state climate policies, Gov. Gavin Newsom is hosting a California Climate Action Day tomorrow.
The governor’s office has not indicated if he will be making any new announcements, but shared that Newsom will discuss how California “can deliver on our aggressive climate change agenda.”
Members of the governor’s cabinet will moderate panel discussions on energy, wildfires, water resilience and financing. A discussion on public health issues will include Karen Ross, along with CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. The panelists participating in the talks range from state and city lawmakers to foreign diplomats and an Apple executive.

Cheri Bustos
White House, Democrats reach deal to fund farm payments
Rural Democrats are expressing relief at a deal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached with Republicans to ensure USDA can continue making farm payments in the coming months. A stopgap funding bill that includes a provision to replenish USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. account passed the House easily Tuesday evening, 359-57.
Democrats got a prohibition on making payments from CCC to refiners but couldn’t get Republicans to agree on other restrictions.
The reaction: Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Pelosi’s deal, which also extends nutrition assistance, “ensures that both American farmers and families will have the support they need as we continue to navigate COVID-19.”
First-term Iowa Rep. Cindy Axne, who was among the Democrats pushing for the CCC funding, said, “While I am still frustrated that vital aid for Iowa’s farmers was left out of this extension of government funding in the first place, I am glad that House leadership heard my concerns and reversed course on today’s continuing resolution.”
If not resolved, the CCC issue also wouldn’t have helped House Ag Chairman Collin Peterson in his tight re-election race. “Congress will not prioritize the people of western Minnesota until Pelosi is out of power, and since Peterson will not remove her, we must remove him,” his GOP challenger, Michelle Fischbach, said earlier Tuesday.
For more on the agreement and the CCC, be sure and read our Agri-Pulse newsletter. We also have an in-depth look at the differences between Joe Biden and President Donald Trump on trade policy.
EPA: No significant risk to children from chlorpyrifos
A new risk assessment from EPA concludes there are no risks of concern to children’s health from chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide that environmental and farmworker groups have been trying to get off the market for years.
“There are no residential post-application risk estimates of concern for adults or children with or without” a federal ten-fold safety factor to protect children, EPA said in its draft human health risk assessment.
That assessment was criticized by the environmental law firm Earthjustice, which said EPA was ignoring decades of science showing chlorpyrifos permanently harms children’s brains.
EPA’s draft ecological risk assessment identified “potential risks of concern” for mammals, birds, fish and terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates.
Senators want rice removed from tariff exemptions
The U.S. gives a lot of tariff exemptions to developing nations to help bolster fragile economies, but several U.S. senators are asking the Trump administration to exclude rice from its General System of Preferences program because of the growing impact on U.S. farmers.
“We understand GSP is meant to be a win-win for both the U.S. and our trading partners, but unfortunately in the case of rice, our biggest competitors on the world stage have taken advantage of the program for far too long,” the senators said in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
“Coupled with our competitors’ high and rising domestic subsidies, these unfair advantages are having negative implications for our rice farmers, millers, merchants and allied businesses, who are losing domestic market share”
Republican Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and John Cornyn of Texas all signed the letter.
Administration fails to block NEPA lawsuit
A federal judge is allowing a lawsuit to move forward challenging the Trump administration’s reforms to the federal environmental review process.
Without providing any reasoning, U.S District Judge James P. Jones denied a motion to dismiss the case brought by a collection of environmental groups in Virginia. The reforms are intended to accelerate reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.
NCBA and the American Farm Bureau Federation have intervened in the case on the side of the administration.
At least three other lawsuits challenging the NEPA rule are proceeding in other courts.
He said it. “It's just, it's, it's totally hypocritical and unethical, dishonest and every other negative term you can think of.” — Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., to reporters Tuesday on Senate Republicans’ plan to vote on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Steve Davies, Bill Tomson and Ben Nuelle contributed to this report.

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