Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are expected to meet again today to continue talks over a new coronavirus stimulus package, but it will be “difficult” to finish before the election, Mnuchin said Wednesday.
The Trump administration and House Democrats are still “far apart” on some issues like liability protection, Mnuchin said Wednesday after an hour-long meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
“One major area of disagreement continues to be that the White House lacks an understanding of the need for a national strategic testing plan,” said Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, in a tweet.
Trump takes bow for ethanol promise in Iowa
The Des Moines International Airport in Iowa was the latest campaign stop Wednesday night for President Donald Trump, where he used a speech to cast himself as the best choice for farmers and corn-based ethanol producers.
Doubling down on a promise that gas stations won’t have to install new pumps to dispense gasoline with the higher 15% ethanol blend, Trump proclaimed: “You can use the pumps. You don’t have to go out and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new pumps.”
Kudlow and Bolsonaro featured in summit next week
The U.S. and Brazil are at odds over ethanol trade, but otherwise the countries have been strengthening trade and political ties during the Trump administration.
VIP representatives for both countries will be taking part in a virtual summit next week. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will be the keynote speaker at the event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Larry Kudlow, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, will be taking part in the first day of the two-day event that’s being described as a vehicle to “deepen bilateral economic cooperation in a post-pandemic world.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Todd Chapman, the U.S. ambassador to Brazil and Nestor Forster, Brazilian ambassador to the U.S., will all be speaking on the second day of the summit.
Advocates fear hunger needs could worsen as winter approaches
As winter moves in over the next few months, food advocates fear hunger needs during the COVID-19 pandemic could only worsen and urge swift passage of a relief bill in Congress.
Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research and Action Center, says the pain for people experiencing hunger right now is real.
“The government has a role to play ... by boosting the benefits" of programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Guardia said during a Bipartisan Policy Center webinar Wednesday. "We need to do something about this before it gets worse."
A Feeding America analysis suggests some 54 million people could go hungry this year alone, which is up from its estimate of 37 million before the pandemic started.
By the way: A newly released study funded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), suggests the success of emergency local food programs depends on cross-sector collaboration, supply chain adaptability and fixing gaps in service to increased risk populations.
China demand propels big corn purchase
The USDA announced Wednesday an export sale of 420,000 metric tons of U.S. corn to China, which is leading foreign demand for the grain amid Chinese efforts to produce more pork and chicken.
“The US Grains Council is pleased time see continued corn purchases by China,” the group’s CEO Ryan LeGrand told Agri-Pulse. “Demand there is strong and US sellers have a crop that is readily available and priced right to fill that demand.”
Outstanding sales of U.S. corn to China as of Oct. 1 totaled about 8.9 million tons, according to USDA data. That amount was zero at this time last year.
USDA also announced Wednesday export sales of 264,000 tons of U.S. soybeans to China.
Pilgrim’s Pride stock jumps on deal
Investors reacted positively to the news that Pilgrim’s Pride has agreed to pay a $110.5 million fine to resolve price-fixing allegations, boosting the stock by nearly 90 cents a share, or 5.7%, after news of the agreement broke early Wednesday.
The share price is still down almost 50% from the beginning of the year. The plea deal means no charges will be brought against the company, which is majority-owned by JBS S.A. Two former CEOs of Pilgrim’s have been indicted as part of the probe.
Phosphogypsum can be used in government roads, EPA says
The Environmental Protection Agency will allow use of phosphogypsum, a waste byproduct of phosphate manufacturing, to be used in government road construction.
The decision was welcomed by The Fertilizer Institute, which made the request. TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch said it “strengthens the industry’s sustainability efforts and long term environmental stewardship.”
Phosphogypsum, which emits radon gas into the atmosphere, is now disposed of in “massive, above-ground piles, called ‘stacks,’” EPA said in a press release. “Each ‘stack’ can span thousands of yards, be higher than a football field, and contain approximately 70 million tons of phosphogypsum.”
“There are more than 60 stacks of phosphogypsum located in 13 different states,” mostly in the Southeast, EPA said in a notice to be published in the Federal Register.
EPA concluded that a TFI risk assessment showed use of phosphogypsum in road construction “will be at least as protective of human health, in the short- and long-term, as stacking,” according to the FR notice.
He said it: “Tell them I’m not in. I can’t take it anymore, Joni.” That was President Donald Trump, acting out feigned frustration with Iowa GOP Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley for calling him too much to talk about ethanol.
“Nobody calls me more on ethanol than Joni and Chuck,” Trump said in a speech in Iowa Wednesday night. “I used to duck their calls.”
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