Climate policy is a top priority this year for President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats. But it's going to be challenging for the House Agriculture Committee to find a bipartisan compromise.
During the first day of the Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Policy Summit, Ag Committee Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., said the panel will focus on helping to develop ag carbon markets by facilitating verification services and implementing “guardrails” to ensure the markets operate fairly.
He also suggested compensating farmers for conservation practices that they’ve already been doing (and which may not be eligible for carbon credits). Scott said he plans to hold a hearing on carbon markets.
But, but, but: The committee’s top Republican, Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, said he believes the government should keep its hands off private markets, and opposes the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which would authorize USDA to certify verification services. He also doesn’t see a need to make payments to the so-called “early adopters,” farmers who have already undertaken conservation practices.
“Congress should not be moving quickly on ideas that have bipartisan opposition, such as USDA-run carbon banks, or legislation like the Growing Climate Solutions Act,” Thompson said.
By the way: Scott encouraged summit attendees to watch the Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground, which promotes regenerative agriculture and links conventional farming practices to environmental degradation.
Read our report on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s summit remarks here.
US, UK trade chiefs discuss FTA talks
The idled free-trade agreement negotiations between the U.S. and UK may not be idled much longer, according to a statement issued Monday by British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.
She spoke to newly sworn in U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai by phone and the two “reflected on the progress made in UK-US Free Trade Agreement negotiations and the importance of continuing to work together to build a closer economic relationship, and agreed to have further discussions,” according to a statement released by the UK government.
The Office of the USTR confirmed that Tai and Truss discussed the USTR’s “ongoing review of the U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement,” in which talks began during the Trump administration.
Ag groups to Senate: Reform H-2A
Leading farm groups are appealing to the Senate to pass a bill to expand the H-2A program and ensure producers have access to more workers. “We must address this workforce crisis threatening farms across the United States so our producers can continue to feed, clothe, and fuel our nation,” the Ag Workforce Coalition says in a letter to Senate leaders.
The letter stops short of endorsing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which passed the House last week and is opposed by the coalition’s largest member, the American Farm Bureau Federation.
But the coalition says the Senate should “put forward” the FWMA’s “ideas and solutions to pass legislation in a bipartisan manner to address our agricultural workforce challenges.”
Vilsack: Japan needs to return to negotiating table
Japan agreed to a more generous deal on U.S. beef exports in the trade pact the two countries implemented about a year ago, but it’s time those terms were improved and talks began for a “phase two” of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday during at Agri-Pulse’s annual Ag & Food Policy Summit.
Strong U.S. beef exports to Japan set off a “safeguard trigger” earlier this month, causing the Japanese tariff to rise from 25.8% to 38.5% for 30 days. Japan agreed under “phase one” of the pact to apply the safeguard trigger (242,000 metric tons) on a yearly basis instead of the riskier quarterly basis, but that’s not good enough anymore, said Vilsack.
“Obviously the phase one (deal) was important to us, but we need to go to the next level,” Vilsack said.
Ag shippers see Canada, US rail merger as positive
The Soy Transportation Coalition says the Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern merger could provide increased service options.
A merger between the two companies was announced Sunday and still has to be approved by the federal Surface Transportation Board.
STC Executive Director Mike Steenhoek said these types of mergers often raise concerns among customers when the two companies have a similar geographical footprint. But in an email, he said, “the two railroads currently have very little service overlap.”
FDA warns companies on marketing CBD products as drugs
The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to two companies for marketing products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, as drugs.
“The products that are the subject of the warning letters issued today have not gone through the FDA drug approval process and are considered unapproved new drugs,” FDA said of the letters sent to Honest Globe and Biolyte Laboratories.
“There has been no FDA evaluation of whether these unapproved drug products are effective for the uses manufacturers claim, what an appropriate dose might be, how they could interact with FDA-approved drugs or other products or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns,” FDA said.
He said it: “On this National Agriculture Day, I remain determined to address racial inequity and create an equitable space for all to participate in the great American enterprise of agriculture” — President Joe Biden, in his proclamation for National Agriculture Day, which is today.
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