Key House Republican says he’s considering climate bill
The Senate could vote soon on the Growing Climate Solutions Act, a bill intended to speed the development of ag carbon markets, but it’s not yet clear what the House will do with the legislation.
Rep. Glenn Thompson, the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, has been strongly critical of the bill but tells Agri-Pulse that he’s listening to its advocates.
“I'm kind of tearing it apart right now, looking at the technical aspects of it,” Thompson, R-Pa., said. He said a “big part” of what the bill does is “create more government.” The GCSA would authorize USDA to certify technical advisers and credit verifiers.
The bill’s lead House sponsor, Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger, tells Agri-Pulse it could get consideration in the House Ag Committee “very, very soon.” Spanberger chairs the subcommittee that oversees conservation programs.
For more on that bill and this week’s ag policy agenda, read our Washington Week Ahead
House Dems seek changes in GSP trade law
House Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee have introduced a bill to reauthorize the Generalized System of Preferences — a program that allows developing countries to avoid some duties on exports to the U.S. — through Dec. 31, 2024.
But House Democrats, led by Trade Subcommittee Chairman and Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, want to add provisions to require recipient countries to meet new labor and environmental standards in order to participate.
The GSP expired Jan. 1, but the bill would make the program’s benefits retroactive.
Blumenauer said in a statement that the proposed changes to the GSP and other trade programs “are an important step toward remedying long-standing program inefficiencies and aligning our trade policies to better serve the needs of American workers and global communities.”
US corn and sorghum exports to China stay strong in early June
U.S. exporters continued to ship corn and sorghum to China at a strong pace in the week of June 4-10, according to the latest weekly trade data out of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
The U.S. shipped a total of about 1.7 million metric tons of corn during the week, with China again the primary destination. China took 615,000 and Japan about 550,000 tons, according to the FAS report.
China was again the only export destination for U.S. sorghum exports from June 4-10; the U.S. shipped 116,000 tons of sorghum to China for the week.
Take note: China is still importing pork from the U.S., but Mexico was the biggest destination for shipments in the seven-day period. The U.S. shipped 15,600 tons of pork to Mexico and 8,800 tons to China.
Courtesy of office of Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va.
Vilsack: Rural broadband critical for carbon sequestration practices
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says broadband will be crucial for farmers to quantify carbon sequestration practices on farms.
Vilsack visited with farmers in central Virginia Friday with Democrat Abigail Spanberger, chair of the House Ag Committee’s Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee.
“Appropriate broadband speeds (when it) comes to download speeds, will be absolutely essential to be able to verify, certify, and quantify carbon sequestration capacity through farms like this,” Vilsack told reporters.
By the way: During Vilsack's visit, Spanberger said farmers raised concerns about President Joe Biden’s proposal to tax capital gains at death, effectively ending the stepped-up basis for inherited assets. Spanberger tells Agri-Pulse she’s working to make sure the special protections and provisions that have allowed family farms to stay within families continue.
Under Biden’s proposal, taxes owed on farm assets would be deferred as long as the family keeps it in operation.
Senate Ag readies for cattle market hearing
The Senate Agriculture Committee is set to dive into market transparency from cattle to consumer prices in a Wednesday hearing.
Producer groups have pressured Capitol Hill on the subject recently, arguing packer profit margins have increased. While there are a lot of different opinions from groups on what a bill to address the issue could look like, Nebraska Republican Deb Fischer thinks a consensus can be reached.
“I think we will get together, my colleagues and I, Sen. (Chuck Grassley) and I, to get a bill to move forward,” Fischer told Agri-Pulse, clarifying it was a bipartisan effort.
Fischer has introduced a bill with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon that would establish regional cash minimums. Sen. Grassley’s bill with Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., would require meat processors to purchase a minimum of 50% of weekly volume of beef slaughter on the spot market.
By the way: The hearing is expected to include testimony from three economists and representatives from producer groups. According to sources, invites went out to Rabobank animal protein analyst Dustin Aherin, Kansas State ag economics professor Glynn Tonsor, University of Missouri rural sociology associate professor Mary Hendrickson, Kansas beef producer Mark Gardiner, and South Dakota auctioneer Justin Tupper.
Gardiner, the chairman of U.S. Premium Beef, and Tupper, who runs St. Onge Livestock in western South Dakota, will testify on behalf of producer groups; Gardiner on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Tupper on behalf of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.
He said it: “Pollination plays a vital role in the health of our national forests and grasslands, which provide forage, fish and wildlife, timber, water, mineral resources, and recreational opportunities, as well as enhanced economic development opportunities, for communities across Wisconsin.” — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, in a proclamation for national Pollinator Week from June 21-27.
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