Democratic leaders have made it official: A continuing resolution that’s needed to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1 will include a provision to increase the debt limit. 
“Addressing the debt limit is about meeting obligations the government has already made, like the bipartisan emergency COVID relief legislation from December as well as vital payments to Social Security recipients and our veterans,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a joint statement. 
Republicans won’t support the increase, saying it is needed to accommodate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion Build Back Better spending plan.
“Democrats do not get to ram through radical, far-left policies on party-line votes, brag about how they are transforming the country, but then demand bipartisan cover for racking up historic debt,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a tweet following the Schumer-Pelosi announcement. 
US, UK discuss free trade agreement
The Biden administration may not be done yet with its review of the U.S.-UK negotiations for a free trade agreement during the Trump administration, but the prospect of an FTA was the topic of discussion when U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai spoke to British Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan Monday.
Tai and Trevelyan, the Office of the USTR said in a statement, “discussed USTR’s ongoing review of the U.S.-UK free trade agreement negotiations to evaluate how a potential agreement could support the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader Build Back Better agenda.”
The U.S. ag sector wants to sell a lot more rice, cheese, poultry and other commodities to the British, and an FTA is seen as necessary to reduce tariffs and remove restrictions.
Economists: Biofuel demand changing soy market
The soaring demand for renewable diesel driven by California’s low-carbon fuel standard is altering the politics of biofuels while squeezing food companies who rely on vegetable oils, economists say. 
Renewable diesel, unlike biodiesel, can be used interchangeably with conventional diesel. RD plants “are being built by big petroleum companies who will put those plants, if not inside the gate of the refinery, next to the refinery,” Seth Meyer, USDA’s chief economist, said Monday at the annual Ag Outlook Forum in Kansas City, Missouri, sponsored by Agri-Pulse and the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. 
The oil companies’ investment in renewable diesel is changing the “political dynamic” when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, Meyer said. 
An economist for the American Soybean Association, Scott Gerlt, said demand for renewable diesel will continue to grow but likely fall short of the 7 billion gallons of production capacity that’s now on the drawing board. That is more than California needs and would crash the state’s market, he said. For comparison, the U.S. has about 2.5 billion gallons of biodiesel capacity. 
Federal government needs to coordinate diet-related efforts, GAO says
Reducing overlap and improving coordination of the more than 200 federal efforts related to diet could improve health outcomes across the U.S., a new report from the Government Accountability Office says.
Federal agencies “have not effectively managed fragmentation of diet-related efforts or the potential for overlap and duplication,” GAO said. One prominent example, which became clear during the effort to rewrite the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is that “agencies have not fully addressed important gaps in scientific knowledge where research is sparse, including on healthy diets for infants and young children,” GAO said.
“This GAO report highlights the need to reimagine and reorganize our efforts to address diet-related disease,” said House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., criticizing the current “scattershot” approach. 
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dangers of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, all of which could be prevented with a healthy diet and other behaviors like exercise.”
The report said 42% of U.S. adults – or approximately 100 million people – qualify as obese.
Brazilian farmers start planting next year’s soybean crop
Brazilian farmers have begun planting the country’s next soybean crop, but slowly and despite widespread heat and less than ideal soil moisture, according to the consulting firm AgRural. Farmers in the southern state of Paraná began two weeks ago and planting began last week in the Center-South, although most are waiting for better weather conditions.
The firm says about 0.1% of acreage was planted as of Thursday last week, but also stressed that most planting does not begin in earnest until October.
“With maps showing predominantly dry and hot weather until the turn of the month in much of the Center-South, most producers tend to wait for an improvement in the forecast to accelerate planting, thus avoiding having to replant,“ the firm said.
FSIS says labeling of plant-based products is out of its jurisdiction
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says it does not have the jurisdiction to regulate the labeling of plant-based products.
In a 2019 petition, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association asked the agency to limit the use of “meat” and “beef” to just animal products, effectively precluding the use of those terms by plant-based or cell-cultured products.
But FSIS said under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating the labeling of such products. And, FSIS said, it is currently taking requesting comments on the status of cell-cultured meat.
The agency stated in its response to USCA that when it becomes aware a non-animal product is being labeled as “meat” or “beef,” it notifies the FDA.
EPA evaluates dicamba use as producers look to next year’s growing season
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan says farmers will be able to buy dicamba-related products for next year’s growing season. But he cautioned the agency is still receiving and analyzing new incident information about use, since the Trump administration OK’d its use for five years in October 2020.
“EPA is extremely concerned about these reports and is taking steps to better understand the nature and severity of these incidents in order to assess the sufficiency in the 2020 decision,” Regan said during the annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
NASDA President Ryan Quarles hopes state ag directors are included in the continued review process.

“Whether it is dicamba-related products or not, we’ve got to make sure crop technology is adopted through proper regulatory frameworks and not the court system,” Quarles told Agri-Pulse.
He said it: “I’m from Georgia, I can’t tell you who I am in ten minutes.” — American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, commenting on the amount of time he had to address NASDA meeting attendees.

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