Congress is facing a Dec. 3 deadline to avert another government shutdown. That’s when the continuing resolution that’s currently funding the government runs out. But Republicans say they won’t agree to a fiscal 2022 spending deal any time soon. 
The Democratic leaders of the House Appropriations Committee are calling on Republicans to start negotiating with them on a final FY22 spending bill. 
“Given our experience with tough negotiations, we know that both sides will have to make compromises as part of the normal bicameral, bipartisan negotiations that are always part of the conference process,” the Democratic lawmakers said in a joint statement Wednesday.
But the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Richard Shelby of Alabama, told reporters that Congress should pass a new CR that will run into the first quarter of 2022. He said Democrats have yet to agree to protect some critical policy riders.
“When they get serious, I'm sure we'll get serious. We’re not gonna blink,” Shelby said. 
Cattle price discovery bill introduced in House, Senate

Identical, bipartisan legislation to bring more transparency to the cattle market has now been officially introduced in the House and Senate.

Senators who announced legislation last week joined with new supporters to introduce the actual text Wednesday of The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. Meanwhile, in the House, Iowa Reps. Cindy Axne, a Democrat, and Randy Feenstra, a Republican, announced introduction of the same bill.

The legislation would “establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades based on each region’s 18-month average trade to enable price discovery in cattle marketing regions,” according to a summary. It also would prohibit USDA from using confidentiality to justify not reporting “and make clear that USDA must report all Livestock Mandatory Reporting information, and they must do so in a manner that ensures confidentiality.”

The bill’s framework was announced in the Senate Nov. 9.

Mexico releases import regs for US potatoes before Biden meets with NAFTA leaders 
Mexico on Saturday published new phytosanitary requirements for the importation of U.S. potatoes throughout the entire country even though the Mexican government has not yet given the green light for increased market access. The news from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service comes as the White House prepares to welcome Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for meetings today with U.S. President Joe Biden.
Mexico’s top court ruled in April that the government could lift its barrier to imports of fresh U.S. potatoes. But Mexico continues to allow U.S. potatoes to be sold only within 26 kilometers of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Chris Meagher suggested the NAFTA leaders would not be available for a press conference after the meetings at the White House.
Rep. Thompson pushes for USTR to testify on ag trade
Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn Thompson, the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, is pushing for U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to testify on the Biden trade agenda, which GOP lawmakers say needs to be more ambitious.
One hot topic at a House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture hearing Wednesday was port problems that are stymieing U.S. ag exports, and Thompson complained that the Biden administration is too focused on speeding up imports of consumer goods.
GOP goes after Biden on food prices

Senate Republicans cited high food prices in calling on the Biden administration and congressional Democrats Wednesday to halt their attempts to pass the Build Back Better bill, whose price tag for now is $1.75 trillion.

“Inflation is coming for Thanksgiving dinner, making it more expensive than ever before,” Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas, ranking member of the Ag Committee, said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. He noted the latest Consumer Price Index shows an 11.9% increase in the price of meats, poultry, fish, and eggs from a year ago.

He and a handful of other fellow Republicans said the Biden administration has not done enough to address labor shortages and supply chain problems.

Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming called on the administration to allow drivers under 21 years of age to obtain commercial driver’s licenses.

Starbucks: Committed to dairy, working with farms
A top official with Starbucks says the company is committed to working with dairy farmers of all sizes to reduce their carbon emissions — and to keeping milk and other dairy-based product in its stores. 
Starbucks has committed to cutting its supply chain carbon emissions in half by 2030, and some of that reduction will come from the expanded sale of plant-based dairy alternatives. 
Kelly Bengston, the company’s chief procurement officer, told the annual Sustainable Agriculture Summit on Wednesday that Starbucks customers are increasingly asking for plant-based alternatives. But, she said, “that does not mean we will ever step away from dairy.” 
Take note: Bengston announced that Starbucks is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to refine and scale the company’s approach to sustainable dairy production. 
Starbucks is beginning work in December with 25 farms in California and Wisconsin. A TNC assessment tool will be used to study the farms’ practices and identify ways to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
DeLauro demands US ban on Brazilian beef
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is demanding that USDA ban Brazilian beef because the country delayed releasing results this summer that showed the discovery of an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association expressed similar concerns last week.
"NCBA has long expressed concerns about Brazil's history of failing to report atypical BSE cases in a timely manner, a pattern that stretches back as far as 2012,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane
USDA needs a ‘civil rights culture,’ nominee tells Senate Ag Committee

USDA needs to build a “civil rights culture,” Margo Schlanger, the nominee to be assistant secretary for civil rights, told the Senate Ag Committee at a confirmation hearing held for her and Chavonda Jacobs-Young, nominated to be undersecretary for research, education, and economics.

“I understand that distrust exists towards USDA Civil Rights Office among communities and individuals who have been excluded from access to USDA programs,” Schlanger said.

If confirmed, Jacobs-Young would be the first African-American woman to head the REE mission area, which includes the Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. She is currently ARS administrator and acting chief scientist, a title that would become permanent if confirmed.

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