House Democrats who were poised to pass the $1.7 trillion Build Back Better bill last night decided to recess until this morning, after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took the floor to speak at about 8:38 p.m. and kept talking until past 1 a.m. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office said the House would reconvene at 8 a.m. Eastern Time to resume consideration of the social spending plan, which contains $82 billion in ag spending.

The bill has the support of environmental groups, who like its $27 billion in new conservation funding, including $5 billion for a five-year program that would give farmers $25 per acre to plant cover crops.

The American Farm Bureau Federation has opposed the measure, saying “the massive amount of spending and tax increases required to pay for the plan outweigh the gains we would see in rural America.”

Roundup verdict, award stand after Calif. high court rejects Bayer appeal

The California Supreme Court has let stand an $86.7 million award to a couple who claimed exposure to Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Alva and Alberta Pilliod were originally awarded $2.055 billion, which was reduced by a state court judge.

On Tuesday, the California Supreme Court denied Monsanto’s request for review of the appellate court decision upholding the verdict.

Bayer, which bought Monsanto in 2016, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a separate case involving similar legal issues — specifically, whether federal pesticide law trumps state-law failure-to-warn claims.

Bunge announces GHG reduction targets
Bunge has released science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an effort that depends in large part on its pledge to achieve deforestation-free supply chains by 2025.

“The company will make significant enhancements across its global operations, promote decarbonization through regenerative farming practices, and enhance shipping and logistics to achieve these targets,” Bunge said. 

Specifically, Bunge said it would reduce emissions of Scope 1 and 2 GHGs by 25% by 2030, using 2020 as the baseline. Scope 3 emissions would be reduced 12% by 2030. Scope 1 covers direct emissions, Scope 2 indirect emissions from purchased energy, and Scope 3 all other indirect emissions in a company’s value chain.

Early praise: Investors said they are pleased with the targets. “We applaud the company for its decision to pair their no-deforestation policy with a science-based emissions reduction commitment,” said a spokesperson for the California Public Employees Retirement System.

Mexican president calls for more integration of North America

Mexico is also being hit hard by congested ports, but a better integrated North America could go a long way toward alleviating supply chain disruptions, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Thursday during his visit to the White House.

Obrador stressed that “if economic integration is strengthened throughout North America … job opportunities will be created to promote growth throughout North America without having to depend on imports. We need to produce and manufacture in North America whatever we need.” 

Sen. Tester introduces bill to ban Brazilian beef

The fact that it took Brazil more than two months this summer to report two cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy has raised concerns in the U.S. that Brazil’s food safety system just cannot be trusted
when it comes to beef.

Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester announced Thursday evening that he has introduced a bill to ban Brazilian beef until a panel of experts agree that trade could resume.

“Folks expect their beef to have been rigorously tested against the strictest of standards, and concerns about Brazilian imports not only jeopardize consumer trust, but present a serious risk to Montana producers,” Tester said in a statement. “We owe it to our domestic producers and consumers to halt Brazilian imports until we can guarantee their beef and reporting standards are making the grade.”

US posts strong week for beef and pork export sales

Net sales of U.S. beef and pork to foreign buyers were particularly strong for the week of Nov 5-11, according to the latest weekly trade data released Thursday by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

China stands out with very large purchases of 13,800 metric tons of U.S. beef for the seven-day period.
That helped push total net sales for the week to 25,500 tons, a 23% increase over the previous week and a 58% increase over the prior four-week average.

Mexico was the big buyer for the week when it comes to pork. Mexican buyers purchased 16,900 tons of U.S. pork, pushing total net U.S. sales to 25,000 tons. The U.S. data showed no pork sales to China for the week.

USDA begins sending new pandemic aid checks to poultry growers 

The USDA is beginning the process of sending out $270 million in aid to poultry growers as part of its Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

“We listened to feedback from producers and stakeholders about impacts across livestock and poultry operations and made updates to be more equitable in the assistance we delivered,” said Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux.

“For contract producers this meant expanding eligibility and providing flexibility such as considering 2018 or 2019 revenue when calculating payments and accounting for contract producers who increased the size of their operation in 2020 or were new to farming when the pandemic hit.”
US rice exports to Colombia fall off sharply

The U.S. exported a paltry $5 million worth of U.S. rice to Colombia in the first nine months of the year, according to a new USDA analysis. It’s a major disappointment after years of very large exports following the free trade agreement reached by the two countries in 2012.

The U.S. sold just $3 million worth of rice to Colombia in 2011, the year before the FTA was initiated. In 2012, after a new tariff rate quota was put into place, the U.S. sold $57 million worth of rice to Colombian buyers.

But larger Colombian production, falling prices for the domestic crop and increased competition from South American producers slashed Colombian demand for the U.S. grain this year.

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