The House passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 364-60 Wednesday evening and agricultural groups are hoping the Senate will act swiftly. The House bill would prevent ocean carriers from refusing to allow U.S. ag exporters to load containers with commodities. Chinese exporters have been paying extra for containers to be returned empty in an effort to ship their goods to the U.S. quickly.
“Over the past year, the ongoing COVID-19-exacerbated supply chain issues have created logjams at U.S. ports and blocked the export of our members’ products, resulting in steep financial losses and irreversible friction with international customers,” the American Feed Industry Association said in a statement. AFIA urged the Senate “to move this bill full-steam ahead.”
Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., a cosponsor of the bill, said: “No ship arriving with imports should leave an American port empty when (U.S.) products are ready to go. That’s what’s happening, sadly.”
More House action: The chamber approved an extension of livestock mandatory reporting by a 419-9 vote, and another bill that would create a contract library for the beef cattle industry.That legislation passed 411-13. But Senate action on both now awaits. Read more on Agri-Pulse.com.
Dairy indemnity payments can be made for cows contaminated with PFAS
USDA is amending the Dairy Indemnity Payment Program to make dairy farmers eligible for payments for cows contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
The new regulations are included in a rule released Wednesday by the Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency. New Mexico lawmakers, in particular, had been urging USDA to make the change because of the predicament faced by dairy operator Art Schaap, one of whose herds was contaminated by PFAS from a neighboring Air Force base.
“The potential increase in these situations requires this change in DIPP policy for contaminated milk and other similar events resulting in milk and cows that are likely to be not marketable for longer durations,” the rule says.
“Prior to this rule, an affected farmer was limited to receiving 18 months of payments under DIPP due to the same loss,” the rule says. The DIPP law authorized indemnity payments for cows or milk, but USDA has not previously implemented regulations for the indemnification of cows.
Innovative farmers seen taking charge in ag
Farmers who are the most likely to respond to market demands from the food industry and consumers are going to make up the vast majority of farmers by 2040. That’s a key finding from analysis the research firm Aimpoint has done projecting the future of U.S. agriculture.
Aimpoint classifies U.S. farmers in five different categories, depending on their personalities and approach to the business. The most innovative groups of farmers with high business acumen are classified as “independent elites” and “enterprising business builders.” Together, those groups currently account for 41% of U.S. farmers. By 2040, they will make up 71%, according to research presented at the American Seed Trade Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.
Those more innovative farmers are the first to shift practices and more likely to sacrifice some independence to get access to markets, says Aimpoint’s Sarah Tveidt.
Farmers categorized as “classic practitioners” now make up 24% of farmers. Their share is expected to drop to 4% by 2040. Those farmers tend to struggle more and have a greater reliance on safety net programs.
Take note: Consumers are viewing technology in food production more positively as sustainability concerns become more important to them, Tveidt says.
US beef exports expected to reach $10 billion this year
The U.S. is exporting beef at a blistering pace, and the value of shipments is expected to reach a record $10 billion by the end of the year, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Bolstered by strong sales to China, Japan and South Korea, the U.S. exported 1.19 million metric tons of beef worth $8.53 billion in the first 10 months of the year. That means export value jumped by 38% compared to the same time frame last year. The U.S. exported a total of $8.33 billion worth of beef in all of 2018, the last time a record was set.
The U.S. has shipped $1.26 billion worth of beef to China from January through October, says USMEF. That’s a 600% increase in value, compared to the first 10 months of last year.
Companies to tap data to help farmers access low-carbon markets
Bayer is working with two other companies on a new pilot program that aims to help farmers take advantage of low-carbon fuel markets by implementing sustainable farming practices. The program was developed in collaboration with Bushel, an agricultural software developer, and Amazon Web Services.
Project Carbonview will initially enable ethanol producers to track carbon emissions across their supply chains, from planting to production, according to Bayer.
Elizabeth Fastiggi, who leads agriculture business development for AWS, said at the ASTA meeting Wednesday that the system will give ethanol plants the information they need “in order to make good procurement decisions.”
USDA offers $1B in loan guarantees for supply chain
USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is making $1 billion in loan guarantees available to help finance new or expanded supply chain projects.
In a Federal Register notice, the RBCS said the guarantees would be used for “the start-up or expansion of activities in the middle of the food supply chain,” such as manufacturing, processing and distribution.
RBCS is encouraging applicants to consider projects that help rural communities recover from the COVID pandemic, ensure that rural residents have equitable access to Rural Development programs and benefits from RD funded projects, and reduce climate pollution and increase resilience to climate change impacts in rural areas.
More emergency food help needed, lawmakers told
Much more money is needed for emergency food assistance because of supply chain disruptions caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-hunger advocates urged a House Ag subcommittee Wednesday.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program needs an additional $900 million in fiscal year 2022, which ends Sept. 30, said Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. That would be on top of about $2 billion in funding USDA expects to provide in emergency assistance.
The need is great because food bank purchases have had to keep pace with demand, which is three times what it was before the pandemic, Rodriguez said. At the same time, donations have dropped and transportation costs have increased.
Other witnesses called for the loosening of income requirements for senior citizens to access food assistance and a restart to the Farmers to Families Food Box program that was terminated by the Biden administration.
She said it. “We have to figure out how to work from the seed to the sky to make sure we solve this carbon dynamic for all of us.” – Sheila Remes, vice president of environmental sustainability for The Boeing Co. on the airline industry’s need for feedstocks for sustainable aviation fuel. She was speaking at the American Seed Trade Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.
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