The top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn Thompson, says Congress needs to do more to address supply chain resiliency and to review the impact of the 2018 farm bill.
In an interview with Agri-Pulse, Thompson said it was important for the committee to bring in Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to review farm bill programs. House Ag Committee Chair David Scott told Agri-Pulse last week that he plans to have farm bill hearings next year, and Thompson confirmed the lawmakers are working on the schedule.
“We need to hear from USDA and we have to hear from key stakeholders around the country, farmers, ranchers, producers, processors,” Thompson said.
Other issues Thompson says he wants to focus on include forest management as well as the Biden administration's regulation of pesticides and its plan to rewrite the “waters of the U.S.” rule.
By the way: Thompson stressed the importance of nutrition programs, citing his family’s need for the WIC nutrition program when his son was born in 1984.
“I wouldn't trade that experience for anything today,” he said.
Grassley seeks DOJ probe of fertilizer industry
Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking the Justice Department to look into why fertilizer prices have increased so much this year.
The Iowa Republican has penned a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to “examine the current structure of the domestic fertilizer industry and investigate potential market and price manipulation, collusion, restrictions on competition and/or other unfair and deceptive practices under U.S. antitrust law.”
There has been “dramatic growth in the price of fertilizer” this year, Grassley noted: Anhydrous ammonia prices are up by 131%, urea by 110%, and potash by 120%.
Grassley noted the dearth of companies in the marketplace. For potash, “only two companies control the supply for farmers,” he said. In the nitrogen arena, four companies control three-quarters of the market.
Mexico drives US wheat and corn export sales in early December
Net export sales of U.S. wheat and corn reached marketing year highs from Dec. 3-9, with Mexican buyers driving much of that business, according to the latest USDA trade data.
U.S. exporters sold 650,600 metric tons of wheat during the seven-day period. Mexican buyers committed to purchasing 170,000 tons of that total, and Japan came in a close second, with importers there committing to buy 162,500 tons.
Net export sales of corn reached more than 1.9 million tons for the week, which was also a marketing year high, and Mexican companies were again the biggest buyers. USDA figures show Mexican importers committed to buying about 1.3 million tons of that total.
Brazil soy harvest seen lower on southern dryness
Drought conditions in the southern state of Paraná have prompted Brazilian consulting firm AgRural to lower its forecast for the country’s overall soybean harvest to 144.7 million metric tons, down slightly from its previous prediction of 145.4 million.
The new forecast is still equal to a record harvest, the firm said.
AgRural says it is now expecting farmers in Paraná to produce 20.9 million tons of soybeans in the coming harvest, a 900,000-ton reduction.
The latest Brazilian soybean harvest production report out of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service offices in Brasilia calls for 145 million tons.
Longtime USAPEEC CEO to retire
USA Poultry and Egg Export Council CEO Jim Sumner, who has led the organization for more than three decades, will be retiring in June.
Chief Operating Officer Greg Tyler will be taking over the top slot.
“Jim has an outstanding legacy at USAPEEC,” Tyler said in a statement. “I’ve learned a great deal from him in the 25 years we’ve worked together. My role now will be to build on that and ensure that we adapt to the everchanging global environment with the goal of continuing to increase U.S. poultry and egg exports.”
U.S. chicken exports tripled during Sumner’s time as CEO of USAPEEC, according to the group, which stressed that U.S. broiler exports rose to 3.6 million metric tons in 2020, up 589% from 1990.
Costa Rica’s pet food imports seen increasing further
U.S. pet food exports to Costa Rica are rising fast, and the pace of trade is now expected to accelerate, according to a new analysis by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
Costa Rica agreed to accept a new export certificate that allows imports of raw bovine products for pet treats from the U.S., which “opens a new segment of Costa Rica's growing of pet food ingredients market to U.S. exporters,” according to FAS.
Costa Rica imported $27 million worth of U.S. pet food in 2020, a 23% increase from 2019, and then trade heated up further. The U.S. exported $39 million worth of pet food to Costa Rica in the first 10 months of this year – a massive 95% increase over the same time frame in 2020.
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