The World Bank is releasing a report today that calls for repurposing global farm subsidies to promote agricultural innovations that can slash greenhouse gas emissions while also increasing food production.

The report, which was done in conjunction with the International Food Policy Research Institute, warns that simply using subsidies to increase the use of environmentally friendly practices could actually reduce food production. The key, according to the World Bank and IFPRI economists, is to target subsidies toward innovations that can both increase production and reduce emissions.

Repurposing some government farm spending to “develop and disseminate more emission-efficient technologies” could raise productivity by 30% while reducing overall ag emissions by more than 40%, the report says. Such an increase in productivity would also mean 2% less land is needed for agriculture globally, the report says.

Take note: The economists concede that reforming national farm programs is tricky politically, and that means any changes must work for farmers. “For reforms to foster sustainable global development, effective policy coordination and technological innovations that are attractive to both individual producers and governments are needed,” the report says.

Keep in mind: The report comes as the Biden administration is pushing Congress to pass $80 billion in climate-related ag and forestry provisions.

For a look at prospects for the climate funding, read our weekly Agri-Pulse newsletter. We also have reports on an increase in foreign farmland ownership and a look at the landowner concerns that have greeted a series of Midwest carbon capture projects.  Ag Export Webinar

House Dems demand info from meat processors

A House oversight committee is demanding information from four major meat and poultry processors on the reasons for recent price increases.

Letters sent to Tyson FoodsJBS FoodsNational Beef, and Seaboard by Illinois Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, who chairs a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, accuse the companies of using their market power to pad their profits during the pandemic.

Among other things, the letters demand that companies turn over all documents, including research and internal commissions, that are related to pricing decisions. The letters also seek information about any ongoing state and federal investigations.

“While some companies may claim that the high prices feeding these outsized profits are explained by higher input costs, earnings data tell a different story,” the letters say.

Keep in mind: The White House has been making regular attacks on meat processors, linking them to the inflation that’s weighing on Democratic prospects in the mid-term elections.

Farm groups: Calif. ruling adds urgency to SCOTUS case

The meat industry is welcoming a California Superior Court judge’s decision that prohibits enforcement of the state’s animal housing law with regard to pork products until six months after the final regulations have been published.

But the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which is working to finalize regs for Proposition 12, characterizes the decision as “narrow.” The agency says the enforcement prohibition applies only to the groups that brought the challenge — the California Restaurant Association, California Retailers Association, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Grocers Association and Kruse & Son.

Sacramento County Superior Court James Arguelles said it’s clear from the text of the law that voters believed the regulations should be in place before they’re enforced.

Looking ahead: The National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation have filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the law.  AFBF says the state court ruling shows why that review is important.

“It’s imperative that the Supreme Court address the constitutionality of Proposition 12. The laws of one state should not set the rules for an entire nation,” AFBF says. Ship

What supply chain crisis? Savannah port breaks record

 The Port of Savannah – a leading departure point for U.S. poultry and other ag commodities – moved a record 5.6 million 20-foot containers last year, a 20% increase over 2020. The increase came as the Georgia port is undergoing an expansion that’s expected to be finished in June.

The port’s annual capacity grew by 400,000 containers in 2021 and will increase another 500,000 by March. The expansion has allowed the port “to overcome serious headwinds in the international supply chain,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority.

Don’t miss our report in this week’s Agri-Pulse newsletter on efforts to move the Ocean Shipping   Reform bill through the Senate. 

Germany seen as growing market for organic food

 U.S. organic farmers may want to consider heading to Germany this summer for the world’s largest organic trade convention. Germany, the second largest consumer of organic food, “holds good prospects” for U.S. exporters of organic tree nuts, fruits, vegetables and processed foods, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Germans are consuming more organic products than ever, and U.S. exports to the European country spiked in 2019 to a new record value of $1.7 million. That was up from about $700,000 in 2018.

Organic exports to Germany dipped in 2020 and 2021, but FAS chalked that up to pandemic-related supply chain issues.

He said it. “Everyone must come together to reset current policies if we are to address the threats of climate change and unsustainable food systems.” - Johan Swinnen, director general of International Food Policy Research Institute.

IFPRI is the D.C.-based economics arm of CGIAR, a global research network funded in part by the U.S. and other governments.

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