President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2023 includes a $2.6 billion, or 9%, increase for USDA with many of the same themes of the first budget he proposed a year ago. The FY23 proposal puts a priority on research, climate adaptation, rural broadband expansion and addressing issues of equity
Those priorities also include conservation technical assistance. The president requested $1 billion in funding for technical assistance to go with the $1.7 billion in funding that is available for CTA through the various farm bill conservation programs. NRCS is proposing to increase its total workforce to more than 11,700, a 2,000-employee increase over what the agency had in FY21.
"This budget proposal is a statement of intent that underscores President Biden’s commitment to the success of rural Americans and their communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Keep in mind: The budget is notable for what’s not in it. Biden for the second year in a row has steered clear of proposing cuts in commodity programs or crop insurance aimed at wealthy farmers, proposals that had been a staple of previous administrations.
Taxpayers for Common Sense notes that a package of cuts in then-President Donald Trump’s FY21 budget for USDA would have saved $18 billion.
Biden "broke with bipartisan tradition, finding exactly $0 in the FY23 budget request for farm subsidy reforms,” the group says.
The GOP take: As expected, congressional Republicans panned Biden’s proposals, saying they could worsen inflation, a key GOP theme for the mid-term elections.
ITC schedules final ruling on UAN fertilizer imports
The U.S. International Trade Commission has scheduled its final ruling for antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of urea ammonium nitrate solutions (UAN) from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago.
The hearing is set for June 16, but UAN shipments have already stopped after preliminary decisions that found exports of the foreign fertilizer were being subsidized and sold at below-market prices in the U.S. Furthermore, Russia recently banned all fertilizer exports.
“We are deeply disappointed by this development,” National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington told Agri-Pulse after a Feb. 1 preliminary decision that UAN was being dumped onto the U.S. market. “Corn growers are already feeling the financial pressure from the high costs of nitrogen fertilizers, which will only increase once these tariffs are put in place. The expected price hikes and fertilizer shortages that the tariffs will create may cause farmers to change their planting rotations right before planting season.”
Higher prices don’t mean better times for farmers, Rabo report says
Echoing a recent analysis from the American Farm Bureau Federation, a new RaboResearch report says higher commodity prices spurred by the war in Ukraine will not translate into more cash in farmers’ pockets.
Higher prices “do not spell bigger profits,” the firm said in a news release announcing a new 10-year grains and oilseeds outlook, “The Grain Drain after Ukraine.”
“Costs for farm inputs such as seed, fertilizer and land will likely also rise, squeezing farmers’ margins over the next decade,” the report said. “Grain companies will have to navigate great volatility in their trading activities. And livestock producers will likely face higher feed prices.”
Assuming U.S. exports of corn and wheat increase by 200,000 bushels each to fill the gap left by the loss of Ukrainian and Russian crops, RaboResearch estimated the average on-farm price at $5.77/bu for corn and $10.50/bu for wheat in the 2022/23 marketing year.
The report also incorporates the expected growth of U.S. soybean crush capacity into its 10-year acre and price estimates. “Fueled by the growing demand for soybean oil as an ingredient for renewable diesel, the crush capacity expansion is an important transformation driving long-term commodity prices to a higher level,” RaboResearch said.
Over the next 10 years, the report said there is a 75% chance that U.S. prices will reach new long-term price levels of $6/bu for corn, $13/bu or lower for soybeans, and $7/bu or lower for wheat.
USAID budget includes billions for Indo-Pacific
The Biden administration rolled out a blueprint for its Indo Pacific Economic Framework about a month ago and now is proposing to spend billions to support ties to the region, as well as to Europe and Africa.
President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget proposal includes $4 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development to bolster “longstanding commitments to key partners; advances peace, prosperity, and security across the Indo-Pacific and Europe, [and] expands diplomatic and development initiatives in Africa and Asia,” funding the agency says will help counter the influence of China and Russia.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said in reaction to the budget proposal: “This budget rightly supports the President’s efforts to deepen our alliances and partnerships with countries that share our values to confront the joint challenges we face, including Russia’s aggressions against Ukraine, China’s unfair trade practices, and the global climate crisis.”
Confusion reigns when it comes to organic foods, new survey finds
A lack of clarity about organic foods is making it more difficult for consumers to trust the industry, a new survey from the Edelman public relations firm has found.
“There is widespread confusion about what it means to be organic,” the survey said, adding “trust in organic foods is being held back by a lack of familiarity — producers of raw materials are more trusted than manufacturers.”

Only one in three people surveyed know USDA is responsible for enforcing organic standards, Edelman found after conducting interviews with 7,500 consumers in September and October. The survey, commissioned by the Organic Trade Association and released publicly today, spans six markets — the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
So-called “Food Forwards” in the U.S., defined as consumers “who take action regarding news about the food and beverage industry and agreed with certain statements relating to their habits and beliefs,” were more familiar and trusting of organics than the general population. Sixty-two percent of Food Forwards were familiar with organics, compared to 31% of the general population, and 79% trust organic products, compared to 55% of the overall population.
He said it: “Our latest proposal comes after months of working with staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make technical changes that will allow them to best implement the bill.” – That’s Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, discussing the updates announced Monday to the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act he has introduced along with Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
The updated legislation tweaks how regions are defined, but maintains a cash trade mandate that was unpopular among some farm groups.

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