President Joe Biden will be in Iowa today for a speech at a POET bioethanol facility, where he is set to announce a lifting of the ban on summertime E15 sales.
A senior administration official told reporters Monday the administration plans to use emergency authority to allow for the fuel to continue to be sold after the current June 1 cutoff. The Environmental Protection Agency will make the move official in a waiver closer to the beginning of June.
The move will satisfy calls from a long list of members of Congress, ag trade associations, and others who have called on the Biden administration to allow summertime sales of the fuel that were restored following a 2021 court ruling.
In a statement Monday, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, one of the most vocal biofuel supporters in the Senate, said he was confident “Iowa biofuel producers can ramp up production and provide affordable, low-carbon biofuels to the country if the president allows summer sales of E15.”
One geography note: Biden’s speech is happening in Menlo, Iowa, about 45 miles east of Des Moines and about 90 miles west of where President Donald Trump signed a 2019 executive order allowing summer E15 sales.
USAPEEC: Mexico drops HPAI ban on some US poultry
Mexico has agreed to significantly reduce the amount of U.S. poultry it is banning because of avian influenza detections, according to USA Poultry & Egg Export Council President Jim Sumner.
Sumner told Agri-Pulse that Mexico promised on Friday to stop banning all U.S. poultry that is destined for further processing and heat treatment at a federally inspected Mexican facility. That decision – a result of Mexican efforts to combat food price inflation – comes as a significant relief to U.S. exporters who have seen sharp sales losses as detections of the virus continued to rise over the past couple of months.
Mexico is just one of the many countries that have placed bans on U.S. poultry in reaction to the recent detections of high-path avian influenza in more than 20 states, but it is also the largest foreign market for U.S. exports.
Land mines preventing Ukraine spring planting
Ukrainian farmers are planting their spring crops where they are able, but land mines left behind by the Russian military are making it difficult in some areas, says Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotsky, who was quoted by the consulting firm APK Inform.
Less than 70% of farm land traditionally planted with spring wheat and other crops will be planted this year, the firm said Monday.
“If we managed to free arable lands of Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts from mines, the area may reach 80% of the potential,” said Vysotsky.
NCBA urges USDA to ban Brazilian beef after spike in trade
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, reacting to a government report showing rising U.S. imports of Brazilian beef, demanded Monday that USDA ban imports of Brazilian beef.
“As beef imports from Brazil continue to rise, we urge USDA to reconsider their stance on Brazilian beef and take necessary action to safeguard the integrity of the entire U.S. food supply chain,” said Ethan Lane, NCBA’s vice president of government affairs. The group accuses Brazil of failing to report detections of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.
Traditionally, the majority of Brazilian beef exports to the U.S. are heat-treated products, but shipments of chilled or frozen beef have risen sharply in recent months. A new Economic Research Service report shows Brazil shipped about 100 million pounds of beef in January, 83 million of which was chilled or frozen.
USDA offers share of America the Beautiful funding
The Agriculture Department will distribute about $40 million toward a public-private partnership aimed at boosting locally led conservation efforts.
The Interior Department will dole out $375 million of the $440 million in initial funding over the next five years for the America the Beautiful Challenge, the White House, USDA, and Interior and Defense departments said in an announcement Monday. The Forest Service will invest $10 million in water quality and fish restoration grants along with $25 million to detect, prevent and eradicate invasive species.
USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service will allocate $5 million in grants “that increase private land owners’ participation in priority conservation areas,” the news release said. The entire challenge totals $1 billion and “will leverage federal conservation and restoration investments with private and philanthropic contributions.”
Labor Department’s inflation report due out today
This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its Consumer Price Index numbers, which the Biden administration expects to be “extraordinarily elevated,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
The last monthly report showed food prices up 1.4% in February and 8.6% over the past year. Today’s report is likely to be more of the same. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization reported Friday that food prices were up 12.6% in March, including new all-time highs for vegetable oils, cereals and meat.
FDA food safety leader speaks to advocacy group
A key FDA food safety official will speak at the Alliance for a Stronger FDA today, where she likely will address a recent POLITICO investigation that concluded “FDA is failing to meet American consumers' expectations on food safety and nutrition.”
Susan Mayne is director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, which POLITICO said “has repeatedly failed to take timely action” to address the safety of water used to grow produce and heavy metal contamination in baby foods. She speaks to the alliance at 11 a.m.
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