Ahead of a key Senate hearing this week, economists at Texas A&M University have finished their analysis of a revised bill that would mandate levels of cash trading in the cattle markets.
According to the study, an additional 2.3 million head of cattle will have to be marketed via negotiated sales as a result of the bill. That’s less than half the number that would have been required under a previous version. But the analysis says “it is still a significant burden that falls largely on the Southern Plains.”
And the impact of the new bill could be "far greater" than estimated due to the discretion that USDA would have to set regional minimums for cash trades, the analysis says.
The Texas A&M study was done at the request of the Senate Ag Committee’s senior Republican, John Boozman of Arkansas. The committee holds a hearing Tuesday on the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act.
For more on this week's packed D.C. agenda, read our Washington Week Ahead.
Russia cries foul at WTO and Ukraine fights back
Russia was given the stage at a World Trade Organization council meeting last week to voice its frustrations over all of the sanctions being levied on its oil, gas, aluminum, fertilizer, seafood and many other products by WTO member countries, but the U.S., EU, Japan and other WTO member nations were unimpressed, according to Geneva-based trade officials.
Russia is solely to blame for the sanctions, the U.S.
representative in Geneva said, adding that if Russia wants to avoid sanctions, it needs to stop its bloody invasion of Ukraine and pull its military out of the country.
Finally, Ukraine was allowed to take the stage in the Goods Council meeting. The Ukrainian representative thanked the U.S. and others for their sanctions, but stressed they were not enough and do not come even close to being sufficient to make up for the destruction and misery being caused by Russia.
Take note: The Ukrainian representative noted that the Russian invasion and blockade of its Black Sea ports is preventing Ukraine from exporting millions of tons of corn and wheat, and farmers are losing $1.5 billion worth of export revenue per month.
Ukraine’s inability to export is taking a severe toll on developing countries in Africa and the Middle East where many rely on ag supplies from Ukraine. The situation is magnifying hunger and inflation in the regions.
EPA seeks assistance as it crafts approach to endangered species and pesticides
An Environmental Protection Agency official emphasized EPA’s desire for data from the pesticide industry last week as the agency continues to work on the complicated issue of how to balance the needs of growers with protections for endangered species.
Discussing EPA’s recently released workplan to deal with the issue, Jan Matuszko of the Office of Pesticide Programs said, “There are some things that we will not be able to achieve without more resources, but more importantly, without the help of people in this room.”
Specifically, she said the agency could use feedback on mitigation and “offsets” such as habitat restoration that could provide significant benefits for federally listed species.
“We are seeking to pilot the use of offsets for certain chemicals and species and cooperate with any interested registrants. So if you are, you know where to find me,” Matuszko said.
Matuszko spoke at a regulatory conference held by the CropLife America/Responsible Industry for A Sound Environment/Council of Producers and Distributors of Agrotechnology.
House set to move food security bill
The House is scheduled this week to vote on a bill aimed at curbing malnutrition around the world. The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act would authorize the Agency for International Development to coordinate efforts to prevent and treat malnutrition. The measure would require USAID to coordinate with other federal agencies.
USAID launched a global nutrition coordination plan in December that's supposed to guide the agency’s work with USDA and other departments through 2026. The Biden administration wants $11 billion over three years to carry out the plan.
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Beware of ransomware during planting season, FBI warns
The FBI is warning agriculture cooperatives to prepare to face ransomware attacks during the 2022 planting season, as hackers target the nation’s food supply chain during important production seasons.
In a private industry notification, the agency said two grain and feed companies already saw attacks this year. A feed mill reported attempts to access its systems in February and a multi-state grain company experienced a Lockbit 2.0 ransomware attack in March.
The agency is encouraging companies to back up data, protect information with strong passwords, use only secure internet networks, provide users with cybersecurity training and contact their local FBI field office if they suspect any hacks.
Arsonist pleads guilty for role in conspiracies to destroy animal processing facilities
An environmental extremist has pleaded guilty to arson and conspiracy to commit arson in connection with the targeting of private and federal facilities as far back as 1997.
Joseph Mahmoud Dibee was among those in 1997 who “used incendiary devices to destroy the Cavel West Meat Packing Plant, a commercial slaughterhouse and meatpacking facility in Redmond, Oregon.” In 2001, he and others tried to destroy the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse Corrals, which is used to remove wild horses from public lands located near Litchfield, California,” the Justice Department said. The group’s attack caused destruction of a barn and its contents.
Dibee was affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.
Dibee fled the U.S. in 2005 and was arrested in Cuba in 2018. The government is recommending a sentence of seven years and three months.
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