The Biden administration’s $500 million proposal to boost U.S. crop production ran into problems in Congress. But Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he’s working with lawmakers on some new ideas, including funding that would offset the penalty for planting a crop after a prevent-plant claim. 
Vilsack tells Agri-Pulse that USDA also is pursuing some administrative changes, including expanding the number of counties where double cropping is insurable and allowing landowners with expiring Conservation Reserve Program contracts to start preparing the acreage for planting before Sept. 30.
“There's just a whole series of things we're looking at. All of it is designed to increase productivity, increase production, so we're in a position to try to meet the unmet need that we know is going to exist in the future because of the disruption in Ukraine,” he said.
By the way: Vilsack will accompany President Joe Biden on Wednesday to visit a farm in Kankakee, Illinois. That’s the same day that the latest Consumer Price Index comes out, and Biden wants to draw attention to the impact that the war in Ukraine is having on food prices.
SEC extends comment period on climate disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission is extending by the comment period on a proposed rule that could require corporations to report on greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains. The comment period, which was slated to end May 20, is being extended to June 17

The rule could force many publicly traded companies to start tracking the emissions from their agricultural suppliers. Experts say it would accelerate the development of standards for measuring emissions.

The American Farm Bureau Federation argues that the rule would increase producers’ costs significantly.

Russia accused of vegetable seed oil theft in Ukraine
Russian raiders are making off with stolen Ukrainian vegetable oil, according to UkrAgroConsult, a Ukrainian consulting firm. The Russian military has already been accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of tons of wheat and now officials in the city of Zaporizhzhia are reporting a large theft of vegetable oil from the Polohy Oil Extraction Plant. The plant makes vegetable oil from sunflower seed, soybeans and canola.
Russian invaders have been driving residents from their homes and now they are stealing “finished products from the plant, which were expected to be shipped to foreign partners,” according to the Zaporizhzhia Regional Territorial Defense Forces. “The latter are already facing the lack of high-quality Ukrainian products.”
Corps to prepare EIS on renewable fuels facility in Oregon
The Army Corps of Engineers will conduct an environmental analysis of NEXT’s proposed renewable fuels facility in Oregon, which would permanently fill about 118 acres of wetlands.
In a Federal Register notice published today, the Corps said it would prepare an environmental impact statement on the project, which is projected to produce 50,000 barrels per day of renewable diesel and other products.
The production process would use a range of feedstocks such as vegetable oils, used cooking oil, animal tallow, and inedible corn oil, the Corps said. To mitigate for that, the company plans to “enhance” about 471 acres of wetlands currently used for agriculture and silviculture.
USDA equity commission meeting Tuesday and Wednesday
Some top USDA officials will provide updates on the department’s progress in advancing equity, at a meeting that kicks off today.
USDA General Counsel Janie Hipp will make opening remarks at USDA’s Equity Commission meeting, and near the end of the first day, farm program officials including Undersecretary Robert Bonnie, Deputy Undersecretary Gloria Montaño Greene, Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux, and USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Heather Dawn Thompson will discuss the department’s current efforts.
To register for the meeting, go here.
Angola wheat milling capacity expands
Five new wheat mills have gone into production over the past several years in Angola, allowing the African country to become self-sufficient for flour and creating new opportunities for U.S. wheat exporters to meet strong demand, according to a new analysis from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
The country now can mill up to 1 million metric tons of wheat per year.
That opportunity is now even greater because of the war in Ukraine, says FAS. Angola imported 30% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia in 2021, but the war has created supply chain disruptions.
Ukraine is struggling to export the millions of tons of wheat it has in storage because it can’t ship out of its ports, but Russian wheat exports are relatively strong despite some supply chain disruptions.

He said it: "I refuse to call it the ACP. I am so tired of acronyms in Washington, I can’t stand it.” - President Joe Biden at an event announcing 20 telecom providers will participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program, or ACP. The White House says the providers serve 80% of the U.S. population, and half the country’s rural residents and an estimated 48 million households will be eligible for the program.

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