The House Rules Committee has teed up a package of spending bills for floor debate this week. The legislation includes fiscal 2023 funding for USDA, FDA, EPA and the Interior Department.
The amendments the committee cleared for floor consideration include a bipartisan proposal to facilitate animal feed ingredient claims around environmental concerns and other issues. The amendment led by Jim Baird, R-Ind., would provide $8 million to FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to do the labeling work.
Other amendments set for floor debate would provide USDA an additional $2 million for expanding conservation technical assistance and $1 million for hiring attorneys and staff in the Packers and Stockyards Division.
NSAC offers alternatives for crop insurance cuts
Ahead of a House Ag Committee hearing on Wednesday, a leading advocacy group for smaller-scale agriculture is offering some ideas for restricting crop insurance subsidies. A study for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition shows a wide range of program savings from either capping or means testing premium subsidies.
Capping premium subsidies at $50,000 per farmer would save $16.6 billion over 10 years and affect 3.5% of farms. Under another scenario, reducing subsidies by 15% to farmers with adjusted gross incomes over $500,000 would save $1.5 billion over 10 years and affect 3.4% of farms.
Reducing subsidies by 50% for farmers with AGI of more than $500,000 would save $5 billion over 10 years.
The study suggests the savings from capping or means testing premium subsidies be rolled into other farm bill programs.
Keep in mindProposals to cap premium subsidies have gotten strong support on the Senate floor before, but they haven’t made it into a final farm bill. Critics argue these kind of premium subsidy cuts would undermine the program and ultimately harm other farmers. 
Grassley, Franken trade statements about fundraising haul
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and his opponent, Adm. Mike Franken, are both boasting about fundraising as their campaigns hit a critical stretch before the November elections.
Franken said he outraised Grassley by nearly $1.6 million in the latest quarter, but Grassley says he has more money in total — about $7.7 million to Franken’s $4.6 million.
“After these encouraging fundraising numbers, the Des Moines Register published a poll showing  Franken within a mere 8 points of Grassley with over 100 days left before the November election,” the Franken campaign said.
Grassley Works Communications Director Michaela Sundermann, however, said, “Iowa Democrats must be disappointed that their ‘star’ recruit is in such a weak financial position.”
Wait, theres more: The eight-point margin in the recent Des Moines Register poll shows this could be the closest race Grassley, 88, has faced in four decades. It also showed Grassley struggling among independents, with 39% saying they approve of the job he’s doing, and 46% saying they disapprove.
Ag delegation to lobby lawmakers on trade with Cuba
A delegation of ag representatives is heading to Capitol Hill Thursday to lobby lawmakers about improving conditions to export farm commodities to Cuba. Groups and companies such as the American Soybean Association, North American Wheat Growers, USA Rice Federation, Cargill and CoBank will be represented, according to Paul Johnson, president of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba.
So far, the delegation is scheduled to visit the offices of Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., and Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., Jerry Moran, R-Kans., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
“We have tried embargoing Cuba for 60 years and it simply hasn’t worked,” Johnson tells Agri-Pulse. “Our goal is to ensure a healthy, sufficient, and economical food supply by promoting normal trade and by working with Cubans to improve local agriculture production. We can’t do that under current U.S. policy.”
Senator calls for ITC to reconsider duties on phosphate fertilizer
Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., lauded an International Trade Commission ruling Monday that ended the threat of duties on imports of urea ammonium nitrate fertilizer from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago. He is also calling for a reversal of the duties that ITC and the Commerce Department put on phosphate fertilizer imports from Morocco.
“The Biden Administration needs to take a look at phosphate-based fertilizers from Morocco now,” Marshall said in a tweet. “Duties on some of our most reliable trading partners is the last thing we need amid record inflation.”
The ITC ruled that Moroccan and Russian phosphate fertilizer imports damaged U.S. producers, but Morocco’s OCP is appealing that decision before the Court of International Trade.
Farmers, academics to discuss regenerative ag at Congressional hearing
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s environment subcommittee will hear from farmers today about how to better incentivize regenerative agriculture practices. 
The hearing, called by Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., will examine current conservation programs. It will also examine how corporate agribusinesses’ market power affects farmers' choices when it comes to adopting regenerative agricultural practices, according to a release.
The panel includes Minnesota dairy farmer Bonnie Haugen, Missouri grain and cattle producer Doug Doughty, Association of American Indian Farmers President Kara Boyd, University of Maine sustainable agriculture professor Rachel Schattman and Kentucky Department of Agricultural Policy Director Brian Lacefield.
Doughty and Haugen, who are involved with the Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment, are expected to address pollution from concentrated animal feeding operations.
He said it: “Our message to both the administration and Congress is to give agriculture the tools it needs to improve the current food crisis in Cuba and demonstrate how engagement is more impactful than embargo.” – Paul Johnson, president of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba.

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