Illinois Democrat Cheri Bustos is hitting the road next week for a listening session that she says is going to be important as lawmakers gear up for the next farm bill.
Bustos is headed to Minnesota Monday for a listening session in the home district of Ag Committee Democrat Angie Craig. Even though Bustos is set to retire at the end of the current term, she says the process is still providing valuable input for her colleagues that will write the next bill.
“This is now my third farm bill that I've been involved with, and what I can tell you is after we went from direct payments to a robust crop insurance program, what I hear from our growers and producers is don't mess with crop insurance,” Bustos says on this week’s Agri-Pulse Newsmakers. “This is something that we have to make sure that we get in the right place.”
By the way: Another listening session is scheduled for today in Rep. Kim Schrier’s Washington district. Del. Stacey Plaskett, the Virgin Islands Democrat who chairs House Ag’s Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee, will preside over the event.
Bustos offers more thoughts on crop insurance and government funding in this week’s Newsmakers on Agri-Pulse.com.
Tyson hit with more than $10M in damages in jury verdict
Tyson Foods’ refusal to pay the agreed-upon price for “natural” cattle has resulted in a jury verdict of about $2.6 million for breach of contract and another $8 million in punitive damages – $3 million more than was sought by Zia Agricultural.
The New Mexico cattle producer sued Tyson in 2020. The federal jury in Las Cruces, New Mexico, determined last week that Tyson breached its contract and made a “fraudulent misrepresentation” to Zia. U.S. District Judge Margaret Strickland has since issued a final judgment ordering Tyson to pay about $10.6 million in total damages.
Tyson, which disputed Zia’s claims at trial, declined to comment. Venable LLP attorney John Worden, who represented Zia in court with attorney Sarah Diamond, said he had spoken with Tyson’s attorneys who told him “they are going to appeal on the grounds that the punitive damages were too much.”
“They're not too much,” Worden told Agri-Pulse. “There’s several New Mexico and 10th Circuit cases where the ratio of damages to contract damages are much higher than ours. I don't think the 10th Circuit is going to do anything.”
Grain shipment agreement to be inked in Istanbul
A shipment agreement designed to free the millions of tons of grain sitting in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports will be signed today in Istanbul, a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday.
“The grain export agreement, critically important for global food security, will be signed … under the auspices of President Erdoğan and UN Secretary General [António] Guterres” together with Ukrainian and Russian delegations, Ibrahim Kalin said. He did not provide additional details.
More than 20 million tons of grain are estimated to be blocked at Ukrainian ports.
The UN said Guterres would be in Istanbul “as part of his efforts to ensure full global access to Ukraine’s food products and Russian food and fertilizer.”
ADM, FBN team up on rollout of new sustainable ag tech platform to growers
ADM will make technology available to its 55,000 growers allowing them to report on and demonstrate their adoption of regenerative ag practices such as cover crops and reduced tillage.
The Gradable platform from Farmers Business Network “will enable farmers to identify areas where they can increase profitability of their operation, including measuring, reporting and verification capabilities that will allow them to participate in regenerative agriculture programs and new markets for low-carbon grain,” a press release from the companies said.
ADM will “have the infrastructure to account for – and the programming opportunity to reduce – Scope 3 [greenhouse gas] emissions across their entire supply chain in North America,” said Steele Lorenze, head of sustainable business at FBN.
The Gradable platform “lays the groundwork for increased farmer participation in new sustainability markets by allowing them to seamlessly collect and calculate verifiable production data – including carbon scores – empowering them to monetize these downstream benefits in the market,” FBN and ADM said.
Senate committee OKs measure reversing Cottonwood decision
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has approved a bill to reverse the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2015 Cottonwood decision, which requires the Forest Service to review its forest management plans whenever a species is listed as threatened or endangered.
Forest Service officials told Congress last year that because of the decision, over 100 forest plans “will take years and cost millions of dollars” to carry out. The bill, introduced by Montana Republican Steve Daines, passed the committee, 16-4. If it becomes law, the Forest Service would not have to conduct additional Endangered Species Act consultations once land management plans are approved.
Last major Iowa poultry farm released from HPAI quarantine
The last commercial Iowa poultry farm under quarantine due to highly pathogenic avian influenza has now been released, the state’s agriculture department announced Thursday.
The Bremer County turkey farm was released after it passed through rounds of testing and quarantine requirements. While four backyard flock sites are still in quarantine, the lifting of all commercial farm restrictions marks a winding-down of Iowa’s current outbreak.
HPAI has killed about 40 million birds in commercial and backyard flocks in 37 states, according to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Iowa leads the pack with 13.4 million birds infected in that state alone.
Energy Department allocates $96M to electric vehicle, alternative fuels research
The Energy Department is pouring $96 million into researching how to create cleaner non-road vehicles like tractors and construction equipment, as well as expanding current electric vehicle charging accessibility and improving current electric vehicle parts.
The department announced Thursday it would begin accepting applications for projects that would help lower vehicle emissions, a key part of President Joe Biden’s plan to achieve a net-zero economy by 2050.
"Achieving President Biden’s climate goals will require expanding accessibility to electric vehicles for all
drivers and modernizing vehicles that power the agricultural and construction industries,” DOE secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a release.
Noah Wicks and Spencer Chase contributed to this report.
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