The White House is laying out a strategy today for meeting the President Biden’s ambitious goal of ending hunger and reducing diet-related diseases by 2030.
The strategy includes a few actions that the administration can take on its own, including research on front-of-package nutrition labeling and new, voluntary targets for reducing sodium and added sugars. All of those proposals could take years to finalize, however.
Several proposals will require congressional approval, such as a pilot project in providing medically tailored meals through the Medicare program. The plan also calls for expanding access to SNAP and child nutrition assistance. One of the proposals would make 9 million more kids eligible for free school meals by expanding the existing community eligibility provision.
Keep in mind: The plan was developed by the White House Domestic Policy Council in consultation with several departments and agencies, including USDA.
What’s next: The strategy will be the focus of discussion at Wednesday’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.
By the way: A Republican House aide says there is “bipartisan” frustration with planning for the conference, saying the White House hasn’t gathered enough input from groups outside of Washington "heavyweights."
According to this aide, House Ag Ranking Member Glenn Thompson and other Republicans are worried that “this will just be another partisan exercise where the goal will be to use executive orders and other means to expand programming, instead of taking a real hard look at both our nutrition and our hunger programming.”
Read our report on the White House strategy at Agri-Pulse.com.
Consumers want food as medicine
A new consumer survey from Deloitte finds that consumers are still interested in the idea of “food as medicine,” even as they struggle to cope with soaring grocery prices.
Some 78% of consumers believe the right foods can keep them healthy, and 76% think eating the the right foods can be therapeutic and help alleviate certain health problems. But there is some consumer confusion over which foods they should eat, according to the research presented Monday to members of the International Fresh Produce Association, which is holding its annual Washington meeting.
Three in four consumers are taking steps to deal with rising prices, including cutting back on spending, reducing food waste and switching stores. The survey also found that fewer consumers care about attributes such as sustainable, non-GMO and locally grown.
Some optimism among larger farms
Most farmers believe their profits will remain stable or increase over the next two years despite higher input costs, according to a McKinsey and Co. report.
Among farmers who operate at least 2,000 acres, 35% believe profits are going to increase, while 30% think they will remain stable.
The survey also shows that growers believe input costs will be higher in coming months, and they are taking steps to manage their risks. Some 48% of farms over 5,000 acres are buying inputs earlier and are selling forward more of their production. A similar share of medium-size farms (2,000 to 5,000 acres) are buying inputs earlier, and 47% are forward selling.
Large farms over 5,000 acres continue to be the most aggressive in adopting new technology. Some 42% of those farms are using remote-sensing technology and another 7% plan to use it in the next two years. Another 53% of large farms say they’re using precision agriculture hardware.
Hartzler pushes EPA to allow some uses of chlorpyrifos
A Missouri congresswoman is using USDA’s support for some continued uses of chlorpyrifos to urge EPA to allow the insecticide to be used for those 11 crops.
In a letter Monday to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., quotes a Sept. 20 letter from Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack in which he cites the department’s comments telling EPA it could safely retain some food uses for chlorpyrifos. In response to a court decision, however, EPA revoked all of the food tolerances last fall.
“We are actively working to identify additional tools to replace critical uses of chlorpyrifos that currently lack viable pest management alternatives, including those critical uses in Missouri,” Vilsack said in his letter, which also said chlorpyrifos registrants are asking EPA to work on “sublabels” for those 11 uses, which include alfalfa, apple, asparagus, cherry, citrus, cotton, peach, soybean, sugar beet, strawberry, and wheat.
In addition, USDA “will work to make the case to follow the science and maintain safe use of chlorpyrifos for those 11 crops, and any others that might still be adjusted or refined to meet EPA’s safety standard,” Vilsack said.
Canada expects to need more U.S. ethanol
Canada’s new clean fuel standard will increase the country’s need for U.S. ethanol, according to Aaron Annable, the acting consul general for the Canadian consulate in Chicago.
“We’d like to see our domestic production grow … but we recognize that our largest trading partner is a strategic ethanol producer for us. As demand increases, there are opportunities for U.S. producers in terms of exporting into Canada,” Annable said Monday at the annual Ag Outlook Forum sponsored by Agri-Pulse and the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.
Canada’s new standard sets a nationwide goal of increasing the average ethanol content of gasoline to 15% by 2030.
He said it: “The good news is, I’ve talked to all the leaders of the committees – both the Appropriations and the (Agriculture) committees and every one of them says we’re going to get a farm bill done … The problem is I can’t get anyone to explain to me how they’re going to get it done.” – Former House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, speaking at the annual Ag Outlook Forum in Kansas City.
Peterson later went on to say that he expects to see at least a one-year extension of the current farm bill.Questions, comments, tips? Email email@example.com.