The latest international climate conference, known as COP27, kicked off Sunday in Egypt, with an expected focus on helping developing countries deal with climate change. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be in attendance, and there are a host of side events that will focus on the connection between agriculture and climate change.
The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative, led by the Biden administration and the United Arab Emirates, is expected to announce an increase in member country commitments from $4 billion to $8 billion. AIM for Climate is intended to spur ag research and technology innovations that can address climate change while ensuring global food security.
According to the UN Foundation, there will be about 20 separate events at COP27 around the initiative. A special AIM for Climate summit also is planned for 2023.
Take note: In a UN Foundation blog post, Ryan Hobert, the group’s managing director of climate and environment, says “food and agriculture issues are going to be front and center at this COP in a way they haven’t been before.” That’s due in part, he says, to the ongoing food crisis in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere. But he says there’s also a greater appreciation today of the connection between agriculture and climate.
Others headed to the resort town of Sharm El Sheikh include Western Growers board member and farmer A.G. Kawamura and Solutions from the Land representatives Fred Yoder and Ernie Shea.
White House touts supply chain improvement
Ahead of Tuesday’s mid-term elections, the White House is working to persuade voters that it’s making progress in its efforts to tackle inflation.
White House economic policy adviser Jared Bernstein tells Agri-Pulse the administration has been working with the private sector to alleviate supply chain bottlenecks, particularly by addressing the truck driver shortage.
“Our supply chains are about 75% unsnarled from where they were at the worst of the pandemic, and that means that farmers can get their goods to markets,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein cited the latest employment report, released Friday, that showed more than 13,000 new jobs in the truck transportation sector.
“We see trucking employment at its highest point on record,” Bernstein said. “That’s also key for moving farm agricultural commodities around the country” and will “put downward pressure on inflation,” he added.
Increase domestic energy production to attack diesel prices, Farm Bureau tells Biden
With farmers facing diesel prices topping $5/gallon – $1.50 higher than a year ago – the nation’s biggest farm group called on President Joe Biden Friday to increase the U.S. energy supply.
“The American Farm Bureau supports increased domestic energy production, including more drilling, extraction and refining of our energy resources,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a letter to Biden. “By displacing imported petroleum, increased domestic production will enhance U.S. security and bring more supply online, reducing costs to all Americans.”
“Our nation’s food supply is driven by diesel,” Duvall said. “Every input that arrives on our farms and ranches is transported by a diesel engine, whether that is by boat or barge, rail or truck. Our crops are planted by diesel engines and harvested by diesel engines. High diesel prices are severely impacting our farmers and ranchers, causing increased costs to consumers, and adding to food insecurity.”
More scathing criticism of Maritime Commission’s OSRA proposal
The two lawmakers who spearheaded the original legislative efforts to create the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which is supposed to stop ocean carriers from refusing to deliver U.S. farm goods overseas, are heaping new criticism on the Federal Maritime Commission’s latest proposed rule implementing the law.
Interested in more coverage and insights? Receive a free month ofAgri-Pulse
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., last week gave Agri-Pulse a statement critical of the FMC’s attempt to define when it’s unreasonable for ocean carriers to refuse to haul U.S. ag. Now, together with Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., he is slamming the agency’s proposal.
“The FMC’s current definition of ‘unreasonable’ refusal is so feckless it has us wondering: What was the point of passing OSRA in the first place?” the two lawmakers said in a new joint statement. “We all witnessed the havoc foreign-flagged ocean carriers wreaked on our ports in 2021, price-gouging shippers and leaving American exporters high and dry. If this definition stands, they could easily do it again.”
“This proposed definition is not in line with congressional intent – it needs to be remedied for the sake of our farmers, exporters, and manufacturers who already faced extreme losses at the hands of foreign carriers.”
Johnson, Garamendi and five other House lawmakers sent a letter to FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei Friday “to reinforce congressional intent regarding this key definition and rulemaking.”
US pork exports gained steam in September
U.S. pork exports in September were higher in volume and value than they were for the same period last year, marking the second month of gains compared to 2021, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
The U.S. exported about 222,000 metric tons of pork valued at about $665 million in September. That’s a 1% increase in volume and a 9% increase in value from September 2021, says USMEF. Strong demand from Japan and South Korea helped drive the increased shipments.
Cumulative volumes of U.S. pork exports so far in 2022 were still 13% below the first nine months of last year.
"It’s very encouraging that U.S. pork exports continue to gain momentum, especially on the value side,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom.
They said it: “Foreign businesses’ and ocean carriers’ access to American ports and our consumers is a privilege, not a right. In return, ocean carriers must provide reasonable opportunities for American exporters to get their goods to foreign markets” – Letter to Federal Maritime Commission Chair Daniel Maffei from Democratic Reps. John Garamendi, Jim Costa, Mike Thompson and Jimmy Panetta of California, and Republicans Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, Adrian Smith of Nebraska, and David Valadao of California.
Questions, comments, tips? Send an email to Steve Davies.