Farm groups are appealing to Congress for a fresh round of assistance to cover losses from drought and other disasters this year. The groups want the funding included in a fiscal 2023 omnibus spending bill that lawmakers hope to pass this month.
“Farm and ranch families from across the country continue to be harmed by extraordinary natural disasters, including a severe and chronic drought gripping much of the United States, Hurricane Ian, damaging freezes in the southeastern U.S. earlier this year, and late planting due to flooding and other weather conditions, to name only a few hardships facing producers in 2022,” the groups say in a letter to senior House and Senate appropriators.
The Farm Credit Council and National Council of Farmer Cooperatives signed the letter along with groups representing a wide range of commodities, including, corn, cotton, soybeans, rice, sorghum, peanuts and wheat.
Take note: House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., confirmed to Agri-Pulse Thursday that ag disaster relief was under discussion during negotiations over the year-end spending bill. “We’re looking at a whole disaster package,” she said.
Three-year RFS plan met with mixed reaction
The ethanol industry is applauding EPA’s proposed biofuel targets for 2023 through 2025. But the biodiesel and advanced biofuel sector says the numbers don’t reflect the fast growth in renewable diesel and other products.
The overall RFS would grow from 20.8 billion gallons in 2023 to 22.7 billion in 2025.
An analysis by biofuel advocate Larry Schafer suggests there could be more room for growth in biodiesel and renewable diesel, assuming ethanol doesn’t meet its targets under the plan. If the U.S. only uses 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol a year, some 935 million more gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel would be needed to offset the ethanol shortfall, he calculates.
That would push the total RFS demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel to nearly 4.4 billion gallons in 2025, compared to 3.5 billion to 3.9 billion gallons this year, he says. He says that would be “decent growth … but not extraordinary.”
Take note: The proposed rule includes regulations allowing biogas that’s used for powering electric vehicles to be eligible for the RFS. Under the plan, car manufacturers could register with the agency and generate the credits, or eRINs.
EV demand accounts for a significant portion of the overall increase in the RFS.
CFTC chairman: FTX collapse not our fault
The collapse of the cryptocurrency trading platform FTX is a touchy issue on Capitol Hill. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been a major donor to Democrats and had been advising lawmakers on how digital assets should be regulated.
But one person who isn’t taking the fall for the FTX collapse is the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Rostin Behnam. Behnam told the Senate Ag Committee Thursday his agency had no authority over FTX, with the exception of the LedgerX clearinghouse that FTX created.
Behnam said he had 10 meetings with Bankman-Fried, but those conversations were “mostly about” LedgerX, which the CFTC chairman insisted is in sound condition.
Take note: Bankman-Fried was a vocal supporter of a bill sponsored by leaders of the Ag Committee to regulate digital assets. But as it turns out, FTX was “far out of compliance” with the bill’s requirements, Behnam said.
Mexico buying 2023 US corn – despite coming ban
Mexico is scheduled to implement a ban on genetically modified corn in January of 2024, but that’s not stopping trade. Mexican buyers in two recent weeks have contracted to buy 628,130 metric tons of U.S. corn for delivery in the 2023-24 marketing year, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
U.S. farmers won’t even be planting that crop until next spring, and the 2023-24 marketing year doesn’t begin until Sept. 1 of next year.
Interested in more coverage and insights? Receive a free month of Agri-Pulse!
By the way: Mexico already is buying a lot of corn from this year’s crop. FAS says Mexico contracted to buy 387,100 tons during the week of Nov. 18-24 and 1.7 million tons during the previous week.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said earlier this week that he would be willing, under certain conditions, to exempt U.S. feed corn from the scheduled ban, but no deals have been reached.
Mitigation proposed as part of carbaryl plan
EPA is proposing to prohibit ground applications of carbaryl insecticide within 25 feet of aquatic habitats to protect non-target species. That restriction is included in a proposed interim registration decision released Thursday.
The insecticide is used on “a wide variety of food and feed crops, as well as in turf management, ornamental production, rangeland and residential settings,” according to EPA. EPA also is proposing a pilot program to examine the effects of mitigation measures in protecting four federally protected species, including Upper Columbia River steelhead trout.
Agencies urged to incorporate Native American insight
The Biden administration is encouraging federal agencies to seek out and use indigenous knowledge in their scientific and policy decisions.
“Agencies can ensure that Indigenous Knowledge holders are included in funding allocation decisions, and can ensure that merit-based funding decisions involve scoring rubrics that value Indigenous Knowledge on par with other forms of evidence and methods of inquiry,” new guidance issued Thursday says.
“Agencies should also develop evaluation criteria that includes Indigenous methodologies and approaches to ensure that Indigenous Knowledge is not inappropriately disadvantaged in the review process.”
Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory saystribal communities “have expertise critical to finding solutions to the climate crisis and protecting our nation’s ecosystems.”
He said it. “There’s really no way around it. We screwed this up.” – Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., on the FTX collapse.
Questions? Comments? Tips? Email email@example.com.