Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the top story in global news throughout 2022, forcing American ag and food policy watchers to keep a close eye on the war’s implications for domestic agriculture interests and world food security.

The February invasion caused a ripple effect throughout agriculture, impacting everything from food and to fertilizer demand. As farmers looked to understand the war’s implications, they were also presented with new opportunities to bolster conservation efforts in their operations and the possibility to join new “climate-smart” endeavors.

As 2022 comes to a close, Agri-Pulse looked back at the top news stories it posted each month based on website traffic. The list includes a wide array of topics, including many that will continue to unfold as the calendar turns to a new year.


Top story: Court declines to review year-round E15 ruling

In the first of several major farm policy stories from the Supreme Court, justices opted not to hear a challenge to a lower-court ruling that overturned a Trump administration policy to legalize year-round E15 sales. But the biofuels industry would get relief later in the year when the Biden administration used emergency authority to allow the fuel to be sold in the summer of 2022.

Also in the news:

Grassley slams Senate Ag's GOP staff over livestock markets bill

Study: Rising fertilizer prices will hit farmers hard in 2022

Four named to senior USDA staff positions 

Biden administration rolls out meat industry investments, reform plans


Top story: USDA launches new round of cover crop payments

The Biden administration has made encouraging cover crops and other conservation measures a priority in its approach to farm policy. February’s announcement of $5-per-acre payments for producers who grow cover crops marked the second year in a row the incentive was offered.

Also in the news:

USDA kicking off climate-smart commodity initiative

Vilsack to fertilizer companies: Don’t take advantage of Russian invasion

Bayer: Supplier's production shortfall may slow glyphosate deliveries

Shipping reform bill makes new advances in Congress


Top story: Russian invasion threatens global food and fertilizer supplies

The world learned of new ramifications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine almost daily this spring, when Ukrainian farmers were struggling to plant their annual crops and exporters were hampered by the effects of war on supply chains already rendered fragile by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also in the news:

Russian halt to fertilizer exports expected to boost prices, spur shortfalls

Modern agriculture prepares to roll on the National Mall

Ukraine war throws world corn and wheat supplies in doubt

Russia bans grain exports to neighboring ex-Soviet countries 


Top story: Senators refuse to give up on farm labor deal

In a saga that would continue through the end of the year, senators tried to reach agreement on a new version of the House Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The talks would ultimately fail, leaving farm groups empty-handed in their efforts to address farm labor demands before Republicans take control of the House in January.

Also in the news:

Biden proposes $500M in emergency incentives to boost US crop production

GAO: Trump administration used flawed analysis for ERS-NIFA move

Stabenow, Boozman announce first Senate farm bill hearing

White House announces new FSA, RD appointments


Top story: Chinese interest in US ag assets could pose security risks, federal report says

This story — which was also Agri-Pulse’s most-read item of 2022 — focused on China’s efforts to become a global agricultural powerhouse and what that might mean for U.S. agriculture. A federal agency that advises Congress suggested the American government need more coordination between federal entities tracking the trend as well as better tracking of mergers and acquisitions that might have an impact on China’s growth in U.S. agriculture.

Also in the news:

Vilsack pivots, seeking new insurance, conservation incentives to boost production

Biden to tap Alexis Taylor to be top USDA trade official

Vilsack: USDA wasn't consulted by DOJ in Roundup case

Midwest planting delays raise concerns about US harvest


Top story: House sends Ocean Shipping Reform Act to Biden for signature

The supply chain breakdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic led many on Capitol Hill in search of a legislative solution to address bottlenecks at the nation’s ports. The result was a bill that calls on federal regulators to develop rules for ocean carriers, but lawmakers have criticized the Federal Maritime Commission over its implementation of the legislation.

Also in the news:

Vilsack unveils strategy, funding to ‘transform’ US food system

Smithfield closes California plant, citing high business costs

Supreme Court will not hear Monsanto Roundup case

Farm Bureau hires Young as next top executive


Top story: Senators warned hunger crisis could worsen into 2023

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and the grain the war took out of the global food supply — exacerbated the global hunger problem. A Senate hearing featuring World Food Program leader David Beasley warned of a “crisis beyond anything we have seen in our lifetime.”

Also in the news:

Manchin, Schumer cut deal on climate spending, including farm bill funds

SYSCO sues beef packers for conspiracy to limit volumes, fix prices

House conservatives propose to slash farm programs

Poultry firms agree to pay $85M in compensation, curb 'tournament' abuses


Top story: Democrats add farm debt relief to climate funding as Senate passage nears

July’s landmark agreement on a spending package officially dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act offered new life for an effort to address the debt held by socially-disadvantaged borrowers after a 2021 relief plan was blocked by courts. 

Also in the news:

This time, USDA will have broad latitude to aid farm debtors

Vilsack: USDA may take step-by-step approach to ag debt relief

Historic climate funding package clears Senate 

USDA crop report rattles corn and cotton futures


Top story: Climate-smart funding balloons to $3.5B, Vilsack announces first projects

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA’s landmark program to help farmers profit from their climate-smart agriculture efforts, paving the way for billions in pilot projects. September’s announcement was the first of two in 2022, with a later announcement in December funding smaller projects and focusing on minority-serving efforts.

Also in the news:

GAO: USDA failed to catch questionable CFAP payments

Ag, food and rural organization CEOs are an exclusive — and sometimes well-paid — group

Glyphosate interim decision withdrawn; EPA anticipates final registration in 2026

USDA equity panel targets county committee system


Top story: Prop 12's fate now in the hands of Supreme Court following oral arguments

October brought two landmark agricultural law cases before the highest court in the nation, including arguments over whether or not California’s Proposition 12 animal housing law is lawful. No decision has been announced in that case or a wetlands case that could have major implications for the Biden administration’s efforts to rewrite the waters of the U.S. rule.

Also in the news:

Farmers assessing Hurricane Ian's damage to crops, equipment

USDA distributes debt relief payments as Vilsack unveils new ‘proactive’ servicing approach

Nori, Bayer partnership to generate crypto carbon credits

Historic drop in Mississippi River water levels snarling barge traffic 


Top story: California congressional races finalized, except for one

November’s midterm elections were a surprise to many expecting a sweeping Republican victory, but the results took a little while to digest, and in some cases took just as long to be finalized.

Also in the news:

FMCSA denies ag group effort for trucking waiver

Diesel shortage keeping prices high

Washington Week Ahead: Lawmakers face budget deadline, grocery merger gets focus

Election results likely narrow farm bill path


Top story: Disaster aid, ag climate program make it into year-end package

Congressional leaders reached a last-minute agreement on a massive spending bill that will provide $3.7 billion in ag disaster assistance and enact the Growing Climate Solutions Act, a measure aimed at accelerating the development of ag carbon markets. 

Also in the news:

EPA proposes boost to biofuel blending targets through 2025

EPA plan integrates biogas-powered EVs in Renewable Fuel Standard

US corn growers say no to Mexico’s GMO deal

Negotiators seeking to address key ag, nutrition issues in year-end bill

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