The legal battle is on over the Biden administration’s new “waters of the U.S.” rule. Some major farm groups joined with the oil, real estate and construction sectors to file a lawsuit Wednesday evening seeking to block implementation of the rule that redefines the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Texas, alleges the rule extends federal jurisdiction to a “staggering range of dry land and water features—whether large or small; permanent, intermittent, or ephemeral; flowing or stagnant; natural or manmade; interstate or intrastate; and no matter how remote from or lacking in a physical connection to actual navigable waters.”

The plaintiffs include the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Petroleum Institute, Associated General Contractors of America and the National Association of Realtors.

Keep in mind: The Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could force the Biden administration to modify the new WOTUS rule.

Names of dietary guidelines advisers due out today
The Biden administration is officially kicking off the process for developing the next version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines are supposed to reflect the most up-to-date, scientifically grounded advice for how Americans should eat.
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to announce the members of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and begin accepting registration for the committee’s first meeting on Feb. 9 and 10. HHS also is beginning a public comment period that will be open until late 2024 while the committee holds meetings and considers the scientific questions prioritized by HHS and USDA.
The advisory committee will have 15 to 20 members. The new guidelines are due out by 2025.
Wholesale food prices ease; consumer relief ahead? 
There’s some good news on the inflation front when it comes to food costs. Wholesale prices fell 0.5% in December, helped in part by broad declines in food commodities. The decline in the Producer Price Index could be a sign of some stabilization to come in supermarket prices.
Wholesale prices for eggs continue to rise, soaring more than 24% last month, and beef prices were up as well. But those foods were largely the exception.
While inflation is still too high, “things are moving in the right direction,” Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told Agri-Pulse. Bernstein notes that wholesale poultry prices are down even though egg prices continue to rise as a result of the avian flu outbreak.
What’s ahead: Joe Glauber, a former chief economist at USDA who’s now with the International Food Policy Research Institute, says it’s going to be some time before we get back to the historic inflation rate for food, about 2% a year.
“If we see moderation (in food prices), that will be towards the second half of the year,” he said in a briefing for members of the North American Agricultural Journalists. USDA is 
forecasting supermarket prices to rise by 3% to 4% this year
Proposed foreign ownership restrictions popping up in states
Members of some 13 state legislatures have introduced or plan to introduce bills to restrict foreign ownership of land to some degree.
The bills range from restricting “foreign adversaries” from purchasing “agricultural production land” to creating state-level boards that function similarly to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.
According to the National Agricultural Law Center, the states where the bills are in play are Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Meatpacking giant hit with greenwashing complaint

An environmental group has filed a whistleblower complaint against meat producer JBS, claiming it misled investors when it sold green bonds tied to the company’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The complaint says JBS failed to account for its supply chain, or Scope 3, emissions. Those include emissions associated with producing the animals the company processes.

Mighty Earth claims $3.2 billion in sustainability-linked bonds are fraudulent because they don’t take into account the vast majority of JBS emissions.

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JBS has pledged to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emission intensity from its own operations by 30% by 2030 and be net zero by 2040. 
JBS spokesperson Nikki Richardson told The Washington Post the bonds were clearly tied to Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Keep in mind: 
The Securities Exchange Commission has proposed to require public corporations to track and disclose their Scope 3 emissions, including those from agriculture.
Ukraine vows to send grain to Kenya
Ukraine has pledged to donate more of its grain to Kenya as well as work with the African country to combat food shortages there.
"Today, almost 3 million Kenyans are in dire need of humanitarian food aid,” Ukrainian Deputy Agriculture Minister Markiyan Dmytrasevich said after meeting with visiting Kenyan officials. “Therefore, Kenya is among the countries to which Ukraine plans to send grain under Grain from Ukraine."
Take note: Ukraine is still pushing for an expansion of the Black Sea Grain Initiative by opening up more than just the three Odesa ports that are in operation now. Russia would need to consent to such an expansion, and it’s unclear if there is support for the idea in Moscow.
She said it. “We've learned during the pandemic, the challenges that we faced with our supply chain issues which were widespread throughout agriculture. were exacerbated in organic agriculture. That allows for even more opportunities for fraudulent products to come to the market because of the desperate need for products everywhere.” Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.
USDA on Wednesday released a final rule to increase enforcement of the department’s organic standards.
The 2018 farm bill mandated many of the changes formalized in the final rule. Pingree says additional measures could be added to the next farm bill.

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