Friday’s failure of Silicon Valley Bank took down an investor in agriculture innovation, climate-related technology and wineries.
SVB’s web site said it had more than 1,550 “prominent clients in the climate technology and sustainability sector” and lent over $4 billion to winery clients since 1994.
According to the web site, SVB’s clients included Farmers Business Network, an ag data sharing company; Bowery Farming, an East coast vertical ag producer; and Impossible Foods, known for its plant-based burgers.
Bowery CEO Irving Fain is quoted as saying SVB was “committed to working with you through every stage, and they have an innate understanding of each stage – which is an enormous asset.”
The bank has 17 offices, including its Premium Wine Division office in Napa. For over two decades, Division founder Rob McMillan has been writing a closely-watched wine industry report and forecast.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was named as receiver for SVB, which had $209 billion in assets at the end of 2022. Federal regulators worked to auction off the bank to prospective buyers Sunday and said SVB’s depositors will have access to their money starting today.
Freedom Caucus demands include work rules
The House Freedom Caucus has laid out a sweeping set of demands they want to see met before the federal debt ceiling is raised. In addition to slashing federal spending, the group is calling for “restoring Clinton-era work requirements on welfare programs.”
It’s not clear whether the group wants to tighten work requirements in the SNAP program, which is funded out of the farm bill. The time limit on benefits for unemployed able-bodied adults was suspended at the beginning of the pandemic, but USDA will return to enforcing the rules when the public health emergency ends in May.
“We're gonna get Americans back to work,” said Freedom Caucus member Bob Good, R-Va. “We're going to end the policies that have expanded … Medicaid, expanded food stamps, expanded unemployment, expanded housing subsistence, with no work requirements.”
The Freedom Caucus called for limiting annual spending increases to 1% a year, starting at fiscal 2022 levels.
US, EU talk Inflation Reduction Act at White House
The Inflation Reduction Act and its promise of tax breaks for U.S.-made electric vehicles was a primary topic of discussion – and maybe disagreement – when President Joe Biden met Friday in the White House with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The European Union has repeatedly warned the U.S. that the tax credits would break World Trade Organization rules.
Von der Leyen, in a statement released Friday, said the two leaders would “discuss the Inflation Reduction Act and I think it's great that there is such a massive investment in new and clean technologies. Indeed, we want to match it with the Green Deal Investment plan, so plenty of topics to discuss together.”
Almond Board faces threat from Farm to Fork
The European Union wants to reduce pesticide use by 50% under its Farm to Fork strategy, but it’s also throwing up barriers to imports from countries where farmers use those inputs, and the Almond Board of California is now facing the consequences, says Sara Garcia-Figuera, a technical consultant and European regulatory expert.
“Very relevant for almond imports was this global dimension of the Farm to Fork strategy,” Garcia-Figuera told the board at a recent gathering. “They are starting to lower the maximum residue limits for some insecticides for environmental reasons, not for the usual risk-based assessments.”
Fish and Wildlife Service to take a look at health of Mexican wolf, Gunnison grouse
The Fish and Wildlife Service will review the status of the endangered Mexican wolf, whose population has grown significantly in recent years after it was reintroduced in Arizona and New Mexico in 1998.
Last week, the service said it documented a minimum of 241 wolves in the wild. Recovery goals released last fall include reaching an average of 320 wolves for eight years.
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FWS also said it would conduct reviews on 27 species in its Rocky Mountain-Prairie region, including the wide-ranging Gunnison sage grouse.
Legislators bring back Beagle Brigade Act with hopes of authorizing national training center
Four House and two Senate members have reintroduced a bill that would provide permanent Congressional authorization for the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia, which trains beagles to sniff out prohibited agricultural items at airports and other ports of entry.
Reps. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., Dan Kildee, D-Mich., and Adrian Smith, R-Neb., have introduced the bill in the House and Sens. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, are sponsoring the Senate version.
Take note: The National Pork Producers Council in a statement urged Congress to pass the bill, saying that detection capabilities are “more important than ever” due to African Swine Fever’s continued presence in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
She said it: “Now we see Russia is very clearly aligning with China, and with Iran, and so ensuring that Russia is defeated … is incredibly important given the resources and the economic importance of Ukraine. But on a moral and foundational-values basis, ensuring that a young Democratic nation that’s fighting for its freedom is able to attain that freedom is a worthy cause consistent with American values.” – Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., on Agri-Pulse’s Open Mic.
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