The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allows Ukraine to export grain from three Odesa ports despite an ongoing war, was renewed on Saturday, but it’s still unclear for how long.
Russian officials are claiming that Moscow only agreed to a 60-day extension out of concern that Russia has been unable to export its ammonia, while Ukrainian officials have said the Initiative was extended by the traditional 120 days that is called for under the Initiative.
And the UN isn’t saying anything.
“We don’t have any comment on the duration,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said Monday. “The different parties gave their own differing accounts of this. We have said what we have said. It’s clear right now that the deal has been extended.”

Vilsack confident on defeating SNAP cuts
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he believes lawmakers will ultimately pass a new farm bill without GOP proposals to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
A bill introduced last week would expand the existing SNAP work requirements to older adults and parents with kids over the age of 7. But Vilsack told reporters at the Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Policy Summit Monday that a large share of SNAP recipients are classified as “able-bodied” – and therefore subject to work requirements – are either veterans, homeless or have mental challenges.
Vilsack also noted that the majority of people getting SNAP benefits are working but are in low-paying jobs: “So if we're interested in reducing SNAP, why aren't we also having a companion conversation about low-wage industries?”
Bottom line: Last week, Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow warned that GOP cuts to SNAP would result in cuts to the rest of the farm bill. Vilsack says she’ll ultimately prevail.
“I'm still confident at the end of the day that people will find a way to get this job done without crossing the line that Chairwoman Stabenow has established, which is we're not going to reduce our commitment to folks that need help,” he said.
WOTUS ruling sparks divided response
A decision from a federal judge in Texas halting the implementation of WOTUS in Texas and Idaho prompted diverse reactions, even within the ag community.
The American Farm Bureau Federation cheered the injunction, the only one to be issued among a handful of lawsuits challenging the Biden administration rule, which went into effect Monday. AFBF President Zippy Duvall said the judge’s ruling “undermines the [EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’] rationale for pushing through this new rule before the Supreme Court rules in Sackett v. EPA.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, however, emphasized the fact that the rule would remain in effect in 48 states.
“While we appreciate the court’s injunction of the rule in Texas and Idaho, we are strongly disappointed in the decision to keep this WOTUS rule in place in 48 states,” said NCBA President Todd Wilkinson, a South Dakota cattle producer.
The National Wildlife Federation said the decision “sets a dangerous precedent that threatens the urgent restoration of federal clean water protections nationwide.”
The Supreme Court has yet to issue its Sackett decision, which could force EPA to take another look at the rule.
Carbon pipeline restrictions would hinder ethanol production in Iowa, group says
A study commissioned by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says Iowa could lose up to 75% of its ethanol production if the state prevents a slate of carbon capture and sequestration projects from going forward.

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The study, conducted by economic research firm Decision Innovation Solutions, says the potential production losses could, in turn, cause the gross margins of the state’s corn and soybean farmers to drop by more than $1.1 billion per year.
Take note: The Iowa legislature is currently considering legislation that would require carbon pipeline companies to get approval from at least 90% of impacted landowners before using eminent domain.
Food insecurity on the rise
As food prices increased over 10% from December 2021 until December 2022, the share of adults reporting food insecurity rose from 20% to 24.6%, according to a new report released by the Urban Institute.
Food insecurity hit Hispanic and Black adults at a higher level, nearly double the increase when compared to white adults.
“Households experiencing very low food security not only report reductions in dietary quality and variety but also experience reduced food intake and skipped meals, presenting a more severe indicator of household hunger,” the report states.
Food banks continued to report strong needs as federal support decreased and food costs increased. Nearly one in six adults (about 16%) reported their households received charitable food in 2022, down from 17.4% in 2021. That also was down from the height of usage in 2020 at 19.7%, but well above the pre-pandemic rate in 2019 of 12.7%.
She said it: “Imagine a world where your diagnosis is being treated by what’s on your plate, not what’s in a pill” – Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association, speaking on a panel about prescribing food as medicine at the Agri-Pulse Ag & Food Policy Summit.

Questions, comments, tips? Email Steve Davies at Agri-Pulse.