The Biden WOTUS rule will roll on to implementation, despite a Senate vote Wednesday under the Congressional Review Act.
That’s because President Joe Biden has already said he will veto the joint resolution, which passed the Senate 53-43 after the House voted earlier this month, 227-198, to overturn it. The rule itself went into effect March 20.
The votes aren’t there to override a veto, which may have given political cover to some vulnerable Democrats to vote for the resolution. Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia are all up for re-election next year. Independent Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who hasn’t decided whether she will run in 2024, and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada also voted for the measure.
Still to come: The Supreme Court’s decision in the Sackett Clean Water Act case. Critics of the Biden rule say EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers should have waited for that opinion before launching a rulemaking. 
New farm bill forecast raises price estimates
The closely watched Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri is out with its new forecast of farm program costs, which projects significantly higher commodity prices than the Congressional Budget Office is using for its estimate.
Why it matters: The differences in the two forecasts are potentially significant because higher price estimates could affect the cost of adjusting commodity programs, if CBO decides to move its price estimates closer to FAPRI’s. CBO estimates are used to score the cost of farm program changes.
The higher price estimates potentially make a big difference in which of the two main programs, Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage, is most appealing to farmers.
Because of the existing caps on PLC reference prices, FAPRI thinks many producers will choose ARC over PLC. As a result, FAPRI projects much higher costs for ARC and lower payments for PLC than CBO does.
By the way: FAPRI Director Patrick Westhoff was on Capitol Hill Wednesday briefing staff on the forecast.
SEC hedging on climate rule?
Securities and Exchange Commission Gary Gensler is feeling the heat on the agency’s plan to require companies to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains.
During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing Thursday, he stressed the commission and its staff were still discussing the proposal, which he said had drawn an unprecedented number of comments.
Take note: Gensler could have trouble with the top Democrat on the Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee, which controls the SEC budget: Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer told Gensler he would be looking into the plan to see whether he shared GOP concerns about its impact on small businesses.

Califf defends FDA budget, talks milk labeling
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf defended the agency’s requested 7.8% budget increase while testifying before the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee Wednesday. A year prior he came under intense fire for the handling of the infant formula crisis, but much of the questioning on Wednesday didn’t convey the same sense of frustration with Califf.
Califf reported on the progress of the agency’s proposed rule to differentiate between dairy milk and other alternative plant-based beverages that use the term milk. Califf said FDA has determined through research that Americans have trouble distinguishing the nutritional differences between cow’s milk and almond milk.
“Our rule is really focused on explicitly saying where there are differences in nutritional value as opposed to focusing on the name for one compared to the other because when these issues on naming have been brought up in court, consistently now the First Amendment wins out that people have the right to call it what they will,” Califf said.
EPA eying July for ag committee meeting
EPA's Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee is expected to meet this summer for the second time this year.
Following his comments to members of the American Coalition for Ethanol, EPA agricultural adviser Rod Snyder told reporters Wednesday the details are still being finalized, but he expects the group to meet “somewhere into the countryside” in July. The group met in January for the first in-person gathering since May 2016.
“We are really committed to making sure that that committee has its opportunity to do its work and be a really meaningful and substantive part of our process to gather information and provide recommendations to the administrator,” Snyder said.
On the agendaEPA Administrator Michael Regan has tasked the committee with “considering how EPA’s tools and programs can best support and advance the U.S. agriculture sector’s climate mitigation and adaptation goals.”
Groups call for checkoff reform
More than 130 agricultural and food groups are urging the House and Senate Agriculture committees to tighten the rules governing checkoff programs.

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The organizations, which include R-CALF USA, the National Farmers Union and the National Family Farm Coalition, support the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act. It would prohibit checkoff programs from contracting with organizations that lobby on agricultural policy and require them to publish checkoff program budgets and expenditures, among other things.
Ukraine: War has cut developing countries’ access to grain
Ukrainian wheat shipments to low-income nations are still below pre-war levels, but shipments are making up lost ground thanks to the Black Sea Grain Initiative and donor countries, according to United Nations data and a new analysis by the Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry.
Ukraine has managed to ship 236,000 tons of wheat to Yemen so far under the initiative, but that’s still far below the 700,000 tons provided by Ukraine in the year before Russia invaded, according to the ministry. A ship carrying another 30,000 tons of donated Ukrainian wheat left Odesa this week for Yemen.
So far, Ukraine has shipped about 1 million tons of wheat to Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and other low-income countries under the initiative, but that’s just a third of shipments sent in the same time period before the war began.
She said it. “The bottom line is research saves money in the future and helps produce more food and all the things we need for our economy.” – Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat who took over as chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee this year. She was addressing the issue of ag research during a hearing with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday.
Most agricultural research funding is allocated through annual appropriations bills, which makes Murray a crucial decisionmaker on the issue.
Steve Davies, Jacqui Fatka, Spencer Chase, Bill Tomson, Noah Wicks and Lydia Johnson contributed to this report.  
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