The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on the “waters of the U.S.” joint resolution that has been vetoed by President Joe Biden. 

The Congressional Review Act resolution that would overturn the Biden administration’s WOTUS rule passed the House 227-198, 63 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. In the Senate, the vote in favor of the resolution was 53-43; 67 votes are needed to override a veto.

Growth Energy likes EPA settlement over ESA consultation

Growth Energy said it is pleased with a settlement requiring EPA to conduct interagency consultation with federal wildlife agencies on the impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard on endangered species.

“Extensive research has shown that the RFS achieves its goal of lowering carbon emissions without causing land use or other environmental changes that impact endangered species,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said. “We look forward to EPA performing its own assessment under the terms of the settlement and reaching the same conclusion.”

The Center for Biological Diversity reached the agreement with EPA to settle a lawsuit brought over the lack of consultation on RFS renewable volume obligations. In return for dropping its challenge to the 2020-2022 RVO, CBD agreed to accept EPA’s commitment to complete Endangered Species Act consultation on the 2023-2025 RVO – the “set rule.”   

EPA, the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service “are working to complete ESA consultation on the RFS Set Rule before EPA’s promulgation of that rule,” the settlement says.

Pork production up slightly while farmer share of pork prices falls 24%

Retail pork prices increased rapidly throughout 2021 and much of 2022 before sliding since the fall of 2022, according to a new economic update released by the National Pork Producers Council.

Retail pork prices, wholesale prices and net farm vales in March were all down sharply from the same time a year ago, according to the analysis.

“The farm-to-wholesale price spread, which generally represents packer and processor costs and profits, fell to just 20 cents, or a 24% decrease, for the farmer share of the price per pound of pork,” NPPC said. “The retailer share of each consumer dollar increased to (67 cents), or up 21%.”

Pork prices which average about $75 per hundredweight are below the estimated breakeven of $100, the update noted. “Though prices and profitability typically follow seasonal patterns, January–February losses averaged $35 per head, which was far below the 10-year average return of about $4 per head for this period, according to estimates by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach,” the update stated.

The report also indicated pork and variety meat exports gained momentum in the first quarter. Through 2023, exports of pork and pork products were up 11.3% on volume and 12.7% in terms of value. Variety meat exports were up 37.6% year to date. Mexico was the top market, purchasing 38% of the total volume through February. 

Reclamation increases Klamath Project water allocations for 2023

The Bureau of Reclamation is upping Klamath Project water supply allocations this year amid drought improvements.

The agency, in charge of dam projects throughout the Western United States, plans to allocate 215,000 acre-feet from Upper Klamath Lake, 35,000 acre-feet from Gerber Reservoir and 350,000 acre-feet from Clear Lake Reservoir.

Take note: The Klamath Basin is still seeing prolonged drought conditions, and while the region has received precipitation, inflows remain "well below average,” the agency said in a release.

Ukraine group subsidizes non-GMO soybeans

The Danube Soya Association – a Ukrainian group with funding from Austria – is offering to pay 15% of seed costs incurred by small farmers, but only if they agree to plant varieties that are not genetically modified, according to a press release issued by the Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry.

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Farmers with less than 1,000 hectares (roughly 2,471 acres) that participate in the program will also be eligible for funding from a second program that’s also funded by the Austrian Development Agency and is designed to “stimulate Ukrainian farmers to grow non-genetically modified soybeans and will contribute to the development of the potential of small farmers.” 

The programs are active in Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

USDA’s Taylor highlights trade mission in Amsterdam

USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor will be holding a press conference tomorrow from Amsterdam, where she’s leading a trade mission to try to stir up new business for U.S. ag exporters, but she’s already predicting a success.

“As the gateway to Europe for U.S. food and agriculture exports, the Netherlands is an important trading partner. I’m delighted that company representatives from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are joining us in Amsterdam this week,” Taylor said in a statement released Monday. “With combined total agricultural and related exports to these markets topping $4.5 billion in 2022, I’m confident the delegation will be successful in building new relationships that are critical to expanding opportunities for increased trade.”

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