Leaders of the House and Senate Ag committees are in agreement that the debt limit has taken the issue of SNAP work requirements off the table for the farm bill debate. “We're not going to revisit this in the farm bill. I mean, this is agreed to with the House and Senate,” Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Tuesday evening.

The issue of SNAP work rules is “just one less that we have to deal with,” said John Boozman, Senate Ag’s top Republican.

House Ag Chairman Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., isn’t ruling out considering other “reforms and enhancements” to SNAP, but he agreed that work requirements are no longer an issue.

Take note: The full House Ag Committee will hold a hearing on SNAP next week.

Phil and Noah interviewing Stabenow.jpgSenator Debbie Stabenow in a gaggle with reporters. For more on the debt limit agreement and the farm bill, read our weekly Agri-Pulse newsletter.

WTO to work through summer on fixing appeals court

Marco Molina, Guatemala’s deputy permanent representative at the World Trade Organization, has been holding dozens of meetings over the past two months, gathering and sorting proposals for ways to reform the way the WTO operates its dispute settlement appellate body, and activities will be continuing through June and July, according a Geneva trade official.

Molina is dead set on finishing a reform plan by the 13th Ministerial Conference in February 2024, the Geneva official said.

Representatives from Canada, the U.S., European Union, Brazil, New Zealand, Japan, Norway, Australia, Taiwan and the UK all praised Molina for the way he’s conducting the process to craft reforms, and China lauded the speed at which meetings are being held.

The U.S. has been adamant for years that it will continue to block the installation of any new appellate court judges at the World Trade Organization until major reforms are made.

Groups call for halt to carbon pipeline permitting

More than 150 groups are urging the White House to enact a moratorium on pipelines to carry carbon dioxide, a long shot given the administration’s push for technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

letter to President Joe Biden outlines safety concerns ahead of a meeting scheduled in Iowa by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Three companies are planning to build pipelines in the Midwest to capture liquid CO2 from ethanol plants and then store it underground.

Groups on the letter include Food & Water Watch, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and dozens of local environmental organizations.

EPA testing doesn’t find PFAS in pesticides

EPA did not find any so-called “forever chemicals” in pesticide products it tested, the agency said.

In contrast with a study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, the agency said none of the 10 pesticides contained per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

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“One of the most important differences between the two methods is that EPA’s method ensures accurate measuring of PFAS by eliminating interference from the oils and surfactants present in these formulations which can result in false positive detections,” the agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs said.  

Community eligibility increased free school meals by 20%

Children receiving free school meals are on the rise in part due to a community eligibility provision which allows high-need schools to offer breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge. During the 2022–2023 school year, 20.8% more schools, or 40,235 schools, adopted the provision. 

Any district, group of schools in a district, or school with 40% or more “identified students” — children who are eligible for free school meals and already identified by means other than an individual household application — can choose to participate. The Biden administration is also considering a rule that would lower the threshold from 40% to 25%. 

A new report released by the Food Research & Action Center reveals that 19.9 million children nationwide attend a school that has adopted community eligibility, an increase of nearly 3.7 million children, or 22.5%, from the previous school year. A total of 39 states saw increases in school participation. California had the largest growth in the number of schools, followed by Florida and Washington, respectively. Nationally, 82% of eligible schools participate. 

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