There’s one week left to submit comments to the House Agriculture Committee on what should – or shouldn’t – be in the next farm bill. So far, the committee has received nearly 1,400 submissions, according to staff. Comments can be submitted here

By the way: House Ag member Tracey Mann, R-Kan., is the featured guest this week on Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, and he says it’s too early to know what impact members of the House Freedom Caucus will have on the farm bill. Members of the group brought the House to a halt this week following the approval of a debt ceiling agreement that many of them don’t like. The past two farm bills have run aground on the House floor because of demands from House conservatives related to SNAP and immigration.

“We've got to write a bill that pleases a lot of different groups, and that's what we're in the middle of right now,” Mann says.

This week’s Newsmakers will be available today at

Lawmakers look to speed FDA feed approvals

A new Senate bill with bipartisan support is aimed at getting FDA to more quickly approve feed additives that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions or otherwise increase the efficiency of livestock production. Under the Innovative FEED Act, new feed additives would be regulated as food ingredients rather than animal drugs. 

The bill is sponsored by Sens. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and has the backing of the American Feed Industry Association, National Grain and Feed Association, National Milk Producers Federation and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. 

“Without this legislative change, U.S. agriculture is at a competitive disadvantage to its international counterparts,” says AFIA.

Keep in mind: Elanco Animal Health expects to get FDA approval next year to market a methane-reducing feed additive for cattle. Elanco says the product has “blockbuster revenue potential” in excess of $200 million.

Potatoes on this week’s Japanese trade mission agenda

USDA’s trade mission this week to Japan came at a good time for U.S. potato growers. Last month, a bipartisan letter signed by 35 lawmakers called for USDA assistance in opening up the Japanese market to U.S. fresh potatoes. Market access for fresh spuds to Japan has the potential of reaching $150 million per year, the letter says.   

Japan is a significant market for U.S. frozen potatoes, but no fresh potatoes are allowed due to delayed approvals.

USDA Undersecretary for Trade Alexis Taylor told reporters Thursday she had positive discussions with partners in the Japanese government this week. “We’re going to continue to engage and make progress … on this issue. It is a long priority of the U.S. potato industry and the U.S. government to continue to prioritize and expand our market access there.”

Reclamation preparing formal talks with Colo. River states for post-2026

The Bureau of Reclamation is preparing next week to formally advance the process of developing new operating guidelines for the Colorado River. The guidelines will replace a plan that expires in 2026. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, speaking at a University of Colorado conference Thursday, said the agency’s goal is to have an initial plan ready by the end of 2024.

Leaders from all seven Colorado River basin states have already been involved in grueling talks this year over how to cut an additional 2 to 4 million acre-feet of usage above the reductions that were part of a 2007 agreement. The new cuts are seen as a bridge to the post-2026 plan. Those states will need to return to the table to iron out the new set of guidelines for where future cuts will be doled out. 

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Take note: Touton said the river system has received an additional 2 million acre-feet of water from this year’s weather. That extra water, plus the cuts agreed to by Arizona, Nevada and California, give the basin some “flexibility” to begin planning for post-2026, she said. 

Reclamation plans to reissue a draft supplemental environmental impact statement for public comment, with the goal of releasing a record of decision on the Lower Basin proposal by the end of this year.

AeroFarms files for protection under Chapter 11

AeroFarms, a leading indoor farming company whose leafy greens are sold in supermarkets nationwide, has filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

Founded in 2004, the company says it has “entered into an agreement with an existing group of AeroFarms investors to provide $10 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing, as part of a larger round of financing that includes those investors.” That financing, along with cash generated from ongoing operations, should provide the company with enough liquidity to support its operations during the bankruptcy process, the company says.

Blue skies ahead? “While the vertical farming industry has recently faced significant industry and capital market headwinds, AeroFarms’ critical Danville, Virginia, farm continues to scale according to plan, and AeroFarms microgreens have become the dominant market leader at retail,” the company says.

He said it. “It is unfathomable that millions of Americans cannot even step outside without compromising their health and safety.” - Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., calling on Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to send more Forest Service personnel to Canada to fight the wildfires that have poured smoke across the eastern United States this week.