House members continue filing amendments to the fiscal 2024 funding bill for USDA and FDA that the chamber is scheduled to debate this week ahead of the long summer recess.

As of Sunday, the House Rules Committee had not scheduled a time to decide which of the proposed amendments will be debated. Although the House Appropriations Committee has proposed to cut spending across a wide variety of departments and agencies, members of the House Freedom Caucus are pushing for even deeper reductions.

The latest amendments for the Agriculture spending bill include proposals by Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and other hardline conservatives targeting spending on climate, diversity and other issues.

By the way: The House also could vote this week on a Senate resolution aimed at overturning the Biden administration’s listing of the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act. The Senate narrowly approved the measure on a 50-48 vote in May. But that margin is nowhere close to the two-thirds majority needed to overturn a presidential veto.

Ukraine: Russia attacking Odesa for gains in grain trade

Russia’s termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and subsequent attacks on Ukrainian port facilities and grain silos last week are all aimed at bolstering Russian wheat exports, Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the European Foreign Affairs Council.

"Russia's goal is not only to harm Ukraine, but also to enrich itself through rising food prices,” Kuleba said. “Russia … is attacking Ukrainian ports and infrastructure involved in maritime exports, and at the same time is increasing its own supply of grain on world markets.”

Market analysis from the consulting firm SovEcon shows demand and prices for Russian wheat are indeed rising.

“It's likely that farmers are aiming to capitalize on the sales of exporters, which are not adequately covered,” the firm said in a recent analysis.

Bill would exempt farm emissions from reporting requirements

Livestock farms should continue to be exempt from reporting routine emissions to state and local emergency response authorities, according to a bill introduced by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and 16 other senators which would amend the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.

In 2018, Congress exempted livestock farms from the reporting and EPA exempted farms from making similar reports to state and local responders. However, the Biden administration re-opened the rule to reconsider the exemption.  

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The National Pork Producers Council supports Fischer’s bill, saying “EPA’s proposed rule is extremely burdensome for the pork producers who would be required to report routine emissions from their farms, the local fire departments, and other first responders who would be inundated by thousands of these filings, which have no value to them.”

Dicamba litigation to proceed in district courts

A decision by a federal appeals court clears the way for litigation over dicamba to continue in two separate federal courts, but one is likely to come out with a decision before the other.

A lawsuit in Arizona seeking to have the herbicide’s federal registrations vacated is almost fully briefed, and a decision could come as soon as this year. The other suit, brought by soybean and cotton growers in Washington, D.C., challenges EPA restrictions such as cutoff dates and buffer zones.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the D.C. district court is the proper venue for the lawsuit filed by the American Soybean Association and Plains Cotton Growers lawsuit. One of the judges said in a concurring opinion that court decisions involving federal pesticide law have “generated substantial and wasteful confusion as to where litigants must file.”

Lawsuit filed over lesser prairie chicken listing

Federal protections for the lesser prairie chicken are being challenged in a lawsuit filed in Kansas by ag producers and the Kansas Natural Resource Coalition.

The plaintiffs want the threatened listing of the northern population of the bird vacated, arguing that land-use restrictions imposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service would severely harm ag operations.

The lead plaintiff is Cameron Edwards, who grows corn and raises livestock on about 7,000 acres of land in Logan County, Kansas. The Pacific Legal Foundation is representing the plaintiffs.

Questions, comments, tips? Email Associate Editor Steve Davies