Editor’s note: Daybreak won’t be published next week, but will return Monday, Aug. 21.

Peterson to GOP: Don’t drive away the Dems

Former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson has a message for House Republican leaders. There are plenty of Democratic votes to pass a farm bill, unless the GOP drives them away with changes forced by hard-line conservatives. 

In an interview with Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, Peterson said there are at least 40 to 50 Democrats ready to vote for the farm bill. The last two farm bills to emerge from the House Agriculture Committee, in 2013 and in 2018, initially failed on the House floor because of demands made by a group of GOP conservatives.

Peterson says GOP leaders need to work around those hard-liners rather than trying to satisfy their demands on issues such as SNAP. 

“The people that are demanding the changes … are never going to vote for the farm bill anyway. So, my advice to them (Republicans) is just to ignore those guys. And I would work with some Democrats that you can work with to try to get this thing done on a bipartisan basis,” Peterson said. 

By the way: While passage of a farm bill is still months away, Peterson suggested it’s possible it could be included in an omnibus spending bill that will eventually be needed to fund the government for fiscal 2024. 

Speaking on Newsmakers, veteran lobbyist Tara Smith says that if one or both chambers can move the farm bill by the end of the year, it “would be a real sign of progress,” potentially leading to final action by Congress early next spring. 

Keep in mind: House Ag member Kat Cammack, R-Fla., said earlier this week she expects Congress to pass an extension of the 2018 farm bill into 2024 and that House consideration of a new bill will be a “dogfight.”

This week’s Newsmakers will be available today at Agri-Pulse.com.

Burgum confident carbon pipeline project will gain regulatory approval

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum told reporters at the Iowa State Fair Thursday he has “every expectation” that the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline will be approved in his state, despite its initial permit application being rejected by the North Dakota Public Service Commission. Burgum was at the fair to campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. 

Summit has told Agri-Pulse it will reapply for the permit. Burgum believes the project will be approved with adjustments to the pipeline route to appease concerned landowners.

“I’m fully confident it’s going to be built,” he said.

Biden requests funding for food assistance, firefighters

supplemental funding request the White House sent to Congress Thursday includes money  to combat food insecurity caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The White House wants $1.3 billion for USAID’s International Disaster Assistance account, which helps provide emergency food assistance. “Russia’s termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July further destabilized global food markets, disproportionately impacting people in crisis-affected communities around the world,” the White House says in the 65-page request.

Also in the request is $45 million for USDA and $15 million for the Interior Department to boost pay for wildland fire fighters. Without the money, the firefighters could be cut to as low as $15 an hour this fall, the White House says. 

Rains bring some drought relief

Recent heavy rains have brought some significant improvements across portions of the Midwest, even as drought is intensifying across parts of the South amid the scorching heat. 

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, about 33% of Missouri is still rated in severe drought (D2) or worse, but that’s down from nearly 49% only a week ago. There also have been smaller improvements in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and other Midwest states. 

On the other hand, 34% of Texas is now in severe drought or worse, up from 19% just a week ago. 

Also: Heat experts on a webinar for journalists Thursday said this summer’s temperatures, especially in the Southwest, are not something people can simply adapt to over time. “This is not normal; this is shocking,” said Andrew Pershing of Climate Central. “Things are unfortunately going to get harder as the years progress.”

SNAP now available online in all 50 states

Instacart has become the first online grocery to accept online payments under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. 

Don't miss a beat sign up for a FREE month of Agri-Pulse news! The latest on what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and around the country in agriculture, just click here.

SNAP online was first available in 2020 in a partnership with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services. In a statement, Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, says partnerships such as the one with Instacart “strengthen our collective commitment to advancing President Biden’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.”

By the way: The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities published a new report detailing the role SNAP plays when recipients are between jobs or face low wages

“Most SNAP households who are able to work, do work,” the report states, as 86% of those defined as able-bodied workers without dependents had earnings during the year based on 2021 survey data.

Take note: The Food Research and Action Center is opposing the SNAP Nutrition Security Act, a farm bill proposal introduced by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to require data reporting on foods that SNAP recipients purchase. 

FRAC says the data could paint an inaccurate picture of purchasing decisions, since SNAP recipients don’t rely on the benefits to buy all their food. 

N.C. farm bureau expresses concerns about wolf reintroduction

The North Carolina Farm Bureau is criticizing a settlement that commits the Fish and Wildlife Service to issuing release plans for red wolves in eastern North Carolina.

“Though we are disappointed with the announcement, we are not surprised given the legal history of this case,” NCFB said in a statement on the settlement, reported in Thursday’s Daybreak.

NCFB says “the measures called for by the settlement agreement are not likely to result in meaningful improvements.” Defenders of Wildlife argues the reintroduction of wolves, coupled with coyote control efforts, helped stabilize the species’ population at about 100 animals in the early 2000s.

He said it. “’Cause I’m from Indiana.” – Former Vice President Mike Pence, when asked by Agri-Pulse at the Iowa State Fair why farmers should vote for him for president in 2024.