Fresh from visiting members of the House and Senate Ag Committee and their staffs, former House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson says everyone seems to be working very well together, drafting each title, working through the issues “and that’s a good thing. The non-controversial stuff is well in hand.”

The problem is the folks who think they are going to get more money in the farm bill to improve the safety net or specific titles, Peterson said during a webinar sponsored by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City yesterday.

“If you try to bring resources in from the outside, which is what you're going to have to do, you’re just going to set off another war,” he warned.

Peterson recalled that, when he was working on a new farm bill in 2007, the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committees got involved in finding additional funds, which led to infighting and a year-long delay in the process.

If more money is to be found for the next farm bill, he said leaders need to identify where the money will come from and get everyone to sign off – from the committee level to leadership and even the Biden Administration – before proceeding. But “that has not been done at this point,” he said.

“So, I think the big problem is the fact that everybody's kind of waiting until the extra money shows up,” Peterson added.

FDA issues warning letters to infant formula manufacturers

The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to three infant formula manufacturers detailing “significant violations” uncovered during inspections of their plants conducted over the past year.

Following the inspections, the manufacturers – ByHeart Inc., Mead Johnson Nutrition (Reckitt) and Perrigo Wisconsin LLC – recalled products potentially contaminated with Cronobacter sakazakii, the deadly bacteria at the center of last year’s massive recall.

FDA said the recalls were effective at removing products from the market and did not advise parents to discard or avoid buying the products now.             

Mitzi Baum, CEO of the consumer-based watchdog group Stop Foodborne Illness, was critical of the process.

“Restaurant inspectors post warnings on the door, or they shut an establishment down,” she told Agri-Pulse. “These national manufacturers get letters six months after an inspection and consumers have to dig around the internet to find out what happened. Once again, consumers are left confused and scared.”

Early Idalia assessments show impact on Georgia pecans, electrical grid

Pecan farms across Southern Georgia have reported damage to their trees in the wake of Hurricane Idalia, while five dairies and three swine operations are running on generators, according to an early summary of damage from the state’s agriculture department.

Approximately 233,000 power outages were reported across the state, according to a situation report from the agency. A farmers market in Valdosta operated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture sustained roof damage, while irrigation damage was reported in Echols County.

Take note: The agency is still collecting information on the hurricane’s impacts. The University of Florida is also surveying for damage there.

USDA needs fixes in anticipated CR 

Anticipating the need for a continuing resolution to keep the government funded, the Biden administration sent a list to Congress Thursday of “anomalies” that need to be addressed for any CR running through mid-December.

Included in the list are language changes required to fund the Livestock Mandatory Reporting program, rural housing rental assistance, and $501 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

In addition, the administration says an additional $1.4 billion is needed to fund the Women, Infants and Children program to “account for higher food costs and participation.” 

In a statement provided to Agri-Pulse, Kate Franken, National WIC Association board chair, urges Congress “to back away from threats of a catastrophic government shutdown and include these dollars in any funding package that advances prior to Sept. 30. Millions of families rely on WIC; we cannot let them down.”

There’s more: The administration also is seeking additional flexibility to meet the demand for USDA’s direct and guaranteed loans. Current law requires USDA to reserve 75% of direct and 40% of guaranteed farm ownership loans for socially disadvantaged farmers, although most of the demand for these programs is from farmers outside of this classification.

A change would allow USDA to continue to meet loan demand from non-socially disadvantaged farmers “without delays and without artificially contorting the loan level, while still providing loans to SDA farmers to the extent there is demand,” the White House document said. 

Corps to restart JD process following latest WOTUS rule 

The Army Corps of Engineers will resume issuing jurisdictional determinations on whether certain areas are “waters of the U.S.,” following issuance of a rule to conform with the Supreme Court’s Sackett decision.

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Speaking on Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox said the Corps can continue its assessments of applications to fill wetlands and other waters now that the agencies have issued their narrowly crafted rule.

Fox, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Courtney Briggs, and Bayard Ridge Group’s Tom Hebert appear on this week’s Newsmakers, which will be posted today on

RMA tries to make life easier for Whole Farm, Micro Farm programs

The Risk Management Agency is making changes it hopes will boost participation in the Whole Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm programs.

The programs are “two of the most comprehensive risk management plans available, and they are especially important to specialty crop, organic, urban, and direct-market producers,” said RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger.

Among changes to WFRP for the 2024 policy year: Allowing all eligible producers to qualify for 80% and 85% coverage levels; allowing producers to buy catastrophic coverage level policies for individual crops; and expanding yield history from a four-year to a 10-year maximum for all crops not covered by another federal crop insurance policy.  

Changes to Micro Farm include: Letting producers buy other federal crop insurance and moving the sales closing date “to a less busy time of year to help agents dedicate time to marketing the program,” RMA said.  

He said it: "I shouldn't say this as a Democrat, but he might elect a Democratic House. Because the suburban people will not vote for him." Former Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson, about the possibility of Donald Trump being the GOP Presidential nominee.

Correction: William Timmons represents the Fourth Congressional District in South Carolina, not South Dakota as reported in the Aug. 31 Daybreak. We regret the error.

Jacqui Fatka, Noah Wicks and Sara Wyant contributed to this report.