The House GOP’s stopgap spending bill looks to be gaining momentum despite opposition from some hard-line conservatives. The continuing resolution, introduced over the weekend, includes a yearlong extension of the 2018 farm bill. Lawmakers need to pass some kind of mechanism to avoid a government shutdown by this weekend.

The most positive sign for the continuing resolution Monday was that neither House Democrats nor Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., immediately ruled it out. 

House Democratic leaders said they would be discussing the proposal with members. Schumer said House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., “seems to be moving in our direction by advancing a CR that does not include the highly partisan cuts that Democrats have warned against.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the House CR a “responsible measure that will keep the lights on” and “avoid a harmful lapse in federal spending.”

Take note: GOP Rep. Andy Harris, a House Freedom Caucus member who chairs the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, told CNBC the “laddered” CR “definitely changes the way we do things in Washington.” Harris reportedly proposed the CR's two-step funding concept: The measure would extend funding for some departments, including USDA, to Jan. 19. Most would be funded until Feb. 2. The idea is to keep pressure on Congress into next year to enact individual appropriations bills. 

Researchers identify fewer strains of African Swine Fever

Researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have reclassified the number of African Swine Fever virus (ASFV) strains from 25 different genotypes to just six after reevaluating the previously available virus DNA sequences. 

ARS researchers reanalyzed more than 12,000 historical and current virus isolates produced from ASFV labs worldwide.

Senior ARS scientist Douglas Gladue says that means there is less diversity of ASF virus affecting communities across the globe. “This information is important as it may reduce the number of vaccines previously thought to be needed to protect against all ASFV genotypes," he says.

Although the virus has not been found in the domestic U.S., the economic impact on U.S. producers could result in up to $50 billion in revenue losses, according to the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development.

USDA announces $52M for GusNIP

More than $52 million will be invested in USDA’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) to help improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables and increase dietary health. A bulk of the funding –  $41.8 million – goes to 19 projects providing incentives at the point of purchase for eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. This includes several “Double Up Bucks” state programs to provide a match with state funds with USDA’s allocations.

Another $5.2 million is designated for 11 projects that “demonstrate and evaluate the impact of fresh fruit and vegetable prescriptions.”

The new round also provides $7 million for training, technical assistance and support services in what USDA called NTAE 2.0, a partnership between the Fair Food Network and the University of California San Francisco. NTAE stands for the Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation and Information.

Brazil soy crop downgraded on dry weather

Brazilian fields in the largest soybean state of Mato Grosso are so dry, the consulting firm AgRural says it’s cutting forecast production forecasts for the country. The firm says it now sees total Brazilian soybean production only reaching 163.5 million metric tons, down from a previous forecast of 164.6 million tons. That entire 1.1-million-ton cut is a result of the problems in Mato Grosso.

AgRural says it may cut its forecast again this month.

“Depending on the behavior of the climate, new cuts may be made in Mato Grosso's production estimate before the end of November, due to the impact of hot and dry weather on the initial development of more recently planted crops and also on more advanced areas, which are already flowering and forming pods.”

The fact that a lot of farmers are having to replant is not a good sign, the firm said.

Take note: Planting continues, but at a historically low rate. Brazil’s farmers have planted 61% of this year’s crop, according to AgRural – the lowest level for this time of year since the 2020-21 marketing year.

CO2 pipeline setbacks make power plant rules unworkable, NRECA says

The delay of one major carbon dioxide sequestration project and the cancellation of another show EPA’s proposed power plant rules are infeasible, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association told the agency in supplemental comments submitted Monday.

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NRECA said the “setbacks” – Summit’s delay of the projected start date until 2026 for its proposed pipeline and Navigator CO2’s cancellation of its project – “undermine EPA’s already spurious projections for the readiness of [carbon capture and sequestration] as an adequately demonstrated and achievable technology.”

“The permitting challenges and public opposition observed in the two recent developments are not unique to CO2 pipelines,” NRECA Regulatory Affairs Director Dan Bosch said in a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “As NRECA explained in its previous comments, similar obstacles will face developers of the pipeline infrastructure needed to support clean hydrogen.”

Rules EPA proposed in May rely heavily on CCS to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas and coal-fired power plants.

Peanut group celebrates rising trade with Japan

Representatives from the American Peanut Council were in Japan last week to celebrate rising trade between the two countries. Japan dropped its 10% tariff on U.S. peanuts in 2020 as part of the Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement, which helped push the country up to the fifth largest foreign market.

The U.S. shipped a record 20,171 metric tons of peanuts to Japan in 2022, with a value of $35.6 million, according to the American Peanut Council.

“Last week’s official visit to Japan was important for the U.S. peanut industry for continued trade development in what is a consistently growing and promising market,” Council President and CEO Richard Owen said in a statement. “As Japanese consumers’ hunger grows for peanuts and peanut products, we think the timing of our visit was vital.”

They said it: “EPA’s expectation that sufficient pipeline infrastructure will be developed to transport carbon dioxide (CO2) from units installing carbon capture and storage (CCS) to enable compliance with the Proposed Rules is extremely unrealistic, if not impossible” – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in a letter asking EPA to withdraw proposed power plant rules.