New cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office detail the funding gap that House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson faces as he moves his farm bill this week.

CBO estimates the changes to the commodity title would increase the federal deficit by $37.7 billion to $39.3 billion. That’s after CBO accounts for the $8 billion in savings provided by suspending USDA’s Section 5 spending authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation.

The voluntary base update alone would cost $9.2 billion to $10.8 billion, according to CBO. The bill would allow farmers to get new base acres based on planting patterns over the past five years.

Keep in mind: Thompson argues that the CCC savings should be much higher than what CBO says, but CBO hasn’t changed its position so far.

The GOP response: “Preliminary estimates that are selectively leaked do not reflect final text or final scores. We continue working with CBO to address the deficiencies in their scores and estimates,” said Thompson spokesman Ben Goldey.

For more on the farm bill and how the benefits of the commodity title changes could be distributed check out this week’s Agri-Pulse newsletter. We also look at party control of the top 100 House districts in terms of ag production.

BASF to pay $316.5 million in PFAS settlement

BASF has agreed to pay $316.5 million to settle a lawsuit with a nationwide class of public water systems that detected PFAS in their drinking water sources.

The utilities allege that the PFAS came from firefighting foam. BASF said some of the products at issue in the litigation “were made using a surfactant produced by Ciba Specialty Chemicals, which BASF acquired in 2009.  In 2003, years before BASF acquired Ciba, Ciba sold that business line to another company.”

The settlement releases claims against BASF, Ciba, and other related corporate entities. It was reached as part of multi-district litigation against PFSA manufactures proceeding in South Carolina.

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BIO lays off 30 in restructuring

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization has laid off 30 people as part of a restructuring, including some of its senior leaders.

“After a thorough evaluation of our organization, its structure and, activities as well as the priorities of our members, we have developed a strategic plan for the association that is designed to bring stronger focus and greater impact in everything we do,” said President and CEO John Crowley.

“We want to ensure that all of our stakeholders understand the significance of biotechnology for patients, caregivers, and families, for our food systems, for the economy and for our national security,” he continued. 

Each of the “exited” employees “leaves a powerful and important mark on our history,” Crowley said. “We thank them for their contributions and wish them the very best.”

For more on the BIO layoffs and other employee comings and goings, read Farm Hands in this week’s Agri-Pulse newsletter. 

The layoffs were first reported by STAT.

FDA extends comment period on animal drug labeling proposal

FDA has extended the comment period on a proposal dealing with animal drug labeling after both the Generic Animal Drug Alliance and the Animal Health Institute sought more time.

“The proposed rule for labeling requirements includes significant detail and it is imperative that generic and pioneer animal drug sponsors have adequate time to review and formulate comments as this rule will have significant impact on the industry,” GADA said.

Both groups asked for another 90 days.

The proposal is designed to provide animal drug sponsors “with predictable requirements for the labeling of prescription and over-the-counter new animal drugs, as well as new animal drugs for use in animal feeds.”

Another extension: USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service also has granted more time for comment, giving interested parties another 14 days on a proposal addressing work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The new comment deadline is June 14.

He said it: “When I dropped the bill, I was glad I literally didn’t drop it, because it’s about 900 pages and it would have broke my foot.” — House Ag Committee Chair Glenn Thompson said on the formal introduction of his draft farm bill.