House Republicans are scaling back their ambitions when it comes to slashing spending at USDA. The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee today will take up a draft spending bill for fiscal 2025 that would reduce total funding for USDA, FDA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by just over 1%.

The most notable cut would be in USDA’s Food for Peace program, which would see its funding slashed by $619 million to $1 billion for FY25. Republicans are justifying that proposal by noting that Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is using the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide $1 billion to Food for Peace at the request of leaders of the Senate Ag Committee.

Keep in mind: The House GOP’s’ FY24 Agriculture spending bill, which failed on the House floor, would have effectively cut USDA’s budget by 18%, according to Vilsack.

For more on the bill and its policy riders, read our report at

Boozman rolling out farm bill proposal

The top Republican on the Senate Ag Committee, John Boozman of Arkansas, is releasing the outline of his proposed farm bill today, as the political jockeying over the legislation continues ahead of the fall elections.

A source familiar with the framework says it will be aligned with the bill advanced by the House Agriculture Committee last month. The source says it will include ideas for “modernizing” the commodity and crop insurance titles, with “heavy investments in trade research and rural communities.”

A bill with “a similar approach” to the House Ag bill “can be the foundation for bipartisan action in the Senate,” the source says.

Keep in mind: Boozman himself has said his proposal would be “very similar” to the House measure. If so, that doesn’t bode well for getting an agreement this year. The House bill crossed several red lines for Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., including cuts in projected funding from the nutrition title and the removal climate guardrails from Inflation Reduction Act conservation funding.

House Ag Chairman Glenn Thompson’s proposed method of paying for the commodity program changes – suspending USDA’s Section 5 spending authority – isn’t likely to work in the Democratic-controlled Senate either.

APHIS proposes changes to poultry indemnity requirements

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to tighten regulations for poultry operations seeking reimbursement for destroying birds with avian flu.

APHIS’s National Poultry Improvement Plan proposal would add language “to ensure that … biosecurity plans are in fact being followed. The proposed rule would specify that state agencies determine producers are abiding by the terms of the plans and conduct audits “for compliance with the biosecurity principles” approved by APHIS.

Testing requirements would be clarified under the proposal to certify that 15 samples from multiplier spent fowls are tested within 21 days prior to movement to slaughter. The way the regulations are written now, they could be construed to require testing of only one multiplier spent fowl.

But “this would constitute insufficient testing for avian influenza to provide assurances that a flock is ‘clean,’” APHIS said.

The proposal comes with a 60-day comment period.

APHIS has paid out more than $1 billion to aid producers who have destroyed their flocks because of bird flu since the start of the outbreak in the U.S. in February 2022. About 97 million birds have been destroyed in commercial and backyard flocks.

Johnson, Davids launch Sustainable Aviation caucus

Reps. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., and Sharice Davids, D-Kans. said Monday they will be launching the Congressional Sustainable Aviation Caucus, an organization that will also include Mike Flood, R-Neb., and Nikki Budzinski, D-Ill. as members.

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The new caucus will host briefings on sustainable aviation fuel adoption, technological advancements in sustainable aviation, and challenges the industry is facing when it comes to fuel production, workforce or regulatory structures, according to Johnson's press release.

According to Davids’ website, the new caucus "provides a forum for keeping abreast of these initiatives and assessing the policy, process, and resources to further environmental gains, fuel supply resiliency, and national security.”

Strike action for Canadian border workers might slow down agriculture truck freight 

More than 9,000 Canada Border Services Agency workers have paused any strike action until Friday to allow continued negotiations with the Canadian government. If bargaining fails, the Public Service Alliance of Canada union will set a new strike deadline after two years without a contract. 

The government says 90% of border officials are “essential” and cannot strike, but supply chain slowdowns for passenger and truck freight would still be likely, as the union has said it would “work to rule” – in other words, no more than called for by the contract.

The U.S. supplies 37% of Canada's imported fruit and 75% of its vegetables via refrigerated truck freight, which could put perishable products in danger if they can’t be delivered on time.

Detroit, Port Huron, and Buffalo are the top U.S. truck ports for freight with Canada. 

Meanwhile, strikes could be brewing at Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Kansas City. Teamsters Canada Rail Conference turned down offers from the companies, and now the parties are seeking clarification from Canada’s Industrial Relations Board on what constitutes a continuation of activities during a work stoppage.

 Philip Brasher and Noah Wicks contributed to this report.