What’s ahead for Washington this week: Congress gets back to work

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, April 11 – Congress’ overloaded agenda may benefit from President Obama hosting 46 world leaders in Washington Monday and Tuesday for the Nuclear Security Summit. With media attention on the summit (and DC traffic gridlocked for the two days of high security), Congress may be able to focus on its thick stack of backlogged legislation including financial reform, climate change, immigration and postponed action on retroactively extending must-do items like unemployment benefits and biodiesel subsidies.

Dairy and organic ag will be in play this week, first with Secretary Vilsack kicking off the Dairy Industry Advisory Council Meetings on Tuesday and then Deputy Secretary Merrigan addressing the diary meeting Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, Merrigan will deliver remarks at the Organics Trade Association’s 2010 Policy Conference.

Ethanol will be in the news this week when Growth Energy launches its new national TV ad campaign on Monday. According to Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, “We all know that ethanol has a great story to tell and now we have the opportunity to tell it to the entire country.” To watch the ads on-line starting Monday, go to: www.growthenergy.org/ads.

As if there weren’t enough happening, more national policy meetings start on Thursday, including CropLife America’s Spring Conference focused on pesticides and various Clean Water Act challenges. Tackling the same theme from a different perspective, EPA hosts a Clean Water Forum Thursday focused on controlling nutrient runoff to protect watersheds. A related but broader agenda will be covered at this week’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) conference on “Adapting for Future Resource Challenges: Food, Water, and Energy.”

Congressional hearings this week include:

Wednesday, April 14

  • Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the National Broadband Plan, with Federal Communications Commission Chair Genachowski.
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing To review access to healthy foods for beneficiaries of Federal nutrition programs and explore innovative methods to improve availability.
  • House Energy Independence Committee hearing on The Role of Coal in a New Energy Age, with four coal company executives.

Thursday, April 15

  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S.-Japan Relations.
  • House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearing on The National Broadband Plan: Competitive Availability of Navigation Devices.

USDA’s Economic Research Service & National Agricultural Statistics Service reports:

  • Monday, April 12, Crop Production Historical Track Records, Crop Progress, Cotton and Wool Outlook, Season-Average Price Forecasts, Oil Crops Outlook, Rice Outlook
  • Tuesday, April 13, Weather-Crop Summary, Feed Outlook, Wheat Outlook, Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data, Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook
  • Wednesday April 14, Broiler Hatchery, Livestock and Meat Trade Data, Meat Price Spreads, U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update
  • Thursday, April 15, Potato Stocks, Turkey Hatchery, Incorporating Behavioral Economics into Federal Food and Nutrition Policy, Aquaculture Data
  • Friday, April 16, Dairy Products Prices, Hatchery Production - Ann., Peanut Prices,

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