Washington, D.C. Update

October 21, 2022
Senators Send EPA Letter on RFS
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators sent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan a letter requesting EPA establish robustly and expanded blending volume obligations in its forthcoming “set” rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The letter argues increasing biofuel blends will support both domestic producers and the environment. The senators also called for EPA to take additional supportive action to increase regulatory certainty and opportunities for biofuel producers. The letter can be found here.

USAID Responds to Crisis in Haiti
This week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Haiti to respond to the humanitarian crisis brought on by political instability. Unrest has led to a month-long nationwide port blockade preventing food and fuel from being imported into the country. Haiti, one of the largest foreign markets for U.S. rice, has not received a shipment of US rice since late August. Earlier this month, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) penned an op-ed noting the importance of the Haitian market for rice producers and calling for the deployment of the Inter-American Peace Force in Haiti. The United Nations estimates that 4.7 million Haitians are currently facing acute hunger.

USDA Provides $800 Million to Distressed Borrowers
On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has provided $800 million in debt relief payments to distressed borrowers of Farm Service Agency loans. This amount is part of a total of $3.1 billion allocated through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for assistance to agricultural producers. USDA estimates this assistance will benefit approximately 35,000 borrowers.

Senate Agriculture Committee Plans for Farm Bill HearingsSenate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced her plan to hold multiple farm bill hearings before the end of this year. Sen. Stabenow has stated the upcoming hearings would include different farm bill titles but declined to discuss exact details. The Committee has held two listening sessions on farm bill issues this year, one in Michigan and the other in Arkansas.
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