USDA Launches Loan Assistance ToolThis week the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency launched a new tool to assist agricultural producers in navigating the farm loan application process. The USDA tool is available in 2023 and would streamline the application from 29 pages to 13 pages and improve online functionality for applicants. The tool can be found here.
USDA Announces East Africa Trade MissionThis week, the USDA announced Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh will lead an agribusiness trade mission to Kenya and Tanzania from October 31-November 4. Representatives across the agricultural sector, including the rice industry, will travel to East Africa in hopes of strengthening ties and building partnerships in support of American agricultural products. This announcement follows last month’s launch of the U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership.
USTR Rejects Section 301 Investigation PetitionThis week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced it rejected a petition to conduct a Section 301 investigation into claims of unfair Mexican imports impacting U.S. produce. The petition argued that Mexican trade practices pose a threat to Florida’s agricultural sector. In response to the initial petition, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai urging against the petition. They noted the importance of the Mexican market for many American products, including rice, and cautioned that failure to reject the petition could cause Mexico to retaliate and would increase food prices for American consumers. The letter can be found here.