Washington, D.C. Update

June 17, 2022

House Appropriations Subcommittee marks up FY23 bill

On Tuesday, the House Appropriations released text for the FY 2023 Agriculture-Rural Development. The bill included $27.2 billion in total spending, an 8% increase from FY 2022. On Wednesday, the bill went before the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee for markup where the bill was approved on a voice vote. Full committee markup is scheduled for June 23. The text of the House agriculture appropriations bill can be found here.

House Agriculture Committee adds new member

This week, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott announced Rep. Sharice Davids would be joining the Committee. Rep. Davids is a Democrat representing Kansas City and northeastern Kansas who also serves on the House Committees on Small Business and Transportation and Infrastructure.

Agriculture Committees prepare for 2023 Farm Bill

Last week, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to discuss Title I commodity and Title XI crop insurance programs within the Farm Bill. During the hearing, Rep. Crawford (R-AR) voiced his concerns about how the farm safety net, particularly Price Loss Coverage (PLC), is not adequately working for rice producers. He noted that rice farmers are not seeing the increases in market prices as other commodities while still experiencing increased input costs. Rep. Crawford asked Dr. Joe Outlaw from Texas A&M University for an update on the study requested by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA). Dr. Outlaw responded that an analysis of the requested study showed that the only farms that will not see cash flow this year are rice farms. Dr. Outlaw stated that he expects two-thirds of rice farms to not see cash flow. He equated the problem to distortions from other countries and strongly advised Congress to specifically help rice farmers starting this year. Rep. Crawford noted that the U.S. rice industry relies heavily on foreign markets to move U.S. rice and asked what can be done to enhance exports. Dr. Outlaw stated the most critical action needed to be taken is to hold other countries accountable for what they have agreed to in trade negotiations. Additionally, Dr. Outlaw advocated for more Congressional assistance targeted towards rice producers. When asked what form that assistance would take, Dr. Outlaw suggested indexing production costs. He stated that the government has spent large amounts of money on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) for losses that were likely to occur but didn’t materialize. Conversely in this situation, Dr. Outlaw stated the rice losses are certain to occur. He suggested the government use CFAP formulas and adjust them to deliver funds to rice producers.  

The House Agriculture Committee announced it would hold a listening session at Central Arizona College on June 25 to discuss the 2023 Farm Bill. In the Senate, the Agriculture Committee held a field hearing on Friday in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to receive stakeholder input as it prepares for the upcoming Farm Bill.

Reps. McCarthy and Thompson send President Biden letter on agricultural production barriers

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member GT Thompson (R-PA) sent a letter to President Biden calling for an end to regulations and policies harming agricultural producers. The letter recommended addressing input costs, halting changes to WOTUS, ensuring the EPA focuses on sound science, and terminating climate rules. The letter can be found here.

House advances agriculture bill

This afternoon the full House of Representatives passed the H.R. 7606, the Lower Food and Fuel Cost ActThe legislative package is the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act, which would establish an “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” at USDA. The vote was largely on party lines, 221-204, with a few crossover votes on both sides of the aisle.

The legislative package includes the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act, which would establish an “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” at USDA. In addition to the Special Investigator, the bill includes additional nutrient management assistance, permanent waver for the sale of E15 fuels, and significant investments into biofuels infrastructure.

Additionally, the Senate Agriculture Committee has noticed a markup for both the Senate companion to the Special Investigator and the Fischer-Grassley bill next Wednesday.

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