Mid-week Ag Updates from around the Country

Today is my first attempt at providing updates, talking points, potential bills, rules, regulations, etc. from industry and our elected and appointed federal officials and agencies.  I will be brief in most cases, but may expand on certain areas of interest to Georgia, particularly.  You will see a format that has a short title and brief explanation or discussion. I am using several common sources such as an federal agency websites, news organizations and others, and will cite those providers.

Arthur Tripp has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Georgia

Arthur L. Tripp, Jr. is a native Georgian who was born in Warner Robins. Previously, Tripp served as the Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Congressman David Scott, current Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, where he handled the agriculture policy portfolio for the Congressman. Additionally, he served as a Senior Administrator in the Office of the President at the University of Georgia and as District Director for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. Tripp is a graduate of the University of Georgia (UGA) and has been previously recognized as a member of the UGA 40Under40 and has served on the Alumni Board of Directors for the UGA School of Public and International Affairs. Tripp and his wife Jessica have a 3-year-old son, Arthur III. (USDA FSA)

Reggie Taylor has been appointed RD State Director for Georgia

Most recently, Reggie Taylor served as the Acting State Director for Georgia for USDA’s Rural Development agency. He joined the agency in 2015 as a Community Economic Development Specialist and prior to joining USDA, Taylor served as City Manager for the City of East Point, GA and was the Executive Director of the Marietta Redevelopment Corporation in Marietta, GA. Taylor holds a Master of Science in Business Management and Organizational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. (USDA FSA)

U.S. House of Representatives

Yesterday, the House approved a short-term increase to the nation’s debt limit ($480 billion increase) so that President Joe Biden can sign it this week. But the issue will need to be revisited in early December, potentially in the middle of several other contentious issues.  Democratic congressional leaders remain under pressure from progressives to fund as many social programs as possible as the plan is pared back from what many thought might be a $3.5 trillion total.  More than $90 billion in agriculture spending, including a 50% increase in conservation program funding, is at stake as congressional Democrats wrangle over how to pare back the to entice critical moderate votes. (Agri-Pulse)

Energy

The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas this week is $3.27 — a seven-year high. According to GasBuddy, a price tracking service, the price of a gallon nationwide has gone up more than five cents in a week. Meanwhile, benchmark crude oil prices have risen above $80 a barrel for the first time since 2014. A perfect storm of low supply and high demand could hit us all hard. (CBS News)

USDA officials increase soybean, corn yield estimates

Department of Agriculture officials raised soybean and corn yields, which helped push ending stocks projections higher in Tuesday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.  Markets are reflecting these yield reports. (USDA)

FDA halts hand sanitizer production by distilleries.

The agency withdrew its temporary allowance for distilleries to make alcohol-based hand sanitizer during the pandemic, now that traditional hand sanitizer producers have been able to ramp up their own supplies. (Politico)

USDA Launches First Phase of Soil Carbon Monitoring Efforts

USDA is investing $10 million in a new initiative to sample, measure, and monitor soil carbon on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to better quantify the climate outcomes of the program. CRP is an important tool in the Nation’s fight to reduce the worst impacts of climate change facing our farmers, ranchers, and foresters. This initiative will begin implementation in fall 2021 with three partners. Today’s announcement is part of a broader, long-term soil carbon monitoring effort across agricultural lands that supports USDA’s commitment to deliver climate solutions to agricultural producers and rural America through voluntary, incentive-based solutions.  (USDA FSA)  

Mexico rejects new Bayer GMO corn

Last week, Mexican health safety regulators have rejected a new variety of GMO corn for the first time, according to German conglomerate Bayer which makes the grain and blasted the decision, saying it was looking into its legal options.  Mexico’s National Farm Council President Juan Cortina said in an interview that Mexican corn importers will begin to feel the impact from the rejection as soon as next year. “This is the first obstacle, which isn’t immediate, but it’s coming,” he said, pointing to seven other pending GMO corn seed permits that have been waiting from between 14 to 34 months for a resolution. He said he believed the decision violated the USMCA North American trade agreement. (Reuters)

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