Trump approves disaster aid to Iowa for flooding
Two days after he signed a disaster proclamation for Nebraska, President Trump issued a similar declaration for Iowa, making federal assistance available in both states. Another avenue for aid could open this week — the Senate may vote on a $13.5-billion disaster relief bill that might be revised to include money for flood-hit portions of the northern Plains and the western Corn Belt.
Rural groups seek larger program to mitigate stress in farm country
Congress put $2 million into a pilot program to address farmer stress and suicide this year, and a coalition of 43 rural and farm groups called today for full funding of the Farmers and Ranchers Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN).
U.S.-China trade talks to run into April
The United States and China will open ministerial-level negotiations “aimed at improving the trade relationship” on Thursday, the White House announced over the weekend. A week later, on April 3, Vice Premier Liu He will bring a delegation to Washington for further discussions about resolving the trade war that began last summer.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Grocery prices to rise marginally (USDA): Retail food prices will rise 1 percent this year, half of the previously forecast 2 percent, due to downturns in meat, poultry, dairy, fruit and vegetable prices, according to the monthly Food Price Index, but prices for cereals and bakery products would rise 4.5 percent.
EPA may overrule states on dicamba (DTN/Progressive Farmer): Ending months of denials, federal regulators say they are re-evaluating a system, called special local needs labels, that states have used to set cut-off dates for spraying the weedkiller dicamba on field crops.
Shortage of seed and farm equipment (Washington Post): Venezuela’s farms can supply only one-fifth of the country’s food, but a shortage of seeds, tools and inputs has put this year’s crops in peril, with some analysts saying famine is possible.
China shuts off Canadian canola (CBC): A trade group for Canadian canola exporters says contracts with China, a major customer for the oilseed, are drying up; there is speculation that a foreign policy dispute is the reason.
Eating fewer chicken nuggets (Grub Street): Industry analytics firm NPD says chicken nugget options at U.S. restaurants fell 3 percent in the year ending in September 2018; chicken strips are up 16 percent but there’s little crossover between consumers of strips and nuggets.
Generating butterflies and solar power (Harvest Public Media): Argonne National Laboratory is starting a field trial in Minnesota of an idea that did well in a theoretical projection: Incorporating habitat for monarch butterflies onto land where solar arrays are built.
ON THE CALENDAR
– World Bank holds Land and Poverty Conference 2019, through Tuesday, Washington.
– International Dairy Foods Association holds executive council and industry segment board meetings, through Wednesday, Chicago.
– Food industry groups sponsor ProFood Tech, “the processing event for food and beverage,” through Thursday, Chicago.
– USDA releases State Stories report, noon ET. “This full-text file contains reports, issued monthly during the winter months, listing an assessment of winter weather on crops, livestock, fruit trees; consideration for moisture, snow cover, temperatures, and crop condition; and the effect of weather, insects, diseases, etc., on crops and livestock.”
– House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture hearing, “USDA’s proposed relocation of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture,” 11 a.m. ET, 2358-A Rayburn.
– CFTC chairman Christopher Giancarlo and SEC chairman Jay Clayton are lead witnesses at Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on fiscal 2020 funding for their agencies, 2:30 p.m. ET, 192 Dirksen.
– National Restaurant Association public affairs conference, “the industry’s most important grassroots lobbying event,” through Thursday, Washington.
– FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb is lead witness at Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on fiscal 2020 budget for the agency, 10:30 a.m. ET, 138 Dirksen.
– House Appropriations subcommittee holds hearing on fiscal 2020 funding for the U.S. Forest Service with Chief Vicki Christiansen as lead witness, 10 a.m. ET, 2008 Rayburn.
– Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds hearing on nomination of David Bernhardt for secretary of Interior, 10 a.m. ET, 366 Dirksen.
– USDA releases monthly Agricultural Prices and quarterly Hogs and Pigsreports, 3 p.m. ET.
– USDA releases annual Prospective Plantings and quarterly Grain Stocksreports, noon ET. Traders expect a huge increase in the soybean stockpile, up 29 percent from a year ago, and a sharp, 3 million-acre decline in likely soybean plantings because of record-large soybean harvests and the trade war’s impact on soybean exports, according to a surveys by Bloomberg.
– USDA releases Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, 3 p.m. ET.
– NoCo Hemp Expo, “the largest gathering of hemp industry professionals under one roof,” through Saturday, Denver.
– Democratic presidential aspirants speak at Heartland Forum, focusing on rural and farm issues, 1 p.m. CT, Storm Lake, Iowa. The group Family Farm Action will hold a rally for a Farmers Bill of Rights at 10:30 a.m. CT at a Storm Lake park.