Major economies pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent – September 20, 2021

Major economies pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent

Eight countries plus the EU are supporters of the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to reduce emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas by 30 percent by the end of this decade, said officials in Washington and Brussels over the weekend. More than one-third of greenhouse gas emissions by U.S. agriculture are methane.

Ask FDA about plant-based ‘meat,’ says USDA

Three-and-a-half years after it received a cattle group’s petition to define “meat” and “beef” as referring only to the flesh of food-bearing animals, the USDA said it has no authority over the labeling of alternative proteins from plants and insects. The FDA regulates those products, said the Food Safety and Inspection Service, and when it “is made aware that a non-animal product is being labeled as ‘meat’ or ‘beef,’ FSIS refers such information to FDA.”

Farming boom threatens Biden’s climate and conservation goals

The relentless expansion of corn and soy farming poses a conundrum for the Biden administration. The president wants to cut U.S. agriculture’s net carbon emissions to zero, but every time a grassland is plowed or sprayed with herbicide and planted in crops, hundreds of deep-rooted perennial plants that can suck carbon into the soil and keep it there are wiped out. A 2019 study led by Tyler Lark, an agricultural researcher at the University of Wisconsin, estimated that tillage for cropland expansion put as much carbon dioxide into the air annually as 31 million cars.

Today’s Quick Hits

Back to D.C.: The national headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management, which the Trump administration moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, will return to Washington, announced Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. (BLM)

Parliamentarian says no: Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that Democratic proposals to give legal status to undocumented farmworkers and other immigrants were too incidental for inclusion in the administration’s “build back better” bill. (Associated Press)

Larger dead zone: The “dead zone” of low-oxygen water in the Chesapeake Bay was as much as 50-percent larger than usual during August, probably the result of hot weather and low winds, said the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. (DNR)

Durum wheat squeeze: Poor harvests of durum wheat, used in pasta, pizza and bread, are likely to result in higher retail prices for consumers and force food makers to consider modifying recipes to use other wheat flours. (Food Dive)

Precision-agriculture loans: Under a bill filed by two Midwestern senators, the USDA would make long-term, low-interest loans to farmers who want to adopt precision agriculture technologies but who cannot afford traditional financing. (Fischer)

Central Valley squeaker: In Merced and Fresno counties in the Central Valley, the recall vote on California Gov. Gavin Newsom was nearly a 50-50 split; Democrats and Republicans each see vindication in the results and say Latino votes were crucial. (Los Angeles Times)

On The Calendar

Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City hosts annual Ag Outlook Forum, 10 a.m. ET, Kansas City. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to speak at 11:45 a.m. ET.
United Fresh Produce Association holds the annual Washington Conference, through Wednesday, Washington.
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture holds annual meeting, through Wednesday, Louisville, Kentucky.
National Grocers Association, representing the independent supermarket industry, holds the annual NGA Show, through Sept. 21, Las Vegas.
USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.

The House may vote as early as Tuesday on a short-term funding bill to keep the government in operation after Sept. 30 pending approval of fiscal 2022 appropriations bills, said House Democratic leaders.

Informa holds Natural Products Expo East, through Saturday, Philadelphia.
USDA releases monthly Cold Storage report, 3 p.m. ET.

House Agriculture Committee hearing, “Voluntary carbon markets in agriculture and forestry,” 10 a.m. ET, 1300 Longworth.
The United Nations holds Food Systems Summit in conjunction with the UN General Assembly, 9 a.m. ET, New York.
Farmdoc Daily hosts webinar, “Brazil and United States,” noon ET.

FDA hosts a listening session online on oversight of pet food, 1 p.m. ET.
USDA releases monthly Food Price Outlook, 9 a.m. ET.
USDA releases monthly Cattle on Feed, quarterly Hogs and Pigs, and annual Turkeys Raised reports, 3 p.m. ET.

Farm Aid holds its 36th annual Farm Aid Festival, Hartford, Connecticut. Farm Aid says it has raised more than $60 million “to help family farmers thrive all over the country while inspiring millions of people to take part in the Good Food Movement.”

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