New leaders for USDA farm subsidy and land stewardship programs – February 22, 2021

You cannot do climate on the backs of the American farmer’

Farmers expect to be paid for climate mitigation, and not at the expense of the traditional farm subsidies, said the president of the largest U.S. farm group during a discussion of President Biden’s goal of an agriculture sector that achieves net-zero emission of greenhouse gases by 2050. Other ag leaders on the panel organized by USDA agreed there must be a financial payoff for the voluntary, incentive-based practices espoused by the administration to succeed.


USDA projects record-setting corn and soybean crops

U.S. farmers will respond to high commodity prices by harvesting their largest soybean crop ever and a corn crop that could tie the record set in 2016, projected USDA on Friday. Delivered to a hungry world recovering from the pandemic, the 2021 corn and soybean crops would fetch some of the highest farm-gate prices in years.


New leaders for USDA farm subsidy and land stewardship programs

The Biden administration appointed Gloria Montano Greene and Zach Ducheneaux as top officials overseeing the USDA’s farm subsidy and land stewardship programs, effective Monday.


Today’s Quick Hits


Soda tax is back: Legislatures in Connecticut, Hawaii, New York and Washington State are considering statewide taxes on sugary beverages; Hawaii Gov. David Ige proposed the highest levy, 2 cents per ounce. (Tax Foundation)


Valadao escapes censure: A measure to censure Rep. David Valadao, a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture, for voting to impeach President Trump, was quashed without a vote at the California Republican state convention. (Cal Matters)


Farm subsidy critique: With crop and livestock revenue rebounding, critics say it is time to rein in U.S. farm subsidy spending that hit a record $46 billion last year. (Politico)


Biotech turns 25: GMO crops have been in the field for a quarter-century and gene editing is the new wave of agricultural biotechnology, but manipulation of food and feed crops remains an item of debate. (DTN/Progressive Farmer)


More pork contamination: Hogs slaughtered at plants with fewer USDA meat inspectors on the processing line had contamination rates nearly two times higher than plants operating under the traditional inspection regime, say documents released under a public records request. (Washington Post)


On the Calendar



House Budget Committee votes on $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan backed by Biden administration. The bill includes $16 billion for USDA, including an extension of a 15-percent increase in SNAP benefits through Sept. 30, $4 billion for debt relief for minority farmers and $3.6 billion for food donations and protective equipment against the coronavirus for agricultural workers.

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture holds annual winter policy conference online, through Thursday. House Agriculture chairman David Scott is to speak on Tuesday afternoon.

National Potato Council holds Potato DC Fly-in online, through Thursday.



Senate is to vote on nomination of Tom Vilsack for Agriculture secretary; time to be determined. Twenty minutes of debate are allowed before the vote.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on nomination of Debra Haaland for Interior secretary, 9:30 a.m. ET, 366 Dirksen.

Farm Foundation holds online forum, “Ag trade: Outlook on global markets and negotiations,” 10 a.m. ET. Panelists include Sharon Sydow, senior economist in USDA’s office of the chief economist; Kanlaya Bar, senior economist of Deere and Co.; Gregg Doud, former chief U.S. agricultural negotiator; and Cassandra Kuball, vice president of Michael Torrey Associates.

Waterways Council holds annual Washington Meeting, through Wednesday.

USDA releases its once-a-month State Stories report of weather and crop summaries for 44 states and the New England region during the winter months, noon ET.

USDA releases monthly Cold Storage report, 3 p.m. ET.



Two leaders of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance of farm, environmental and food retail groups speak at NASDA winter meeting, 4 p.m. ET, online.


Senate Finance Committee hearing on nomination of Katherine Tai for U.S. trade representative, 10 a.m. ET, 215 Dirksen.

House Agriculture Committee hearing, “Climate change and the U.S. agriculture and forestry sectors,” 12:30 p.m. ET.

USDA inspector general Phyllis Fong is lead witness at annual House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on her office’s work, 10 a.m. ET, online.

USDA releases monthly Food Price Outlook, noon ET. At present, USDA forecasts grocery prices will rise 1.5 percent this year, a return to normal inflation after 2020’s increase of 3.5 percent.

USDA releases annual Crop Values and annual Trout Production reports, 3 p.m. ET.

International Grains Council releases monthly Grain Market Report, London.



USDA releases monthly Agricultural Prices and Cold Storage Annual reports, 3 p.m. ET.



National Farmers Union holds annual convention online, through March 2. The major items of business are on March

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