USDA is given large role in Biden plan to restore competition – July 12, 2021

USDA is given large role in Biden plan to restore competition

Siding with farm activists, President Biden said “Big Ag is putting a squeeze on farmers” and signed an executive order telling the USDA to rejuvenate the livestock, seed, fertilizer and retail food markets. The executive order on competition also called on the FTC to enact right-to-repair rules so farmers can fix their own tractors.

From food waste to the fashion runway

In a children’s fable, a young woman was given the task of spinning straw into gold, an impossible challenge. A study commissioned by the Laudes Foundation says a real world alternative is available – conversion of food waste, such as rice straw and banana stems, into natural fibers for use in apparel.

Today’s Quick Hits

Farmworker heat rules: Under emergency rules that take effect on Tuesday, employers in Washington state must give farmworkers 10-minute paid rest breaks every two hours and provide shade or other ways for workers to cool off when temperatures are 100 or higher. (Capital Press)

Heir’s property barricade: FEMA rejects up to a quarter of applicants for disaster aid in parts of the South because they cannot prove ownership; it’s another legacy of “heir’s property,” which has been cited as the leading cause of involuntary land loss among Blacks. (Washington Post)

New Smithfield CEO: Shane Smith, a two-decade veteran at Smithfield Foods, was named chief executive of the world’s largest pork processor, succeeding Dennis Organ, who “is stepping down for personal reasons” after eight months on the job. (Smithfield)

Soy roots affected: Warmer temperatures and increased levels of ozone – two aspects of climate change – harm soybean roots and microorganisms in the soil, reducing carbon stored in the soil, researchers said in the journal Science Advances. (North Carolina State University)

Big farms dominate: So-called commercial farms, the category that includes large farms with more than $350,000 a year in gross cash farm income, received an average of $84,775 apiece in USDA payments in 2019, more than three times the national average. (Economic Research Service)

On The Calendar

UN agencies release the annual State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, which is expected to show an increase in world hunger due to the pandemic.
House Agriculture subcommittee hearing online, “Examining the SNAP benefit cliff,” noon ET.
USDA releases monthly Crop Production and WASDE reports, noon ET. Traders expect USDA to increase slightly its projection of the corn harvest, to 15.1 billion bushels, and to reduce slightly its projection of the soybean crop, to just below 4.4 billion bushels. The projections are based on USDA surveys of plantings and expected yields assuming normal weather. In August, the USDA will make its first estimates of the fall harvest, based on surveys of growers and spot checks of conditions in the field.
Agri-Pulse holds Food and Ag Policy Summit West, Sacramento.
21st Century Strategic Forums holds National Pork Industry Conference, through Wednesday, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
National Grain and Feed Association holds Convey21, through Wednesday, Omaha, Nebraska.
Final day for public comment on USDA’s “origin of livestock” rule on transitioning conventional food animals to organic production.
USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.

House Small Business subcommittee hearing online, “Rural American recovery: The role of small businesses and entrepreneurship,” 1 p.m. ET.
The Labor Department releases the monthly Consumer Price Index report, 8:30 a.m. ET.
International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo, through Thursday, Des Moines.
House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, “The Biden administration’s foreign assistance priorities and USAID’s FY22 budget request,” 2 p.m. ET.

Senate Agriculture Committee holds confirmation hearing for Jennifer Moffitt, nominee for agriculture undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, 9:30 a.m. ET, 301 Russell.
AGree holds a webinar, “The future of farming – producer perspectives on agriculture data,” noon ET.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany meets President Biden to discuss the pandemic, climate change, economic prosperity and international security, White House.

House Appropriations Committee votes on two funding bills for fiscal 2022, the Energy and Water Development and related agencies, and Transportation, Housing and related agencies, 9 a.m. ET, 1100 Longworth.
USDA releases monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, 3 p.m ET.

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