National Sorghum Producers Policy, Regulatory and Issue UpdatesMon, 01 Aug 2022 09:27:00 CDT
Senators Manchin, Schumer Reach Expanded Budget Reconciliation Deal
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and the White House announced late-Wednesday a deal has been reached on a $740 billion reconciliation package that would go beyond the original scope of an earlier agreement to confine such a package to allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs and to a two-year extension of Affordable Care Act premium subsidies. The latest agreement would broaden the proposal to include tax increases, deficit reduction and a host of energy and climate initiatives.
The bill provides $20 billion for farm bill conservation programs over four years, plus another $1 billion for conservation technical assistance, though the funding for these programs drops off after 2026. On the biofuels front, the bill extends a number of expiring tax credits. The bill includes a Sustainable Aviation Fuel tax credit of $1.25 per gallon and $500 million for cost share on infrastructure improvements for blending, storing, supplying, or distributing biofuels, by installing, retrofitting, or upgrading fuel dispensers and pumps and storage facilities required to dispense fuels with high levels of commodity-based ethanol or biodiesel.
Democrats say the plan would reduce carbon emissions by about 40 percent by 2030. Republicans warn that a tax increase heading into a recession will hurt the economy and cost jobs. Democrats contend the infusion of new, temporary money will make the farm bill easier to pass while Republicans say that the temporary funding increase will create a fiscal cliff, complicating passage of a farm bill.
Senator Schumer is aiming to hold a vote on the bill next week before the upper chamber breaks for August recess. Democrats will need all 50 Members to be present and accounted for, with the Vice President on hand to break ties, with Republicans universally opposed to the measure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will need to call House Members back to Washington during the August recess, should the Senate succeed in passing the measure, where she will likely only have a three-seat margin of error after the special election in Minnesota. Read more here.
USDA Responds Favorably in re: ERP Announcement in Response to Thune-Klobuchar Letter
In response to a letter from Senators John Thune (R-SD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Steve Daines (R-MT), USDA made a number of announcements. First, USDA will indefinitely extend the deadline for producers to return the pre-filled applications for Phase 1 of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP). A new deadline will be announced after the last Phase 1 applications are mailed and provide at least 30 days following the mailing.
Continuing to build on the initial mailing of pre-filled applications in May, USDA will continue using existing information in USDA and crop insurance files to send additional pre-filled applications starting this week for potentially eligible Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) participants. Once applications from eligible NAP producers are returned, these producers are expected to receive about $105 million in ERP payments for eligible losses from 2020 and 2021 disasters.
The following producers should expect to receive an ERP form in August: Producers who had an eligible loss in 2020 but the loss had been recorded under crop insurance records as a 2019 loss (e.g., prevented planting claims); and producers with policies that required additional information, including Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO), Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), Margin Protection Plan (MP) or Area Risk Protection Insurance (ARPI), before USDA was able to calculate an indemnity for 2021 losses. USDA is also said to be considering how to address concerns noted by the senators that the 75 percent rule could unfairly preclude farm families from being eligible to receive the higher pay limitation. Read more here and here and here.
Senate Democrats Unveil FY23 Annual Appropriations Bills, Ag Appropriations Bill Says USDA Should Implement A&O Inflation Adjustment, Equitable Relief for Specialty Crops under Crop Insurance
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on Thursday unveiled all 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2023. Appropriations Committee Ranking Republican Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) criticized the move declaring the bills spend more than even the Administration requested, do not spend enough on national defense, omit longstanding policy riders, and are filled with poison pills. Following the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill, the Senate included language calling on USDA to implement an inflation adjustment on A&O under crop insurance and provide equitable relief with regard to specialty crops. The House and Senate are now both on record in support of equitable relief for specialty crops. Access the bill here and the explanatory notes here (A&O language is at the bottom of page 69 and top of page 70).
EPA Commits to Proposing 2023 RVO By November
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to propose 2023 renewable fuel volume (RVO) requirements no later than November 16, under a consent decree filed by EPA and Growth Energy in federal court in Washington, D.C. The agency also agreed to finalize the RVO by June 14, 2023. Read more here.
House Democrats Pass Drought Resiliency Bill, But Rep. G.T. Thompson Asks Where’s the Beef?
This week, the House passed the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act, which included a provision that would mandate USDA to report on potential disaster losses in 2022, as well as the amount of payments being made under existing programs. USDA would also be required to disclose the number of farmers who have continued purchasing crop insurance beyond the two-year period required for receiving disaster payments for 2017 and 2018 losses. For his part, the Ranking Republican Member of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. G.T. Thomson (R-PA), posed the measure, stating, “This bill is duplicative of current authorities, lacks much-needed regulatory reforms, and is a complete dereliction of process, as provisions with jurisdiction across multiple committees, including Agriculture, were never considered through regular order.” Rep. Thompson said Democrats should “go back to the drawing board so together, we can craft meaningful policy changes to actually reduce the threat and intensity of catastrophic wildfires.” Read more here.
Senators Introduce Bill to Reauthorize Feed the Future
Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Global Food Security Act, which reauthorizes Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. The legislation, which would extend the program through 2028, comes as the world is grappling with an international food crisis, in part because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Read more here.
USDA Boosts Food Price Inflation Forecasts
USDA raised its consumer food price forecast again, to a range of 8.5 percent to 9.5 percent for 2022. The agency had initially predicted a 2 percent to 3 percent rise in the prices consumers pay for food this year and in February started lifting that outlook. Eggs, fats and oils, and poultry prices are making the biggest gains. In its first forecast for 2023, USDA sees inflation retracting to a 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent range. The 20-year historical average for consumer food prices is a 2.4 percent rise. Read more here.
Fall Sorghum Grower Magazine: Photo Submissions
Get your camera (or even phone camera) ready, we want to see your sorghum field! Submit your field photos here, or tag us in your #FromTheField photos on social media for a chance to be featured in the upcoming Fall edition of the sorghum grower magazine!
Sorghum U Wheat U Registration Open
Sorghum U Wheat U, hosted by High Plains Journal, is set for Aug 11 in Wichita, Kansas. This is a free, one-day, educational event. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and includes a farmer panel discussion made up of sorghum and wheat farmers across the High Plains. There are several breakout sessions planned including a presentation on Resource Conservation in Action: Big benefits from a Small Grain by National Sorghum Producers and Sorghum Checkoff Sustainability Director, Adam York. There will also be a discussion on sorghum weed control with Sorghum Checkoff Director of Agronomy Brent Bean, Ph.D., and Past Chairman Kent Martin, Ph.D. For more information regarding Sorghum U Wheat U and to register for the event, visit https://www.hpj.com/suwu/.
Sorghum Checkoff Still Accepting Applications to Leadership Sorghum
The United Sorghum Checkoff Program is accepting applications for Leadership Sorghum Class VI, a program designed to cultivate the next generation of sorghum leaders. During the 14-month leadership program, class members will have the opportunity to experience various aspects of the sorghum industry in addition to personal development and networking opportunities. Applications are available here and are due by 5:00 pm CST on September 23. To learn more about Leadership Sorghum, visit SorghumGrowers.com.
Sorghum Crop Update
By July 24, thirty-five percent of the nation's sorghum acreage had reached the headed stage, 6 percentage points behind last year and 4 points behind the 5-year average. Nineteen percent of the sorghum acreage was at or beyond the coloring stage, one percentage point behind both last year and the five-year average. Thirty percent of the sorghum acreage was rated in good condition on July 24.
Sorghum Checkoff Releases Weekly Sorghum Basis Snapshot
The Sorghum Checkoff, with Southwest Agribusiness Consulting, released its weekly sorghum basis snapshot, available at SorghumCheckoff.com.
Sorghum in the Spotlight:
Sorghum Crop Conditions Reported - High Plains Journal
Sorghum Growers Unhappy With EPA Proposal - World Grain
USDA Adds Sorghum to Food buying Guide For Child Nutrition Programs - World Grain
August 1 Vietnam Trade Mission
August 2 Mid-South Ruminant Nutrition Conference - Grapevine, TX
August 11 Sorghum U - Wichita, KS
August 15 World Aquaculture Society, Aquaculture Conference - Newfoundland, Canada
August 15 NSP Board Meeting - Wichita, KS
August 17 USCP Board Meeting - Wichita, KS
September 5 Labor Day-Office Closed
October 8 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE)
October 12 Export Exchange
Market News - To view this week’s Gulf export grain report, click here.
About Sorghum Notes
Sorghum Notes is a publication of the National Sorghum Producers. NSP represents U.S. sorghum producers and serves as the voice of the sorghum industry from coast to coast through education and legislative and regulatory representation.
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