Opportunity binge

Daybreak Sept. 28: Draft Dem amendment lays out ag spending

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We’ve got some more detail on Democrats’ plans for using their huge Build Back Better bill to promote cover crops and other forms of climate-smart agriculture. Agri-Pulse obtained a draft amendment to the bill that authorizes the $28 billion in conservation funding. 

Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., says the spending would reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 142 million cars off the road. Republicans continue to be frustrated that Democrats are rewriting farm bill provisions without GOP participation. 
 
The amendment also would create a new debt relief program to replace the one enacted in March that has stalled in the courts because of its restriction to minority farmers. The proposed new program contains no race-based limitations. 

Keep in mind: These provisions could be altered before the House actually votes on this legislation, and it’s possible the spending also could be reduced. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conceded over the weekend that the overall bill is going to have to be smaller because of resistance to the $3.5 trillion price tag. 
 
Funding bill fails Senate procedural vote
 
The chances of a government shutdown are rising by the day, with funding set to run out Thursday after Senate Republicans blocked a stopgap spending bill Monday that included $10 billion in disaster aid and would have funded the government into mid-December.
 
“There is no scenario in God’s green Earth where it should be worth risking millions of jobs, trillions in household wealth, people’s Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits — and another recession,” Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said before the vote. But Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., slammed Schumer for leaving his party out of reconciliation discussions.
 
“There’s no chance Republicans will help lift Democrats’ credit limit, so they can immediately steamroll through a socialist binge that will hurt families and help China,” McConnell said.
 
Sixty votes were needed for the measure to proceed. But the bill passed by the House last week was dead on arrival in the Senate because it included text to increase the federal debt limit, which Republicans opposed.
 
Pork producers, Farm Bureau go to Supreme Court over California’s Prop 12
 
The fight over California’s animal housing law, Proposition 12, could be decided by the Supreme Court if it takes up a petition submitted Monday by the National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation.
 
The groups are seeking review of a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that found the law did not violate the “dormant Commerce Clause” by imposing housing requirements for pork shipped into the state.
 
The “dormant Commerce Clause” “refers to the prohibition, implicit in the Commerce Clause, against states passing legislation that discriminates against or excessively burdens interstate commerce,” according to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute.
 
The petition says the law “substantially burdens interstate commerce,” noting that California residents consume 13% of the nation’s pork, but “99.9% of pork sold in the state derives from sows raised out-of-state.”
 
A previous attempt to get the issue before the court failed in June when the court turned down a petition filed in a separate case by the North American Meat Institute.
 
DoD looking at more PFAS testing under defense bills
 
Congress is poised to require the Defense Department to do more to address PFAS contamination at its bases.

The National Defense Authorization Act that cleared the House last week includes a requirement to conduct testing at all military installations, formerly used defense sites, and state-owned National Guard facilities.

It also would require DoD to make public the results of any PFAS testing in areas down-gradient from facilities, unless the area covered is privately owned, in which case the consent of the property owner would be needed.

The Senate bill, which has passed the Armed Service Committee, also includes the two-year deadline and says PFAS testing “shall provide at least a preliminary basis for determining whether additional environmental response actions are necessary to address contamination.”

A DoD report released to Congress earlier this month said more than 2,100 agricultural operations in 37 states have been told they are within a mile “down gradient” from high levels of PFAS contamination at military bases.

China opposes WTO dispute panel on Australian wine trade
 
China on Monday blocked Australia’s first request for a World Trade Organization dispute panel to rule on Chinese anti-dumping duties placed on Australian wine, but that won’t stop the process, according to Geneva officials.
 
Australia, still reeling from the loss of exports under the duties, will have another opportunity Oct. 26, which China will not be able to stop.
 
Australia’s representatives at the WTO said the country tried but failed to resolve the trade spat and stressed that the tariffs have effectively shut down exports to China, which used to account for 37% of Australian wine exports.
 
Keep in mind: Even if Australia were to eventually win the dispute, a simple appeal from China could effectively idle the case if the WTO does not regain a functioning appellate court. WTO nations have been trying for years to reinstate appellate judges, and the latest attempt on Monday again failed.
 
Mexico, speaking for 121 WTO nations, again proposed restarting the process of installing appellate judges, but the U.S. continues to block the process. Representatives of more than 20 countries supported the revival of the WTO appellate court at the Monday meeting, but the U.S. maintained that first, it needed to see major reforms at the WTO.
 
Brazil soy planting moves ahead slowly
 
Brazilian farmers continue to plant this year’s soybean crop, but progress is slow as most wait for rains in the forecast, according to the consulting firm AgRural. Still, some areas got plenty of rain in the first two weeks of September, and Brazil had 1.3% of its crop planted by last Thursday.
 
Planting may be slow as farmers wait for better soil moisture, but it’s still up nearly double from the same period last year.
 
Most of the planting so far has been in the major producing states of Mato Grosso, Paraná and São Paulo. AgRural says field activity is expected to pick up quickly in October.
 
He said it: “Now, I know it doesn’t look like it, but I am over 65. … And that’s why I’m getting my booster shot today.” – President Joe Biden, 78, getting his third COVID vaccination Monday. 
 
Correction: Because of an editing error, American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings was misquoted in Monday’s Daybreak. Farmers who sell corn to Dakota Ethanol in South Dakota could get a 40-cent-per-bushel premium for their corn if they use certain conservation practices, ACE said.
 
Questions? Tips? Comments? Email Steve Davies at steve@agri-pulse.com

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