ANOTHER DOOZY POSSIBLE
After a strong winter storm dumped heavy snows on parts of Minnesota last week, another system hitting Minnesota this midweek is expected to bring snow, bitter cold, icy winds and blizzard conditions. This storm is expected to deliver wind chills in the -35 to -45 degree range. Blizzard warnings are in effect for parts of western and south central Minnesota until early Saturday morning.
Last week's snow and rain brought some beneficial moisture to much of Minnesota that's been dealing with drought conditions. Assistant Minnesota State Climatologist Pete Boulay says that because the ground in many areas is covered with snow, a shallower frost means more moisture may make its way down into the soil profile. Listen
OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL
Congress Tuesday hammered out an omnibus $1.7 trillion appropriations that includes several provisions of interest to farmers. The omnibus package includes a revised Growing Climate Solutions Act, which establishes a USDA technical assistance and registration program to assist producers and forest owners seeking to take part in voluntary carbon markets. Other components in the bill include reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, Army Corps emergency funding to make necessary emergency repairs and navigation improvements needed after extreme weather events, including the ongoing low-water event on the Mississippi River. $3.7 billion is earmarked for disaster aid for losses of “revenue, quality or production losses of crops” in 2023. Ag research funding would increase by $175 million to $3.45 billion in 2023, including monies for Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. USDA's ReConnect loan and grant program for rural broadband would get $348 million for fiscal 2023.
LEADERS MEET ON PROPOSED MEXICO GMO CORN BAN
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with a delegation of senior Mexican Government officials in Washington, D.C., discussing several issues, including Mexico's proposed ban on importing GMO corn. In a statement, Vilsack and Tai said there were candid conversations about the restrictions of the importation of biotech corn and other biotechnology products stemming from President López Obrador’s 2020 decree. The Mexican delegation presented some potential amendments to the decree in an effort to address U.S. concerns.
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President and Eden Valley farmer Tom Haag says the NCGA is pressing the administration and Mexico to abide by the terms of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which has no biotechnology restrictions. Listen
TRADE PACT WITH ECUADOR, URUGUAY ENCOURAGED
Two U.S. Senators have asked the Biden administration to begin trade agreement talks with Ecuador and Uruguay. Sens. Robert Menendez and Rob Portman have encouraged United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai to begin talks on an agreement with the two countries about an agreement similar to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement to combat China's growing global influence.
CORN INNOVATION GRANTS
Minnesota farmers have until January 20 to apply for a Corn Innovation Grant. Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council Vice Chair Gary Prescher says the program helps support farmers who are researching innovative corn production practices on their farms. Since the program started in 2016, Minnesota Corn has supported 77 projects. Listen