OMNIBUS BILL SIGNED
President Biden has signed the $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriations package passed by Congress. The bill included numerous ag-related components, including the revised Growing Climate Solutions Act which establishes a U.S. Department of Agriculture technical assistance and registration program to assist farmers seeking to take part in voluntary carbon markets.
Also included, the Sponsoring USDA Sustainability Targets in Agriculture to Incentivize Natural Solutions Act, or SUSTAINS Act. The measure also reauthorizes of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, or PRIA, which imposes fees for maintenance and registration of active ingredients. The bill provided emergency funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make necessary repairs and navigation improvements following extreme weather events, including the ongoing issues with low water on the Mississippi River.
The package also includes funding for ag disaster aid, agricultural research and funding for rural broadband.
Roger Bernard, senior policy analyst for IHS Markit says several key pieces of legislation were not in the final version, including year-round E15 and the Farm Worker Modernization Act, which deals with temporary ag worker visas. Listen
KEY TRADE POSITIONS FILLED
Doug McKalip, President Biden’s nominee to serve as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, has been confirmed to the post. Alexis Taylor has been confirmed as USDA’s Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.
CONGRESS TO RECONVENE
The U.S. Congress will also reconvene January 3 with a host of new members on the agriculture committees. Minnesota Farmers President Gary Wertish says the amount of new members means education will be a priority. Listen
MN SESSION BEGINS JAN. 3
Lawmakers return to St. Paul next week to begin work on the next Minnesota legislative session. The Minnesota House, Senate and the Governor's office are all under Democratic control. The session will be wide ranging, with key issues including decisions on how to handle an estimated $17 billion dollar surplus.
Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Dan Glessing says rural vitality and the beginning and emerging farmer tax credits are priority issues for the organization. Listen
Farmers have until March to sign up for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, but Minnesota Farm Service Agency Executive Director Whitney Place encourages farmers to be thinking about which program makes the most sense for their operations. Place says there are resources available to help farmers decide. Listen
ON THE LOOKOUT FOR HPAI
Cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza have continued into the colder winter months in Minnesota. Dr. Erik Jopp with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health says cases of the disease have occurred in December in both farmed flocks and wild populations. Dr. Jopp says it wouldn't be surprising to have additional cases pop up through the winter months. Listen