Dawn March 8: McConnell opposes school nutrition waivers
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes extending waivers that relaxed school nutrition rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. School nutrition directors lobby Congress to include waivers in the omnibus fiscal year 2022 spending bill that congressional negotiators are trying to finalize this week.
An executive aide said the waivers are no longer needed, but also notes that they would cost $1.1 billion and are not included in the Biden administration’s $22 billion request for additional tax relief. COVID.
“The Democrats wanted to add all of this to the national debt, we wanted all COVID aid paid for responsibly from unspent funds in the previous $2 trillion aid package, where only 9% of funding was related to the pandemic,” the aide said in an email. The aide also said the waivers were originally intended to encourage schools to close and go virtual, which is no longer necessary.
The School Nutrition Association is holding its annual legislative conference this week in DC, and some 700 school nutrition program directors are expected to be on Capitol Hill today to lobby for waivers.
In a letter to McConnell, SNA says waivers are still necessary for schools in part because of supply chain disruptions: “While the virus wanes, the effects linger. Our industry partners are still trying to meet our needs and supply chains are still tenuous and will be for at least 24 months to come.
Besides: According to a new USDA survey, some 92% of school food authorities reported difficulties due to supply chain disruptions, including limited product availability. Rural and larger school districts are most likely to report difficulties. According to the survey, the biggest problems are with whole grain products and meat and meat alternatives.
Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Summit Focuses On “Laying the groundwork for the next farm bill” and we will bring together a number of political figures, members of Congress, food and agriculture leaders, as well as industry experts and academics for a full day of discussion. JTo view the agenda and register, click here.
FDA paves the way for the commercialization of genetically modified beef
Genome-edited beef could be on the market in two years, the Food and Drug Administration said as it announced it had made a ‘low-risk determination’ in relation to the first intentional genomic alteration in an animal for food use. .
Genetically modified cattle have shorter hair, which makes them more tolerant of hot weather. The FDA says the genetic alteration does not raise any safety concerns.
Acceligen, the company that produced the GM cattle, said the SLICK trait “will be used to transform beef production so that it is more sustainable and improves animal welfare in warmer climates.”
Take note: The FDA does not seem ready to give up its regulatory authority for genetically modified food animals. Industry groups would like to see the authority transferred to the USDA. The FDA, however, used the announcement of Acceligen’s approval to urge biotech companies to submit more traits for approval.
EPA official discusses endangered dicamba with state pesticide regulators
Dicamba appears to be safe for another growing season as the EPA continues to research how to address the off-target damage caused by the herbicide that the agency documented in a report in December.
“Even if the agency had a solution that it believes could address the frequency and severity of these incidents nationwide, it is unlikely that something like this could be implemented in time. for the next growing season,” said Michal Freedhoff, EPA deputy administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, members of the Association of American Pesticide Officials told a meeting. Monday. “We may need your data again next year as we continue to try to solve this very real problem.”
Freedhoff also said the EPA would work with states that want to restrict use of the chemical. Additionally, the Deputy Administrator told attendees that AAPCO 75and annual meeting that in the coming weeks the EPA would release a work plan to determine how it should review the impacts of pesticides on endangered species, so that its priorities are not dictated by the courts.
“We have to take control back,” Freedhoff said.
Brazilian company lowers its forecast for the country‘s soybean crop
Brazilian consultancy AgRural has lowered its soybean production forecast for the country to 122.8 million metric tons as drought damage continues to depress yields. The new forecast is down from the firm’s February forecast of 128.5 million tonnes.
The USDA also lowered its forecast for Brazilian soybean production in February, but this forecast is even more optimistic. The USDA lowered its forecast to 134 million tonnes in its latest report on global agricultural supply and demand estimates.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian harvest is fast approaching. AgRural says it was 55% complete on Thursday last week, a jump of 10% from the previous week. The harvest was only 35% complete at this time a year ago.
Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens Brazil’s fertilizer supplies
Brazil, a global agricultural powerhouse, could be cut off from key fertilizer supplies as the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensifies. Brazilian farmers are currently halfway through this year’s soybean harvest and will plant their next soybean crop later this year.
According to an analysis from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Brazil gets about a quarter of its fertilizer from Russia. About 80% of all fertilizers used by Brazilian farmers are imported.
“In Brazil, there are growing concerns that growers may not be able to expand planted acreage in the 2022-23 season,” the report said. “Without essential nutrients such as potash, Brazil will also see lower crop yields.”
She said it: “Without major reform to how the EPA meets its ESA obligations, the courts will continue to be a regulator that determines timing and priorities. It is simply wrong. – Michal Freedhoff, EPA Deputy Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, addressing the Endangered Species Act and Pesticides at the Association of American Pesticide Officials.
Questions, comments, advice? E-mail Steve Davis.