Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and President Biden’s Ports Envoy John Porcari will discuss the current supply chain crisis during a webinar on Monday sponsored by Agri Pulse.
Other speakers will include Reps. John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Dusty Johnson, R.D., co-sponsors of the House Shipping Reform Act, as well as Andrew Hwang of the Port of Oakland and John Eisen of the American Trucking Association.
There is still time to register here.
Farm employers mixed over heat rules for workers
A group representing about 80% of U.S. farm and ranch employers tells the Biden administration that existing programs are sufficient to protect farmworkers from excessive heat.
In official comments to OSHA, the National Council of Agricultural Employers states that its members “have long included heat protocols in existing injury and illness prevention programs,” which are updated each winter season. growth “in view of the challenges presented in the workplace by climate change”. No additional regulations are necessary, according to the NCAE.
OSHA is considering more than 1,000 comments submitted in response to its request for comment on whether to adopt a heat standard.
The Northwest Horticultural Council, on the other hand, says it recognizes the benefits of “setting basic standards to ensure that workers are not put in a position where they are asked to put their health at risk”. But the group says OSHA shouldn’t be “too prescriptive.” The council said it would be ‘appropriate to require growers to have a written heat illness prevention program and to train workers to identify and respond to heat stress’.
Keep in mind: The agency does not have a specific timeline in place for the potential regulation, which was also backed by letters from 13 Democratic senators and 24 Democratic House members.
GOP senators push EPA to deny refinery exemption
Fifteen Republican senators led by top members of the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee said the EPA improperly denied all pending refinery exemptions. the renewable fuel standard.
In a letter to the EPA, the senators also say the agency’s proposal to increase biofuel mandates in 2022 will increase the cost of biofuel credits, or renewable identification numbers, and make “financial hardship for even more extreme smaller refiners”.
Tariffs Punish US Apples During Chinese New Year
Lunar New Year celebrations in China and Southeast Asian countries usually coincide with a rush to import more American apples, but tariffs and supply chain disruptions weigh heavily on this. trade.
“There is a long and rich heritage in Southeast Asian countries of giving apples as a sign of friendship and good health during Chinese New Year,” said Jim Bair, President and CEO. of the US Apple Association. “This tradition has helped create a prominent space for American apple exports during these celebrations. Unfortunately, this year most of those apples will not come from the United States. »
The situation is particularly bad in China, which still has tariffs on US apples in retaliation for US Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum as well as Section 301 tariffs. some importers from 301 retaliatory tariffs, but some do not benefit from exemptions. Chinese tariffs on US apples total 50%.
China remains the engine of U.S. soybean trade
Chinese buyers were still the driving force behind U.S. soybean trade in the third week of January, according to the latest data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
Total net export sales of U.S. soybeans reached one million metric tons for the week of January 14-20 and more than half – 540,200 tons – were sold to Chinese buyers, for delivery during the 2021-22 marketing year.
Regarding physical exports, China was also the top destination, with the United States shipping 844,400 tonnes to China during the week. Again, that was about half of the total – about 1.6 million tonnes. Mexico was a distant second place. The United States shipped 111,200 tons of soybeans to Mexican buyers.
Lowland areas with severe moisture shortages
The west is generally in better moisture condition this winter, but parts of the plains are worth watching as we head into spring.
According to the weekly US Drought Monitor, most of the panhandle of Texas and western Oklahoma is experiencing extreme drought, and much of the rest of Texas in eastern Colorado is facing conditions severe to extreme droughts.
As of Sunday, topsoil moisture was rated at 81% very short to short in Oklahoma and 64% very short to short in Texas, according to the USDA. Winter wheat is currently rated 71% very poor to poor in Texas and 43% very poor to poor in Oklahoma.
Take note: North Dakota is recovering from last year’s drought, but topsoil moisture is still at least 40% very short to short.
Petition calls for drastic reduction of BPA in plastics that touch food
A coalition of doctors, scientists, and public health and environmental organizations is calling on the FDA to set strict limits on the use of bisphenol A in food contact plastics. The Environmental Defense Fund and the Environmental Working Group are among the groups on the petition, which also calls for the elimination of BPA in resins and coatings.
The groups cite new findings from an expert panel convened by the European Food Safety Authority stating that “harmful effects of BPA exposure can occur at levels 100,000 times lower than we thought before. This new level of safety — based on recent scientific evidence — is more than 5,000 times lower than what the FDA says most Americans are safely exposed to.
The petitioners want the FDA to limit uses of BPA in food contact articles “that may cause migration into food above 0.5 nanograms per kilogram of food.” The FDA previously concluded that “available information continues to support the safety of BPA for currently approved uses in food containers and packaging.”
He said it. “It’s a complicated country. There are over 330 million people. My mother used to say it was all races, all religions, and ‒ she insisted on this ‒ all points of possible views – Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, in a speech announcing his retirement.
Send your questions, comments or advice to [email protected]