With the assistance of Helena Bottemiller Evich

Editor’s Word: Weekly Agriculture is a weekly model of POLITICO Professional’s each day agricultural coverage e-newsletter, Morning Agriculture. POLITICO Professional is a coverage intelligence platform that mixes the information you want with instruments you need to use to take motion on the largest tales of the day. Take motion on the information with POLITICO Professional.

ARC on it: Senate handed $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus reduction bundle on Saturday after a marathon of votes in a single day, ship it again to the Home for ultimate approval of a handful of comparatively minor modifications. That vote is anticipated on Tuesday – which might ship the bundle to President Joe Biden’s workplace earlier than unemployment advantages expire on March 14.

What’s up? The invoice handed by the Senate excludes a provision to extend the minimal wage to $ 15 an hour, and it modified unemployment advantages to $ 300 per week till September 6 (as a substitute of the $ 400 per hour). authentic week till August authorized by the Home). Stimulus checks of $ 1,400 may even be eradicated at decrease earnings ranges.

The consequence: Passing the Senate, by way of a 50-49 celebration vote, just about seals the deal on Biden’s No.1 legislative precedence – and one of many largest federal help packages in historical past.

– Agricultural provisions: The invoice contains billions of {dollars} to strengthen the meals and agricultural provide chain; one other enlargement of meals help for hungry households; historic debt reduction for socially deprived farmers; and funds for the USDA to determine a racial fairness fee.

– About this debt reduction: The provisions have survived regardless of an modification by the senator. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) To take away them from the bill. The modification failed 49-50 on celebration ideas, leaving $ 5 billion in help to farmers of coloration untouched.

What occurs subsequent? The Senate is again to verify Biden’s Cupboard nominees this week, together with a procedural vote Tuesday on the Ohio consultant. Marcia Fudgethe nomination for the secretary of HUD. Majority chief Chuck schumer additionally on saturday filed a closing on the appointment of Michael Regan for the EPA administrator.

HAPPY MONDAY MARCH 8! Welcome to your weekly agriculture report and have a superb Nationwide Proofreading Day! Ship recommendation to [email protected] and @ryanmccrimmon, and observe us @Morning_Ag.

IG DIGGING USDA SAFEGUARDS FOR MEAT INSPECTORS: The Division of Agriculture’s inner watchdog is investigating whether or not officers have taken satisfactory steps to guard meals security inspectors throughout the pandemic, after tons of of federal staff fell unwell and a number of other had been lifeless. our studies Liz Crampton.

How we acquired right here: Firstly of the pandemic, because the coronavirus tore via main meat-packing vegetation, the White Home ordered slaughterhouses to proceed working – allegedly to keep away from potential meat shortages. However federal manufacturing facility inspectors have warned that the USDA is just not doing sufficient to guard their well being whereas they conduct meals security checks at these services.

Now, USDA Inspector Basic Investigates measures taken by the Meals Security and Inspection Service to stop staff from getting sick on the job, in addition to different points raised by a Senate member answerable for agriculture Michael Bennet. The Colorado Democrat raised issues about “federal actions that will have contributed to the unfold of the virus in these institutions.”

FDA AGAINST TOXIC METALS IN BABY FOOD: The company mentioned on Friday it might start the lengthy technique of tightening requirements for heavy metals generally present in child meals, after a Home panel discovered that giant corporations had been promoting the merchandise. meals containing a lot increased ranges of arsenic, lead and cadmium than what well being specialists contemplate protected. for infants, our studies Helena Bottemiller Evich.

The backstory: Home Oversight’s findings final month sparked panic amongst dad and mom and sparked class motion lawsuits towards corporations like Beech-Nut and Gerber. The businesses cited within the report have tried to reassure dad and mom that their merchandise are protected, however efforts have executed little to cease the backlash. Publicity to metals is taken into account a danger to mind improvement in infants and younger kids.

The FDA has additionally been criticized for being gradual to behave. The company took years to determine voluntary requirements for inorganic arsenic in rice cereals supposed for infants, though well being advocates nonetheless contemplate them too lax. A separate voluntary restrict on the metallic in apple juice has but to be finalized after the publication of draft pointers in 2013 (Try Helena’s backstory right here.)

Now the FDA says it is a excessive precedence and is inform child meals producers they need to take steps to scale back metallic ranges as a part of their very own meals security controls – a step that builds on present necessities underneath the Meals Security Modernization Act.

However do not anticipate the stress from the Hill to decrease: Congress has all the time let public well being businesses just like the FDA set their very own security limits, however lawmakers appear able to step in and impose limits if the company doesn’t transfer on that time.

– Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, The chairman of the oversight subcommittee that launched the landmark report final month mentioned on Friday he was “disenchanted” that the FDA didn’t decide to imposing guidelines that may eradicate poisonous metals from all meals for. infants.

– “This highlights the necessity for Congress to move laws with strict requirements and deadlines, ”mentioned the Illinois Democrat. “Infants do not have time to attend for the FDA to fill within the particulars. Mother and father: I encourage you to maintain transferring issues ahead with us. “

NEW AGRICULTURAL ADVISOR OF BIDEN: The White Home on Friday introduced in Kelliann Blazek because the president’s particular assistant for agriculture and rural coverage – one other signal that rural improvement points might acquire floor underneath the Biden administration, Liz studies.

Blazek was most just lately director of the Wisconsin Workplace of Rural Prosperity. She was beforehand a lawyer for Rep. Chellie pingree (D-Maine), taught at George Mason College Legislation Faculty and labored for the Nationwide Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, mentioned the White Home.

His appointment comes after agricultural state lawmakers and rural advocates urged Biden to nominate a rural White Home envoy to concentrate on well being and financial challenges in these communities.

PROCEDURE OF TRANSATLANTIC TARIFFS: The Biden administration has reached a take care of the EU to briefly droop tariffs on billions of {dollars} in items stemming from the long-standing airline subsidy dispute, following an analogous take care of the UK final week. That is one in all Biden’s first steps in easing commerce tensions with Europe that developed underneath former President Donald Trump, writes Doug Palmer of Professional Commerce.

In each instances, the duties shall be suspended for 4 months whereas the White Home is negotiating a long-term settlement with Brussels and London. The thaw brings some reduction to many importers and exporters – particularly meals and beverage corporations caught within the crossfire of a dispute unrelated to their industries.

Not descending easily: Gross sales of American whiskey to the EU, nonetheless, are nonetheless topic to a 25% tariff that was imposed in retaliation for Trump’s tariffs on metal and aluminum. The whiskey value can be anticipated to double in early June if US metallic tariffs stay in place.

– Lisa Hawkins, Senior Vice President of the Distilled Spirits Council, mentioned the brand new deal was a “promising breakthrough” however the group is “extraordinarily disenchanted” that the rights to the whiskey stay.

For what it is value: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack mentioned on Friday that tariff easing might “open the door” to commerce offers with the EU and the UK if these governments are open to permitting higher entry to merchandise. US agriculture – a serious sticking level in earlier discussions.

– Final-minute Trump administration plan that may give USDA regulatory energy over genetically modified livestock is in limbo after the Biden administration reopened the general public remark interval on Friday. Livestock commerce teams have lengthy pushed for the division to take management of transgenic animals from the FDA, which the trade says has stifled innovation with its gradual approval course of.

– USDA Financial Analysis Service and Nationwide Institute of Meals and Agriculture are critically understaffed after businesses had been abruptly moved from the Beltway space to Kansas Metropolis in 2019, inflicting an exodus of profession staff, AP studies. Vilsack informed POLITICO final week that division heads “need to be aggressive in filling these vacancies, particularly in science.”

– Greater than 12,000 meat packaging staff may have entry to coronavirus vaccines at main meat processing vegetation in 5 states, together with JBS, Tyson Meals, Cargill, Nationwide Beef, and Smithfield Meals, in partnership with state officers and the United Meals and Business Employees. Extra particulars on UFCW.

– Costs for rooster thighs have climbed to round 39 cents per pound in wholesale markets within the Northeast, almost double the pandemic low of round 20 cents in September, in accordance with USDA information. Poultry legs are extra depending on exports and institutional meals providers than different components of meat equivalent to wings. Bloomberg has the story.

– Missouri state lawmaker pushes to ban international corporations from shopping for farmland within the state, a coverage that would have main implications for world meals conglomerates with a powerful footprint within the Midwest, Fashionable Farmer writes.

– After an inflow of house gardeners throughout the pandemic led to seed shortages in 2020, there’s a new seed sharing initiative created by the non-profit group Sluggish Meals USA with the goal of creating entry simpler this yr: Share a Seed. Extra data on Washington Metropolis Paper.

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