Farmers have a seat at the table for climate policy talks

Legislative Watch: Committed to environmental and economic sustainability; innovation agenda announced; exemptions from Chinese tariffs; ARC-PLC deadline looms; grain bin safety stressed.

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

February 21, 2020

3 Min Read
Sustainable development concept
Getty Images/iStockphoto

A coalition of 21 agriculture organizations announced the formation of the "Farmers for a Sustainable Future." The FSF coalition is committed to environmental and economic sustainability. The coalition will work to make certain agriculture's voice is heard and has a seat at the table as lawmakers and policymakers consider climate policies.

The guiding principles of FSF is for policies that support science-based research, voluntary incentive-based conservation programs, investment in infrastructure, and solutions that ensure vibrant rural communities, and a healthy planet.

The coalition is emphasizing that as American farmers have used new technology and conservation practice, their greenhouse gas emissions stand at 9% compared to the world's agricultural GHG emissions at 24%. At the same time U.S. agriculture has increased its production of food, feed and fiber while conserving energy, saving water and soil, and enhancing biodiversity.

FSF members include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sugar Alliance, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperative, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, United Egg Producers and USA Rice.

The House Select Committee on Climate Crisis is expected to release its report this spring.

USDA announces Agriculture Innovation Agenda
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a new initiative, the "Agriculture Innovation Agenda," to increase farm productivity while reducing agriculture's impact on the environment.

Perdue says, "We know we have a challenge facing us: to meet future food, fiber, fuel and feed demands with finite resources. USDA's Agriculture Innovation Agenda is our opportunity to define American agriculture's role to feed everyone and do right as a key player in the solution to this challenge."

The goals include:

  • Reduce food loss and waste by 50% in the United States by 2030.

  • Achieve a net reduction of agricultural sector's current carbon footprint by 2050 without regulatory overreach.

  • Reduce nutrient loss by 30% nationally by 2050.

  • Increase renewable energy production and usage.

China to allow exemptions from tariffs
China's Customs Tariff Commission announces that effective March 2, importers may apply for exclusions from tariffs imposed on 697 U.S. products in response to Section 301 tariffs. Various agricultural products including beef and pork are eligible.

According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, if duties related to Section 301 tariffs are removed for approved applicants, the duty for U.S. pork drops to 33% from the current 63% and U.S. beef drops to 12% from the current 47%.

This announcement comes as China continues to battle coronavirus.

ARC-PLC signup deadline approaching
Enrollment is open for producers to sign up for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2019 crop year. The election applies to both the 2019 and 2020 crop years. The deadline for enrollment is March 15.

Producers will have the opportunity to make new elections for crop years 2021 through 2023.

National Grain Bin Safety Week Feb. 17-22
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue proclaims Feb. 17-22 as "Grain Bin Safety Week" to promote education and awareness of hazards and safe work practices in an "effort to reduce the number of accidents associated with grain handling and storage."

Perdue says, "We hope grain operators, farmers and community leaders will join us in expanding knowledge of safe practices not just during National Grain Bin Safety Week, but year-round."

There were 30 documented grain entrapment cases in 2018, with half of those entrapped resulting in a fatality.

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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