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Democratic members named to House Ag Committee

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Legislative Watch: 12 new members; Republicans on Senate Ag Committee; Butcher Block Act; E15 waiver request; USDA Ag Census due Feb. 6.

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA) announced the Democratic members who will be serving on the House Agriculture Committee during the 118th Congress. There will be a total of 24 Democratic members serving on the committee, with 12 members being new to the committee. 

The returning members are Ranking Member David Scott (GA), Jim Costa (CA), Jim McGovern (MA), Alma Adams (NC), Abigail Spanberger (VA), Jahana Hayes (CT), Shontel Brown (OH), Stacey Plaskett (VI) and Sharice Davids (KS).  

The new members are Elissa Slotkin (MI), Yadira Caraveo (CO), Andrea Salinas (OR), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA), Don Davis (NC), Jill Tokuda (HI), Nikki Budzinski (IL), Greg Casar (TX), Jasmine Crockett (TX), Jonathan Jackson (IL), Eric Sorenson (IL) and Gabe Vasquez (NM). 

There will be three additional Democratic members added to the committee later.

Republicans named to Senate Agriculture Committee
The Republicans announced their members of the Senate Agriculture Committee for the 118th Congress. They are Ranking Member John Boozman (AR), Mitch McConnell (KY), John Hoven (ND), Joni Ernst (IA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Roger Marshall (KS), Tommy Tuberville (AL), Chuck Grassley (IA), John Thune (SD), Deb Fischer (NE) and Mike Braun (IN). 

Butcher Block Act
The Butcher Block Act introduced by Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) would establish a USDA grant and loan program for new and expanding meat processors.

The legislation would:

  • Assist new and expanded livestock or meat processors to improve marketing options for livestock producers, further competitive markets and facilitate value-added opportunity for livestock producers.
  • Allows for financing of cooperative stock in producer-owned processing facilities and refinancing for expanded processing capacity.
  • Establishes a Rural Development grant program at USDA for eligible entities to assist with new construction or expanding planning and compliance. 

Johnson and Spanberger introduced the Butcher Block Act last Congress.

State attorneys general request waiver for E15
A group of seven midwestern state attorneys general are calling on the EPA to issue regulations that allow the sale of year-round E-15 ethanol gasoline in their states. 

In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the group said, "American-produced ethanol is a key component in the domestic energy supply chain. Yet despite the air-quality benefits of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol (E15), by default the current regulations promulgated under the Clean Air Act apply a more stringent RVP limitation on E15 than on gasoline blended with 10% ethanol (E10) during the high ozone season from June 1 to Sept.15. That prevents access to E15 during the peak-driving summer months.

"Without prompt action, there is a risk that E15 gasoline will not be available during the 2023 summer driving season and vehicle emissions will be higher than if EPA followed its obligations under the Clean Air Act."

The attorneys general represent Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. 

USDA Ag Census due Feb. 6
The USDA's National Agricultural Statistical Services is reminding farmers and ranchers that the deadline to respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture is Feb. 6. Producers can respond online or by mail.

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