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USDA announces $2.8 billion climate smart projects

National Pork Board Corn with Pig Barn.jpg
Legislative Watch: 70 projects; White House Hunger Conference needs ag; USDA lowers crop estimates; AHA sued over beef label; Finstad joins House Ag Committee.

The USDA announced it was investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 projects in the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. The projects are designed to create market opportunities for producing commodities using climate-smart productions practices. The USDA said the projects selected will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including small and underserved producers.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, "There is strong and growing interest in the private sector and among consumers for food that is grown in a climate-friendly way. Through today's announcement of initial selections for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, USDA is delivering on our promise to build and expand these market opportunities for American agriculture and be global leaders in climate-smart agricultural production. This effort will increase the competitive advantage of U.S. agriculture both domestically and internationally, build wealth that stays in rural communities and support a diverse range of producers and operation types."

Originally, USDA planned to fund $1 billion in projects, but is now expecting to fund $3 billion in projects after a second round of projects is announced later this year.

Ag wants to be part of White House Hunger Conference
Various agricultural organizations have reminded the administration that agriculture would like a seat at the table at the upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. Farmers are a key link in the food chain and agriculture was a key partner in the 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health. 

In a letter to President Joe Biden, the group said, :Our members form the literal base of the food chain, supplying the grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and dairy necessary to provide Americans of all backgrounds with a healthy diet.

"Among other goals for the conference, Congress directed the organizers and attendees to examine why hunger and nutrition insecurity persist, as well as explore approaches to improve health by improving access to and consumption of nutritious foods. There is no better example than the supply chain disruptions at the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency—and the steps our members took to mitigate them—to show how essential farmers and ranchers are to food security and meeting Americans' nutrition needs."

Those signing the letter were the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, National Sunflower Association, The Peanut Institute, United Egg Producers, U.S. Canola Association and USA Rice.

USDA lowers corn, soybean crop estimates
USDA's latest crop production report lowers its estimates for corn, soybean and cotton production for 2022 compared to 2021. The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service forecasts corn production at 13.9 billion bushels, down 8% compared to last year. Soybean production is forecast at 4.38 billion bushels, down 1%. Wheat production in 2022 is estimated at 1.78 billion bushels, approximately 8% above 2021 when production reached 1.65 billion bushels. 

NASS forecasts U.S. corn yield average at 172.5 bushels per acre, down 4.5 bushels from 2021. Corn area to be harvested is estimated at 80.8 million acres, down 5% from last year. Soybean yields are estimated at 50.5 bushels per acre, down 0.9 bushel from 2021. Soybean area harvest is forecast at 86.6 million bushels, down less than 1% more than harvested last year.  Wheat area harvested is estimated at 47 million acres, less than 1% below the number of acres planted in 2021. Yields are estimated at 37.5 bushels per acre, similar to last year.

NASS surveyed over 7,000 producers nationwide. 

Animal group sues American Heart Association on beef label – The Animal Outlook organization has filed a lawsuit against the American Heart Association over AHA's use of its "Heart-Check" mark on certain meat products. American Outlook is an animal protection organization.

The lawsuit alleges that AHA allows companies, in exchange for a fee, to display the AHA mark on certain meat products and marks them as "heart healthy."

The American Outlook executive director Cheryl Leahy said, "For nearly 100 years the American Heart Association has made it its mission to educate consumers on healthy living. That's why it is so incongruous that they are now selling these pay-to-play heart healthy certifications for the very meat products they have publicly taken a position against."

Finstad named to House Agriculture Committee
Representative Brad Finstad (R-MN0 has been named to the House Agriculture Committee.  Finstad recently won a special election to take the place of former Representative Jim Hagedorn who recently passed away and was a member of the committee.

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. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

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