Legislative Watch: Producers ask for improved LRP; new food safety committee members; Biden Rural Plan outlined; U.S.-China talks postponed; postal service talks in the House.

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

August 21, 2020

4 Min Read
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The National Pork Producers Council and its state affiliates are asking the USDA's Federal Crop Insurance Corp. to implement enhancements to the Livestock Risk Protection Program insurance program.

The NPPC and state associations in a letter to the FCIC propose changes to the LRP.

  • Extend the coverage periods from the current 26 weeks to 52 weeks with no head limit; and

  • Increase subsidy premiums levels to make the program more affordable to producers.

The letter states, "As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have played out, pork producers have encountered significant, unprecedented challenges to their operations, as well as the entire industry. … Adoption of the proposed improvements/modifications will be beneficial to the pork industry and allow producers enhanced risk management options."

USDA appoints food safety committee members
USDA has appointed ten new members to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. The committee was established in 1971 and advises USDA on food safety policies and issues affecting inspection program activities.

The new NACMPI members appointed to serve two-year terms are Jimmy L. Avery, Mississippi State University; William H. Battle, Pride of the Pond and Battle Fish North; Tina Conklin, Michigan State University; Patricia Ann Curtis, North Carolina State University; Jennifer A. Eberly, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Casey Lynn Gallimore, North American Meat Institute; Joseph Jay Harris, Southwest Meat Association; Curtis Lynn Knipe, Ohio State University; Byron Williams, Mississippi State University; and Sherri L. Williams, JBS USA LLC.

Biden Rural Plan outlined
There were a number of agricultural events this week during the Democratic National Convention including a Rural Council meeting and a Rural Watch Party. Also, a number of states mentioned agriculture and rural issues during the roll call of states.

Former Vice President Joe Biden earlier this year released his Rural Plan in which he outlined his priorities for Rural America. They include:

  • Pursuing a trade policy that works for American farmers — "While Trump is pursuing a damaging and erratic trade war without any real strategy, President Biden will stand up to China by working with our allies to negotiate from the strongest possible position."

  • Supporting beginning farmers by increasing the microloan program for new and beginning farmers, doubling the maximum loan amount to $100,000.

  • Reinvesting in land-grant universities research programs.

  • Partnering with farmers to make American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, giving farmers new sources of income in the process.

  • Strengthening antitrust enforcement.

  • Expanding bio-based manufacturing to bring cutting-edge manufacturing jobs back to rural America.

  • Promoting ethanol and the next generation of biofuels by investing $400 million in clean energy research, development and deployment.

  • Investing in wind and solar energy.

  • Investing $20 billion in rural broadband infrastructure.

  • Keeping rural hospitals open.

The Biden-Harris campaign is increasing its efforts to reach out to rural voters.

U.S.-China talks postponed
Last weekend's trade talks between the United States and China were postponed due to a scheduling conflict. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He were scheduled to review the first six months of the phase-one trade agreement.

The phase-one agreement calls for discussions on implementation of the agreement every six months.

House returns this weekend over the postal service
The House of Representatives has been called back into session to consider legislation that would provide the U.S. Postal Service $25 billion and block President Trump's efforts to undermine the postal service. Trump has said he doesn't want the postal service to receive any additional funds that can be used for mail-in voting.

This week Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced that all changes being made to the postal service would be suspended until after the November election. The announcement was after 20 states say they would be filing federal lawsuits against the USPS. DeJoy has been called to testify before House and Senate committees regarding finance and operations of the USPS during COVID-19 and the upcoming election. He is being asked to explain the dismantling of mail sorting machines, removal of public mailboxes and elimination of overtime for postal workers.

Mail-in voting in this year's election is expected to reach historic levels because of the coronavirus pandemic. States have been seeing record number of mail-in ballots during this year's primary elections.

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.

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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