The Senate Finance Committee is now focusing on how to finance a large set of infrastructure. Witnesses at today’s hearing will include Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, who will provide options for structuring funding mechanisms.
Keep in mind: President Joe Biden’s rural broadband proposal prioritizes funding for local governments, nonprofits and cooperatives, as opposed to private providers.
Bloomfield argues that there is room for private partnerships with local governments, but says it’s a bad idea to let local governments provide broadband that rivals local private providers.
US, EU agree to resolve steel trade disputes
The United States and the European Union signaled this week that they are preparing to begin negotiations to resolve their steel and aluminum trade disputes that continue to impact the U.S. agricultural sector. because of retaliatory tariffs. The EU levies around $ 3.3 billion in import taxes on US products such as orange juice, cranberries, corn and rice in retaliation for US tariffs of Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Imports of cheap steel and aluminum pose a threat to both the US and the EU, according to a statement jointly issued by US and EU trade officials. Officials said they “have agreed that as the US and the EU … are allies and partners … they can come together to promote high standards, address common concerns and hold people to account. countries like China that support trade-distorting policies.
Pastures and winter wheat suffer from drought
This spring’s drought continues to wreak havoc on western pastures and the country’s winter wheat crop. About 44% of pastures and rangelands in the United States are listed in poor or very poor condition, up from 16% at the same time last year, according to USDA Crop Status Weekly Report.
About 74% of Arizona’s pastures and rangelands are in very poor condition, and 14% are considered poor. The other states with the worst problems are North Dakota, where 47% are in very poor condition; Washington at 38%, Montana and Oregon at 32% and California at 30%.
During this time, 19% of the winter wheat crop is assessed in poor or very poor condition. Oregon is in the worst shape, with 55% rated poor or very poor. About 35% of the Texas crop and 30% of the Colorado crop is poor or very poor.
USTR confronts Canada over milk quotas
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng on Monday – outside of the USMC Free Trade Commission meetings this week – and took the opportunity to discuss press on “the importance for Canada of fully respecting its USMCA commitments, including its allocation of tariff rate quotas for dairy products.” “
Dozens of American dairy groups and companies sent a letter to Tai on Friday, asking him to ask Canada to stop misusing quotas. Canada has agreed, under USMCA, to increase US access to the Canadian market for milk, cheese, cream, skim milk powder, butter, ice cream and whey by establishing new quotas, but the US industry says Canada has been manipulating these quotas for months to block the entry of products like cheese.
Take note: Tai also confronted Mexico’s secretary of economy in a separate conversation about Mexico’s refusal to approve new traits of genetically modified plants. Tai, in a statement, said she had stressed the need for an “immediate resumption of authorizations for agricultural biotechnology products.”
China buys more new crop corn from US
The USDA on Monday announced an export sale of 1.7 million metric tonnes of U.S. corn to China for delivery in MY 2021-2022. This is just the latest in a recent round of substantial commitments from China to buy more corn from the next US harvest.
The Chinese have pledged to buy 5.1 million tonnes of 2021-22 corn from May 7 to 14.
Lawmakers want to know more about the status of DOJ’s meat industry investigation
Sixteen senators and congressmen are seeking updates from the Justice Department on an antitrust investigation into the meat industry that began about a year ago.
Since the DOJ sent civil investigation requests to the nation’s four largest meat packers on May 22, 2020, “the American people have seen no public results of the investigation,” the lawmakers’ letter told Attorney General Merrick Garland.. “In fact, there is no information to even say whether the investigation is completed or is still ongoing.”
“Cattle ranchers, especially small ranchers, are once again experiencing difficult conditions that threaten their ability to stay in business,” they said. “With a tight supply chain, any change in processing capacity can have a dramatic impact on cattle prices, preventing producers from enjoying the margin of canned beef rallies.”
Among the signatories, who are all Republicans: Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota, and Representatives Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, Randy Feenstra of Iowa and Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
USDA Extends Agricultural Supply Chain Comment Period
The Ministry of Agriculture has given the public an extra month to comment on agricultural supply chains, to help USDA prepare a report.
The comment period was supposed to end on May 21 but will now end on June 21. About 100 comments have been received to date, according to the online regulatory dossier.
Biden issued an executive order on February 24 directing agricultural secretary Tom Vilsack prepare a report within one year assessing supply chains for the production of agricultural and food products.
Biden heads to EV production plant
President Joe Biden travels to Dearborn, Mich., To visit a Ford electric vehicle plant where he will get a glimpse of the new Ford F-150 Lightning, an all-electric truck will be unveiled on Wednesday evening.
Biden will likely use the backdrop to promote his infrastructure proposal, which includes $ 174 million to boost electric vehicle charging stations across the country.
“We hope (Ford) tells Biden that his goal is to ramp up production quickly so that it can be available in stock at all Ford dealers in the 50 states,” said Joel Levin, executive director of Plug In America. . Agri-Pulse.
The company plans to start production next spring.
Meanwhile: If you want to learn more about the impact electric vehicles could have on the biofuels and liquids transport industry, listen to Agri-Pulse Deep Dive, available at Agri-Pulse.com.
Questions? Advice? Contact Bill Tomson at [email protected]