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While EU policymakers made some important decisions on their future agri-food policies last week, US farmers got more clarity on the emergency aid that they will soon receive from the government.
Additional aid for the ag sector is expected to be part of Congress’s next COVID-19 aid package, with activity likely to ramp up when the Senate returns from the Memorial Day recess in June, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Vice President for Government Relations Paul Bleiberg said Thursday (May 21).
Day ahead – May 21, 2020: State food supply chain aid, Iowa meat plant agreement, California property tax initiative
Lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced bipartisan legislation that would provide $1 billion in funding to support state food supply chain efforts. Meanwhile, Iowa reached a Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement with USDA for state-inspected meat plants and Western Growers voiced its opposition to a California property tax ballot initiative.
More federal leadership on COVID-19 food supply chain issues and relief programs to support farmers and small businesses were among the actions called for by Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden (Del.) in a virtual roundtable today (May 20) hosted by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.).
Day ahead – May 20, 2020: COVID-19 border closures, EPA guidance rule, Biden on food supply, school nutrition survey
Non-essential travel restrictions will be extended another month along the US borders with Mexico and Canada, the Department of Homeland Security announced. Meanwhile, EPA released a proposed rule meant to limit the agency from issuing guidance, Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden said the US food supply chain suffering from a lack of leadership but not food and a survey of school nutrition professionals revealed concerns about major financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
USDA implemented adequate controls and acted within its authority and powers under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act when it developed and operated the 2018 and 2019 trade mitigation efforts, according to a new report from the department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Day ahead – May 18, 2020: COVID-19 relief bill, White House task force, meat plant liability bill, ERS/NIFA lawsuit, FDA guidance
The House cleared a fourth COVID-19 aid package Friday (May 15). Meanwhile, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue was appointed to the White House coronavirus taskforce, House Republicans introduced a bill that would provide meat processing plants liability protection from coronavirus claims, USDA was hit with a lawsuit seeking documents on the relocation of two research agencies and FDA issued guidance on sanitizing food transport vehicles that have been used to carry human remains.
No votes are expected in the House this week after the chamber Friday approved the $3 trillion COVID-19 aid package on Friday. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told members not to expect any votes this week ahead of the Memorial Day holiday on May 25.
A “light at the end of the tunnel” is beginning to emerge for the biofuel sector as fuel demand is slowly beginning to recover from the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns, but producers face a long road ahead and need aid from the federal government as they continue to struggle because of the pandemic, officials with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said during a briefing Friday (May 15).
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