After expiring at the end of September, the 2019 Farm Bill was finally reauthorized in December by Congress and President Trump signed it into law. “The passage of the 2019 Farm Bill is good news because it provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers, who need the dependability and certainty this legislation affords," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The Washington Post has a rundown of the bill, which includes more farmer subsidies, a rejection of stricter SNAP requirements and permanent funding for local food programs.
Perdue announced on Dec. 20 the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which requires food manufacturers, importers and certain retailers to disclose foods derived from modern biotechnology. The standard defines such foods as those that contain detectable genetic material (refined oils like canola are excluded) that has been modified through lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature. The implementation date is Jan. 1, 2020, except for small food manufacturers, whose implementation date is Jan. 1, 2021. The mandatory compliance date is Jan. 1, 2022.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers unveiled the new Waters of the U.S. Rule on Dec. 11, which states that the Clean Water Act only applies to “navigable waters” connected by a surface flow at least part of the year. The rule will be open for public comment for 60 days after being published in the Federal Register. A public hearing will be in Kansas City, Kansas on Jan. 23, 2019, about the proposed rule.
2018 was a big year for agricultural trade issues with the negotiation of the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement and trade war between the U.S. and China. To put everything into perspective, Hanna Abou-El-Seoud of Gordley Associates breaks down the agreements and disagreements between U.S. agriculture and the rest of the world in the USCA blog.