With several races still too close to call while absentee ballots are counted, Democrats added a net of at least 28 House seats, giving them a majority of 223 in the 435-member chamber. As a result, it is expected that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will again be elected Speaker when members of the new Congress return to Washington next week.
Articles under Capitol Hill
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) was active last summer in urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to increase biomass-based diesel and advanced volumes and accurately account for small refinery hardship exemptions in the annual Renewable Fuel Standards. We thanked the 39 senators who sent a letter to the EPA in support of these goals. A special shout-out goes to Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for leading the letter along with Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and John Hoeven (R-ND) for signing on.
With the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 on Sept. 30, time will run out on the Agricultural Act of 2014. Major programs, including crop insurance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), will continue because they are permanently authorized and funded. The 2014 Act also provides funding through the marketing year for 2018 program crops, but the dairy program will expire at the end of December. While the Conservation Reserve Program is permanently funded, its authority will lapse in October, meaning that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will honor existing contracts but not be able to enter into new ones. Read More »
As talks continue on the 2018 Farm Bill, the current state of the U.S. farm economy has prompted farm organizations to encourage the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to write the legislation in a way that helps farmers better respond to shifting market conditions. These tactics range in their scope and approach, but all involve the same concept: increased spending.
Most farmers mark the passing years with references to crop years. “1977 was the year we were hailed out. 1988, now that drought had to rival those our elders suffered through during the Dirty Thirties. 1999, who knew prices could go so low! 2010, a bumper crop and great prices!”
Rural America may be having second thoughts about predominantly casting a vote for President Trump as he continued to slash agricultural funding in May. His FY 2018 budget, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” proposes $3.6 trillion in cuts over 10 years, including $228 billion in reductions to farm bill programs. This is in addition to the 21 percent cut to annual discretionary expenditures advanced in the President’s “skinny budget” released in March.
Rural America helped swing the election in Donald Trump’s favor. But at first glance, he doesn’t appear to be returning the favor with his proposed budget.
The President released the long-awaited budget last week, and agriculture spending took one of the biggest hits. Trump proposed slashing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) discretionary spending to $17.9 billion, which is a whopping 21 percent cut – the third largest of any federal agency.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of up to $766,000 for fundamental and applied research to help develop and share new commercial canola varieties and products, and expand the crop’s growing regions. This funding is made available through NIFA’s Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive (SACC) grants program.
The Administration of President Donald Trump has officially begun and everyone in D.C. is buzzing. The early days suggest it will indeed be a new paradigm – one that is unconventional in style, substance and process. The cabinet is beginning to take shape as the Senate works through the process of confirming nominees – –but no cabinet is complete without the Secretary of Agriculture, currently still vacant. Look for the Senate Agriculture Committee to hold confirmation hearings in the coming weeks for nominee Sonny Perdue. This former Governor of Georgia is making the rounds with Senators to share his vision for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and answer questions. The Senate aims to have him confirmed by the end of February or early March.
While many policy matters are on idle as we enter the heat of summer and this election year, biodiesel policy issues are not slowing down.
On May 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the proposed rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements, including the volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2018 and the total advanced biofuels volumes for 2017 and 2018.