The U.S. House of Representatives reached an agreement to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, including extending the Commodity Credit Corporation spending cap and COVID-19 food assistance programs. The $1.4 trillion agreement will provide an additional $8 billion in nutrition benefits and extend a group of nutrition-related regulatory waivers. The Senate passed it on Sept. 30 and now it heads to President Donald Trump for signature.
The U.S. Senate failed to pass the “skinny” coronavirus relief package proposed by Republicans, which included an additional $20 billion in agricultural assistance. It is increasingly likely no additional COVID-19 relief packages will be passed before November elections.
The USDA released additional details on CFAP 2, including $14 billion to directly support agricultural producers of eligible commodities due increased marketing costs associated with the pandemic. CFAP2 payments are for three categories of commodities: Price Trigger Commodities that meet a minimum 5 percent price decline over a specified period of time; Flat-Rate Crops that do not meet this price decline trigger or do not have data available to calculate a price change; and Sales Commodities not included in the other categories. Canola is a Flat-Rate Crop and payments will equal to eligible acres multiplied by $15 per acre. Eligible acres will include a producer’s share of determined acres, or reported acres if the former is not present, excluding prevented plant and experimental acres. Crops will be identified as “acreage-based” so information must be provided by the Farm Service Agency through its annual reporting process, either through an application initiated by USDA Service Center staff or by applying online between Sept. 21 and Dec. 11, 2020.
The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) and Canola Council of Canada met with industry stakeholders in September about a canola renewable diesel petition for Renewable Fuel Standard eligibility. The industry coalition hopes to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expedite its approval and sent a letter to President Trump.
The USCA signed on to four letters around various topics, including:
- The UN Food Summit, requesting a North American agricultural representative be included in the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.
- Grain Standard Reauthorization Act, urging the Senate to take action on current grain standards before they expired in September 2020.
- The World Trade Organization, addressed to the S. Trade Representative, urging the United States to remain as active and support some reforms.
- Congressional support for pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and opposition to the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020, which calls for major reform of FIFRA and a ban of all organophosphates and neonicotinoids and any pesticide banned in the EU or Canada.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to exempt from regulation certain Plant-Incorporated Protectants (PIPs), which will streamline biotech trait approvals. The agency said it will “facilitate the development of new tools for American farmers to protect their crops and control agricultural pests.” The USCA will submit comments in support of the EPA’s proposal.