Dawn June 7: Catching up with the ground: farmers near the end of sowing

Farmers in North Dakota and Minnesota have made great strides over the past week getting their wheat and corn crops in the ground.

By Sunday, 94% of the expected U.S. corn crop had been planted, with 81% in North Dakota and 93% in Minnesota, according to the USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report.

Farmers in both states started planting late this spring due to wet conditions. A week ago, only 56% of North Dakota’s corn crop and 59% of its spring wheat had been planted.

As of Sunday, 97% of the spring wheat crop had been planted nationwide, including 74% in North Dakota.

Keep in mind: Much of the winter wheat crop in the major Plains states remains in poor condition. Approximately 82% of the Texas crop, 55% of the Colorado crop, 49% of the Oklahoma crop, and 41% of the Kansas crop are rated in poor to very poor condition.

House Ag members face major challenges

Several members of the House Agriculture Committee are trying to weed out the challengers today as seven states hold primaries.

In one of the most notable races, California Rep. David Valadao takes on two GOP challengers, including Chris Mathys, an Army veteran and rancher. He attacks Valadao for voting to impeach Donald Trump in January 2021. The district leans Democratic, so a loss to Valadao would make it even harder for the GOP to hold onto the seat.

In South Dakota, GOP Rep. Dusty Johnson is running against Taffy Howard, a state lawmaker who is attacking the two-term holder for voting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Besides: Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is running in the GOP primary for Montana’s 1st District seat. The state wins a seat in the House, and incumbent Rep. Matt Rosendale runs in the new, more agricultural 2nd District.

APHIS to assess the impacts of the high-path program

The Zoosanitary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service will have to review the way birds are euthanized after contracting high-grade avian influenza, as part of an agreement with three animal protection groups.

The Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary and Mercy For Animals had sued the agency in 2020, claiming that APHIS failed to adequately analyze the environmental impacts of the death or burial of millions of birds.

The groups hope APHIS will take seriously a suggestion they made in 2015 to condition compensation for poultry farmers on reducing stocking density and moving to cage-free, low-stocking production.

An environmental impact study must be completed within approximately two and a half years, according to the agreement between the groups and APHIS.

Indo-Pacific Pact countries only need to subscribe to one priority

Fiji is the latest country to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework proposed by the Biden administration, and the sandy archipelago nation will now have to start deciding which of the pact’s four pillars it wishes to participate in.

Like the other 12 countries that have signed up, Fiji will be able to join IPEF even if it only wants to participate in one pillar, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said Monday. The four pillars are trade, decarbonization, supply chain and anti-corruption.

Tai, speaking at a webinar hosted by the Washington International Trade Association, said she hopes all IPEF preparatory work will be completed by the end of the summer and separate negotiations on the pillars can begin.

USTR: IPEF still won’t have tariff reduction agreements ‘yet’

There has been much consternation in the agricultural sector over the Biden administration’s decision not to include tariff reduction negotiations as part of the IPEF, and Tai was asked about it during the webinar. Monday.

Why, Tai was asked, did the USTR Office include the phrase “at that time” when it clarified that tariff reduction market access agreements would not be taken into account in the IPEF? Did that mean they could be included later?

In his response, Tai again used the line to respond, “I think it’s just a fact that we don’t have any tariff cuts on the table at the moment.”

Southeast WOTUS roundtable set for today

Another regional roundtable on “US waters” is scheduled for today, this one focusing on Southeast issues.

Hosted by Cahaba Brewing in Alabama, the fifth of 10 roundtables will feature strong representation from environmental groups, including the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Southern Environmental Law Center.

Bramble Hollow Farm, a pastured poultry and hog operation in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, will also be featured on the sign, which can be viewed beginning at 10 a.m. EDT.

USDA offers WIC waivers to undo effects of formula shortage

The Department of Agriculture hopes to alleviate the effects of the infant formula shortage by removing some requirements of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

The department has already approved more than 250 state WIC waiver requests after Abbott recalled powdered baby formula produced at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan. The agency plans to relinquish more user powers recently granted to it through the Access to Infant Formula Act, which was overwhelmingly passed by the Senate on May 19 and was signed by President Biden two days later.

Take note: Abbott restarted formula production at its Sturgis plant last Friday, but FDA Commissioner Robert Califf warned it could take at least two months to replenish infant formula stocks.

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