January 20, 2020

Climate Legislation; Ag Economy; Crop Insurance; and Animal Agriculture

Climate Legislation

John M. Broder reported in today’s New York Times that, “A draft of a climate bill that Senate Democrats will formally introduce on Wednesday suggests that the legislation will include a more ambitious greenhouse gas emissions target than one passed by the House.

“The measure, sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts, seeks to achieve by 2020 a 20 percent reduction from 2005 levels of carbon dioxide emissions, compared with 17 percent in the House bill, according to the 801-page draft, which circulated on Tuesday. The House and Senate bills both include a long-term target of an 83 percent reduction by 2050.

“The Senate bill will be the focus of a broad political and lobbying struggle, as industry groups, environmental lobbies, local government officials, universities and advocates for the poor all scramble for advantage in legislation that would rewrite the rules of the domestic energy economy. Groups are already spending millions of dollars in organizing, mailing and advertising campaigns to influence the legislation.”


Climate Legislation; Ag Economy- Animal Agriculture; Food Security; Trade; and Crop Insurance

Climate Legislation

Darren Samuelsohn of ClimateWire reported yesterday at The New York Times Online that, “Ending some nine months of closed-door deliberations, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) will release global warming legislation Wednesday that they hope will be the vehicle for broader Senate negotiations and an eventual conference with the House.

“The bill’s authors said last week that they expect to start hearings early next month on the bill, with a markup in Boxer’s Environment and Public Works Committee to follow soon thereafter. They also acknowledged that their legislation is just a ‘starting point’ in a bid to win over moderate and conservative Democrats, as well as Republicans.

“‘I hope what we’ve done is constructive and well-received,’ Kerry, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Thursday. ‘I have no pretensions, and neither does Barbara, that this will be the final product. It is a starting point, a commitment, full-fledged, across party lines to do what we need to do to protect the planet for the next century.’”


Climate Legislation; Food Security; Food Prices; Ag Economy; and Trade Issues

Climate Legislation

Philip Brasher noted in yesterday’s Des Moines Register that, “Farmers believe they can play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but they want money for what they do. That demand is proving to be tough for Congress to do.

“A House-passed climate bill would allow farmers and landowners to earn credits for measures that can remove or keep carbon out of the atmosphere. When farmers stop tilling their fields or convert cropland to pasture, carbon in the form of plant material is kept in the soil rather than released into the air.”


Climate Legislation; Biofuels; and Crop Insurance

Categories: Climate Change /Ethanol

Climate Legislation

Reuters writer Ayesha Rascoe reported yesterday that, “U.S. Senate Democrats will unveil legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions next Wednesday, kicking off what is likely to be a battle in Congress due to concerns over additional energy costs.

“The bill has not been released formally but will be coauthored by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and California Senator Barbara Boxer, a Congressional source said on Thursday.

“‘The overall architecture of the Senate bill is going to be very similar to the House version of the bill,’ a separate source at an environmental group said via telephone from the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.”


Seventy Percent More Food By 2050; Ag Economy; Biofuels; Trade; and Climate Change (EPA Regulation)

Seventy Percent More Food By 2050

Reuters writer Svetlana Kovalyova reported yesterday that, “The world will have to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed a projected extra 2.3 billion people and as incomes rise, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said Wednesday.

Global cereals demand for food and animal feed is expected to rise to 3 billion tonnes by 2050 and more demand may come from the biofuels industry, the FAO said in a statement.

“Annual cereals output would have to grow by almost one billion tonnes from about 2.1 billion tonnes at present to meet the projected food and feed demand by 2050, the agency said.

Meat output should increase by more than 200 million tonnes to reach 470 million tonnes in 2050, the Rome-based FAO said.”


Climate Issues; Biofuels; CFTC Issues; Appropriations (Dairy); Trade; and Rep. Lucas

Climate Issues: Perspectives Delivered at UN

Juliet Eilperin and Colum Lynch reported in today’s Washington Post that, “Several world leaders on Tuesday gave the most decisive indication in months that they will work to revive floundering negotiations aimed at securing a new international climate pact. But the vision that President Obama [transcript of speech] and others outlined at the United Nations climate summit — in which countries offered a series of individual commitments — suggests that a potential deal may look much different from what its backers originally envisioned.

“Initially, many climate activists had hoped this year would yield a pact in which nations would agree to cut their greenhouse gas emissions under the auspices of a legal international treaty. But recent announcements by China, Japan and other nations point to a different outcome of U.N. climate talks that will be held in December in Copenhagen: a political deal that would establish global federalism on climate policy, with each nation pledging to take steps domestically.”


Climate Legislation; Trade Issues; Animal Agriculture; Peanuts; and ACRE

Climate Legislation: Domestic Focus

ClimateWire writer Darren Samuelsohn reported yesterday at The New York Times Online that, “The Senate climate debate has largely been in standby mode since June, but Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is ready to kick-start the process with the release next week of a draft bill.

“Sources off Capitol Hill say they expect Boxer to start legislative hearings during the week of Oct. 5, with a tentative markup penciled in for the week of Oct. 12.

“Of course, much depends on the fate of the Senate health care bill, just how quick U.S. EPA can turn around an economic analysis of Boxer’s legislation and whether the chairwoman wants to satisfy key moderates on her panel, which include Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).”


Climate Legislation; Doha; Food Security; Dairy Issues; and Sen. Lincoln

Climate Legislation: An International Shift to Refocus Attention

Jim Tankersley reported in today’s Los Angeles Times that, “After months of almost single-minded focus on healthcare, President Obama is about to shift the White House spotlight to global warming — first with a speech to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, then later in the week at the G-20 economic conference in Pittsburgh.

The renewed emphasis on climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions comes at a crucial time: Negotiators are entering the home stretch in a drive to unveil a comprehensive international agreement to curb rising temperatures at a December conference in Copenhagen.

“With key divisions remaining among the major industrialized nations, as well as with developing industrial powers and poorer nations, there is concern that negotiations leading up to Copenhagen could be bogging down. Obama administration officials, while admitting the seriousness of the challenges, hold out hope for a deal.”

Mr. Tankersley went on outline “nine hurdles facing Obama and his counterparts” with respect to the climate change issue.


Climate Legislation; Trade Issues (Doha); Environmental Issues (Water); and CFTC Issues

Climate Legislation

Lisa Lerer reported yesterday at that, “The climate bill is not dead, but its pulse is rapidly weakening on Capitol Hill.

“Harry Reid says he doesn’t have time for it. The White House has been largely silent on the legislation. And one Treasury analysis — disputed by critics — that says a cap-and-trade system could cost $200 billion landed with a thud on Wednesday.

“The Senate majority leader seems ready to punt the climate debate into 2010, with the Senate already bogged down in health care and hoping to push through a major Wall Street reform bill also this fall.”


Climate Legislation; Food Issues; Animal Agriculture; and Doha

Climate Legislation

Darren Samuelsohn of ClimateWire reported yesterday at The New York Times Online that, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) added another layer of uncertainty to the prospects for passing a comprehensive climate bill this year by opening the door to punting the legislation into 2010, only to have a top aide walk back from his boss’ comment a short while later.

“Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman, insisted last night that ‘no decisions have been made’ on floor timing for a comprehensive climate and energy bill. ‘We still intend to deal with health care, [Wall Street regulatory] reform and cap and trade this year,’ Manley added in an e-mail.

“But a few hours earlier, Reid had suggested that the global warming legislation could be tossed to the sidelines because of a packed legislative agenda that includes equally bruising battles over health care and Wall Street reform.”


Climate Legislation; Trade Issues; CFTC; and Dairy

Climate Legislation

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln made it clear Tuesday her party will have a tough time passing climate legislation in the Senate with her opposition to the ‘deeply-flawed’ cap-and-trade bill.

“The Democrat from Arkansas who took over as chairman of the committee last week told members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association that she opposes the climate bill passed by the House in June.

“‘It’s a deeply-flawed bill and I’m not going to support it,’ Lincoln said, generating a round of applause from the cattlemen. ‘As chairman of the Agriculture Committee, I have a great opportunity to weigh in on this issue.’”


Climate Legislation; Senator Lincoln; Trade Issues (China, Doha); Food Issues; and CFTC Issues

Climate Legislation

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “Making more aggressive claims about the potential benefits of climate legislation for farmers, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Monday offsets and other benefits could lead to as much as $20 billion in income opportunities, or a 15- to 20-percent increase in net farm income.

“‘That’s $20 billion with a ‘B.’ That is the reason why we are advocating for this, because we also understand the opportunity side,’ Vilsack said. ‘And make no mistake about it. The vast majority who will qualify from the opportunity side will live, reside and work and raise their kids in rural communities.’

“Tying energy independence and climate legislation together, Vilsack effectively preached to a choir of about 200 members of the National Farmers Union who largely back the climate bill and are advocating for more renewable energy programs.”


Senator Lincoln, Climate Legislation; Food Safety, Nutrition; WASDE; Trade Issues; and Livestock Economics

Senator Lincoln

A news release issued on Friday by Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s office stated that, “Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) today announced the selection of Robert Holifield as Staff Director for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

“Holifield, a native of Blytheville, Ark., most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). He was previously CFTC’s Acting Director of External Affairs and Chief of Staff for Commissioner Bart Chilton.”

The news item noted that, “Holifield served in Lincoln’s Senate office from 2000-2007, most recently as Senior Policy Advisor for agriculture and international trade. He is a graduate of Arkansas State University.

“‘Robert’s background and expertise will serve the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry well in his role as Staff Director,’ Chairman Lincoln said. ‘He has been a valued advisor, and I know he will work diligently with committee members and staff to help us build upon the Committee’s strong record and produce a forward-looking agenda.’”


Senator Lincoln; Climate Legislation; Trade; Ag Economy; H1N1; and House GOP Ag Committee Resources

Senator Lincoln

David Rogers reported yesterday at that, “Labor and Southern agriculture, two vested interests important to Democrats in next year’s elections, both stand to gain under Senate committee changes elevating Tom Harkin of Iowa and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas to new chairmanships.”

Mr. Rogers explained that, “Lincoln’s rapid rise to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee is also historic and a reminder of the enduring power of Southern cotton and rice interests in the politics of the chamber.

“A rice farmer’s daughter, she is the first woman to ever chair the panel. And together with ranking Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, she will head the first all-South Agriculture leadership team since Sens. Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) and Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) ruled the roost in the 96th Congress 30 years ago.

“Lincoln denied any lasting imbalance, saying that the committee has always worked across party lines to resolve these differences. But the Lincoln-Chambliss team will pose a real challenge for the White House if the Obama administration persists in trying to reopen last year’s farm bill to achieve greater savings.”


Senator Lincoln; and Climate Change- Sen Ag Committee Hearing

Categories: Climate Change

Senator Lincoln

Philip Brasher reported yesterday at the Des Moines Register Online that, “Sen. Tom Harkin gave up his chairmanship of the Senate agriculture committee today to take over the committee responsible for health care, food safety regulation, labor law and federal education programs.

“The chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee came open with the death last month of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. Sen. Christopher Dodd, who ran the panel this year during Kennedy’s battle with cancer, had first dibs on the chairmanship but passed it up to stay on the Senate banking committee, freeing the spot for Harkin.”


Climate Legislation; Senate Ag Committee; Doha; EU GMO Issues; Acreage; Nutrition Programs; Food Safety; and Crop Insurance

Climate Legislation

Jim Snyder reported yesterday at The Hill Online that, “The climate bill has joined the weather as a hot topic of discussion down on the farm, and who wins the debate over whether a carbon cap will be a boon or a bust to rural America could help determine if Democrats pass a global warming bill this fall.

“The administration, seeking to build support for one of its highest priorities, has sought to ease farm fears over climate legislation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former two-term Iowa governor, has talked up the House bill on his summer tour of small-town America, where he is promoting the White House’s ag policies.

“The legislation will raise energy costs, Vilsack acknowledges. But those higher prices amount to chump change when weighed against the money on tables of farmers who switch to no-till farming, convert cropland to grass, install methane digesters atop their hog waste pits or implement other climate-friendly farm practices.”


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