In This Issue:

  • Ag Conservation and Research Funding Being Pushed for Infrastructure Package; NBGA Joins Letter Supporting Research Funding
  • Ongoing Developments of Proposed Rail Merger
  • WTO Panel to Consider Case Against China’s Tariffs on Australian Barley
  • USDA Deputy Secretary Confirmed
  • USDA Names NRCS Chief
  • Mexican Court Upholds Proposed Ban on Glyphosate and GMO Corn
Notice to Members:
Registration for the Billings Meeting is Now Open!

In-Person Attendance: $250
In-Person Guest Attendance: $75
Virtual Attendance: $75 (Encouraged but not required.)


*Virtual participants will receive Zoom link and details in the coming week.
*Monday evening Executive Committee Dinner details and Tuesday evening bar crawl/dinner details to come soon.
Ag Conservation and Research Funding Being Pushed for Infrastructure Package; NBGA Joins Letter Supporting Research Funding 

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) is working to include $50 billion over 10 years for agriculture conservation funding in the potential infrastructure package. For context, the 2018 farm bill authorized $60 billion in total conservation funding over 10 years. President Biden’s proposal included $1 billion for ag conservation, but during a Farm Journal Foundation meeting Chairwoman Stabenow said, “I'm pushing for $50 billion more for USDA traditional conservation programs, because the White House's proposal isn’t anywhere near enough.” “We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to expand these programs and build farm bill baseline at the same time.” Stabenow has also indicated support for increasing funding for agricultural research. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan calls for more than $110 billion for research across the federal government, but does not provide an amount specifically for agriculture. More than 450 food and environmental groups submitted a letter requesting at least $200 billion for a broad suite of conservation, research energy and regional food initiatives over the next decade. The NBGA signed on to a letter led by the Supporters of Ag Research (SoAR) Foundation requesting an investment of $40 billion for agricultural research infrastructure, research, and innovation.
Ongoing Developments of Proposed Rail Merger 

After paying a $700 million termination fee to officially terminate its proposed merger with Canadian Pacific (CP), Kansas City Southern (KCS) is moving forward on a potential merger with Canadian National Railway (CN). As part of those efforts, the companies have proposed to divest some track overlap between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in a bid to get the merger approved by the Surface Transportation Board (STB). The CN deal has raised some concerns among customers due to the overlap in rail routes with KCS. The Kansas City Southern line extends from Springfield, Ill., to Kansas City and down through Texas before it divides into separate routes, one going to New Orleans and the other to Mexico. The merger would provide CN with direct access to Mexico to ship agricultural goods, and New Orleans is a major port for agricultural shipments. It would be the first time in history that one company owned a rail network connecting all three North American countries. Canadian National is reportedly offering $33.6 billion for KCS, compared to CP’s $25 billion proposal. All three are Class I railroads, but CN is larger than either CP or KCS.
WTO Panel to Consider Case Against China’s Tariffs on Australian Barley

The World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body will consider Australia’s complaint that China is unfairly taxing Australian barley. China is imposing anti-dumping duties of 73.6 % and countervailing duties of 6.9% on Australian barley.
 
The Chinese duties are viewed by Australia as punishment for its demand for an international investigation into the source of the COVID-19 outbreak. The WTO’s appeals court is still not functioning and the U.S. continues to block the appointment of the appellate judges due to broader systemic concerns with the WTO and its appeals body.
USDA Deputy Secretary Confirmed

On May 13th, The U.S. Senate confirmed Jewel Bronaugh as Deputy Secretary of USDA. Bronaugh’s nomination was approved on a voice vote after an easy confirmation hearing  before the Senate Agriculture Committee, where she was widely praised by lawmakers in both parties. Bronaugh previously served as Commissioner of Agriculture in Virginia as well as state FSA Director.
USDA Names NRCS Chief

Terry Cosby, a career USDA employee, has been picked as the next chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Most recently, Cosby was the state conservationist for Ohio and has been serving as acting chief of NRCS. Throughout his 42 year USDA career, Cosby has held various leadership positions in Iowa, Missouri, and Idaho.
Mexican Court Upholds Proposed Ban on Glyphosate and GMO Corn

A Mexican judge has upheld the government’s plan to ban glyphosate and GMO corn in the country by 2024, according to the
National Barley Growers Association
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