Federal Policy News
March 24, 2022
Senate Advances Ocean Shipping Reform Act
Yesterday afternoon, the US Senate Committee on Commerce Science & Transportation passed ‘Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute’ to S. 3580 the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) of 2022. The OSRA bill will now proceed to full Senate consideration, then ‘conferenced’ with the similar bill passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representative (363-57) last year, before being sent to the President, who has already endorsed the legislation and will sign it promptly. Reflecting the sense of urgency, we expect this to be completed this Spring.
OSRA legislation was initially motivated by the urgent need to provide statutory mandates and enforcement authority to gain carrier compliance with the Federal Maritime Commission’s Interpretive Rule on Detention and Demurrage, setting forth guidelines as to reasonable ocean carrier practices. The House acted first, drafting and passing an OSRA bill which includes two key provisions first proposed and advocated by the AgTC, including CA Farm Bureau. Similar provisions were included in the OSRA bill adopted by the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday.
First, requiring any detention or demurrage invoice to be accompanied by the carrier’s certification of compliance with the FMC’s Detention and Demurrage (D & D) guidelines, and an informal process by which the FMC will investigate failures to provide accurate certification. The Senate bill includes similar provisions, while providing even more specificity as to what detention/demurrage charges are allowed, and which are not.

The second provision advocated by the AgTC, reflects Congressional concern that exporters report their export bookings being declined or cancelled, leaving our exports stranded here, while carriers take unprecedented numbers of empty containers back overseas. Both the House and Senate bills include provisions designed to increase carriage of our export cargoes.
2022 Application Deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program Signup Extended
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the deadline in California to apply for $8.6 million in available funding through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should act quickly to submit their application to their local NRCS office. Applications must be received no later than April 15, 2022, to be considered for 2022 funding.
CSP allows producers to earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities. CSP can also be an option for producers seeking to extend conservation benefits achieved using conservation management practices coupled with structural and vegetative practices that address resource concerns. Applicants must demonstrate a record of past management efforts, including past participation in NRCS management practices, to have a competitive CSP application. Producers interested in CSP should contact their local USDA service center or visit
REMINDER! March 30 USDA Service Agency Drought & Farm Loan Programs Webinar
The USDA Farm Service Agency and the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement are partnering to host a Drought and Farm Loan Programs Webinar on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 from 10-11 AM. The USDA Kings, Tulare and Kern County FSA offices will be providing information on agency programs that offer drought benefits to farmers and ranchers in those counties. However, the information that will be shared also applies to all counties. A short presentation on FSA loan programs will also be included. Register here to attend. 
Wildlife Services Letter Sent to House and Senate
CAFB has signed a coalition letter to both House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of continued funding for USDA Wildlife Services (WS) which works to prevent, minimize, or manage this damage and to protect human health and safety from conflicts with wildlife. The letter highlighted the essential nature of WS functions and featured specific accomplishments by WS in Fiscal Year 2021. 
USFS Region Five 10-Year Strategy Roundtables
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is partnering with the National Forest Foundation to host regional roundtables with stakeholders and USFS staff on the new 10-Year Strategy to Confront the Wildfire Crisis. On Friday, March 18, CAFB participated in the USFS Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5) roundtable on behalf of members. Participants in regional roundtables include USFS regional and unit representatives as well as local and regional organizations engaged in strategic coordination and/or implementation of work relevant to the plan. A summary report of the regional roundtable is in the process of being developed. To view more information on the roundtables click here
FDA Releases Agricultural Water Assessment Builder for Potential FSMA Compliance
This week, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released the Agricultural Water Assessment Builder, a tool designed to help farmers better understand the expected requirements under the Agricultural Water provision of the Producer Rule in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Late last year, the FDA announced a proposed rule aimed at adding flexibility for farmers as they assess their pre-harvest water usage. CAFB encourages members to examine both the rule and the assessment builder and share any thoughts they might have. While the rule remains under consideration, the FDA has utilized enforcement discretion to spare applicable farms from the rule at this time, but it is likely that this will change later in the year. For more information, please contact Matthew Viohl
Contact Federal Policy
Sara Arsenault
Federal Policy, Director
Matthew Viohl
Federal Policy, Associate Director
Erin Huston
Federal Policy, Consultant