President Biden’s bid to induce more double cropping of wheat and soybeans would likely have just a modest impact on production, according to an analysis by the American Soybean Association.

Biden’s Ukraine supplemental appropriation request includes $100 million for the $10-an-acre double-cropping incentive and $400 million for raising marketing loan rates. The ASA analysis estimates the double-cropping incentive would increase wheat plantings by 37,000 acres and soybean acres by 35,000.

Keep in mind: Farmers are expected to plant 91 million acres of soybeans this year, according to USDA. Total wheat plantings for 2022 are estimated at 47 million acres.

Raising loan rates would increase the chance growers could get payments in case of a sharp drop in commodity prices. Higher loan rates also would provide more operating cash to growers who use marketing loans on their crops. “Given the high cost of inputs this year, the extra liquidity can provide a helpful bridge until the crop is sold. This can allow producers more time to sell crops,” the report says.

Take note: Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Thursday she’s working with the panel’s top Republican, Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, on the issue. Boozman has made clear he doesn’t think the administration’s plan would do much to incentivize production.

By the way: Stabenow confirmed that several senators have holds on Margo Schlanger’s nomination to be USDA’s assistant secretary for civil rights.

EPA chief Michael ReganEnvironmental enforcement method returns

A new environmental justice enforcement strategy released by the Justice Department includes the renewed use of what are called “supplemental environmental projects.” SEPs have been included in past settlements involving concentrated animal feeding operations.

The strategy epitomizes the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to holding polluters accountable as a means to deliver on our environmental justice priorities,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Critical to that is the return of supplemental environmental projects as a tool to secure tangible public health benefits for communities harmed by environmental violations.”

Why it matters: The Trump administration stopped including SEPs in enforcement settlements, but they were previously used to require CAFOs to make environmental improvements around their operations. A major settlement in 2001 included a requirement that Premium Standard Farms and Continental Grain Co. fund a $300,000 SEP to reduce air emissions and odors from swine barns in Missouri.

Branstad Farms, operated by former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstads brother, agreed in 2013 to spend $26,000 on wetland restoration after admitting to a violation of the discharge permit for its cattle feeding operation.

Regan: EPA looking at multiple-year biofuel targets

EPA is looking ahead to how it’s going to set biofuel usage requirements beyond this year, when there are no longer any specific levels required by the 2007 energy law.

In an interview for this week’s Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, Regan indicated that going forward, EPA is looking at setting renewable volume obligations, or RVOs, for several years at a time.

Regan said “setting RVOs in a way that looks at multiple years at a time” will help provide the certainty the industry needs. 

Keep in mind: EPA has yet to finalize the RVOs for 2020, 2021, or 2022.

In the Newsmakers interview posting today at Agri-Pulse.com, Regan also discusses the staffing challenges the department faces and the waters-of-the-U.S. rule.

US, Canada trade officials address dairy dispute

Top U.S. and Canadian trade officials used a meeting this week in Ottawa to discuss the two countries’ dairy quota dispute. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Canadian International Trade Minister Mary Ng said Thursday they were working to “reach a solution.”

A USMCA dispute panel ruled last December in favor of U.S. claims that Canada manipulated dairy quotas that were agreed upon in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The U.S. dairy industry has rejected Canada’s proposed revisions to its practices.

“We had a good and honest conversation, and we’re going to keep working on this,” Tai said.

China continues to lead US corn trade

USDA’s latest weekly trade data shows China continues to provide the majority of demand for new and old crop U.S. corn. USDA reported net export sales of 782,500 metric tons of old crop U.S. corn during the week of April 22-28, with 465,900 tons sold to China. 

Chinese buyers also purchased 612,000 tons of new crop corn for delivery in the 2022-23 marketing year

Most of the sales for both marketing years was announced by USDA on a single day – April 28 – when the department showed China buying more than 1 million tons.

Wool, cotton apparel firms to get COVID aid

USDA plans to distribute $50 million to apparel manufacturers as it attempts to help the pima cotton and wool industries recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

The program will pay companies that experienced a 15% or greater decrease in sales in 2020. 

“While many manufacturers of these products shifted to the production of personal protective equipment, the industry has nevertheless struggled to recover from a persistent and significant decline in sales,” said FSA administrator Zach Ducheneaux. He said the aid will help American workers as well as domestic Pima cotton growers and wool producers.

She said it. “We are faced with unprecedented challenges in global food security with the war in Ukraine, escalating food prices, food availability and access challenges and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and climate change. This triple threat impacts our world’s hungry, poor and vulnerable the most.” – World Food Prize Foundation President Barbara Stinson, announcing that the 2022 WFP laureate would be NASA scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, who is renowned for her work in analyzing the impact of climate change on the world’s food supply.

Questions, comments tips? Email philip@agri-pulse.com.