Dawn March 10: Lawmakers call for waiver process for fertilizer duties

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Farm production costs continue to soar, and two Kansas lawmakers see a chance to do something about them. Senator Roger Marshall and Representative Tracey Mann are introduction of legislation today to create a process to obtain US duty exemptions on imported fertilizers.

The duties effectively halted U.S. imports of phosphate fertilizer from Morocco and Russia, and the Commerce Department is expected to issue final rulings later this year on urea ammonium nitrate tariffs. or UAN, from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago. Russia has cut off all its fertilizer exports, but there are still plenty of foreign supplies affected by US duties.

Why is this important: Fertilizer costs will be up to 80% higher this year than last a study by the Agriculture and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University.

“Fertilizers and other inputs are at an all-time high, and the war in Ukraine promises to drive up the price of produce even further,” said Chris Edgington, president of the National Corn Growers Association.

After speed bump, House passes $1.5 billion expense bill

Congress is poised to fund the government for fiscal year 2022, more than five months into the budget year. The House on Wednesday night passed a 2,741-page, $1.5 trillion omnibus bill to fund the government through September.

The bill provides the USDA with an additional $550 million for rural broadband to accompany the $2 billion enacted under the bipartisan infrastructure law signed into law last fall. Notably, the bill also requires the USDA to create a library of livestock contracts to help producers negotiate sales.

House Democratic leaders had to withdraw $15 billion in new COVID aid after progressives objected to cuts that were used to pay for it. The House then approved the overall spending bill.

Besides: Meat processors are unhappy with a provision that appears to require the USDA to set up the livestock contract library without first gathering feedback.

“Congress and the administration say they value transparency in the beef and cattle market; they should place the same value when they create another onerous USDA program for the sole purpose of to collect private business information and make it public,” said Sarah Little of the North American Meat Institute.

Conservation group: leave the CRP alone

The National Wildlife Federation has spoken out against proposals to use the conservation reserve program to increase crop acreage in response to the war in Ukraine. Top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, John Boozman of Arkansas, called for delaying enrollment in the program. And a prominent economist has called for opening the CRP to emergency crops this year.

Julie Sibbing, NWF Associate Vice President for Land Stewardship, said CRP “works for growers, downstream communities and wildlife. Opening these marginal lands to the production of temporary crops would add little to our grain supplies, but would come at huge costs to taxpayers, climate, water and wildlife.

Besides: The war has not had a major impact on global grain stocks so far, according to a USDA report released Wednesday. But it is not yet known how much of their wheat crop can be harvested and exported. And there are fears that Ukrainian farmers will have no crops in the ground this spring. Ukraine is a major global source of corn, wheat and sunflower oil.

GOP Representatives Call for Delay in WOTUS Rulemaking

More than 200 House members are urging the Biden administration to halt efforts to rewrite the definition of “United States waters” in the Clean Water Act because the Supreme Court plans to settle the issue.

In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael ConnerThe 201 lawmakers say a court ruling in a case involving two Idaho landowners “will have a profound impact on the agencies’ rule-making process.”

The court agreed in January to take Sackett v EPA, to consider whether the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was correct in using the “significant connection” test set forth by former Justice Anthony Kennedy in his EPA ruling against landowners in an enforcement case wetland laws.

Oral arguments are expected to take place this fall.

Amendment preventing the ESA registration of the greater sage-grouse in the omnibus

Environmental groups are criticizing the omnibus spending bill’s inclusion of a rider that would block the listing of sage-grouse as an endangered species.

The endorsement, which has appeared in appropriations bills since 2014, prevents the Fish and Wildlife Service from considering protection for the bird under the Endangered Species Act, “even if their populations plummet at an unsustainable rate,” Defenders of Wildlife said. “A federal study found they’ve been down 80% since 1965.”

The Bureau of Land Management plans to revise land use plans in sage-grouse habitat, which is approximately 78 million acres of BLM land, or about 45% of the bird’s habitat.

Brazil on track for record maize production

Forecasters continue to cut estimates for Brazil’s soybean production this year, but the country is still on track to produce a record maize crop with its second ‘safrinha’ crop leading the way, according to to the latest USDA Foreign Agricultural Service data.

Overall, Brazil is expected to harvest a total of 114 million metric tons of maize for the 2021-22 marketing year, an increase of 27 million tons from 2020-21.

Brazilian farmers started planting the second season maize after their soybean harvest in February and this is expected to continue until March.

She said it: “I would like to express our respect for your decision, which allows UNAF to join Copa and Cogeca as a partner organisation. Unfortunately, this is happening in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine, with our country paying a high price” – Mariia Dudikh, director of the Ukrainian National Agrarian Forum, reacting to the decision of the European agricultural organization Copa and Cogeca to induct his band as a partner, said Wednesday.

Philip Brasher and Bill Tomson contributed to this report.

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