EU to End Retaliatory Tariffs

The Biden Administration has announced that the European Union (EU) will lift retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports in exchange for duty-free access for some steel and aluminum shipments.
U.S. dry bean exports to the EU have faced 25% retaliatory import tariffs since 2018 as a result of a trade dispute over U.S. tariffs on EU steel and aluminum. The EU had been the largest regional export market for U.S. dry beans prior to the imposition of 25% tariffs. 
Many of the dynamics have changed over the past three years as a result of retaliatory tariffs and the departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the Union. While some dry bean exports have remained steady to top markets, such as Spain and Italy, others have declined steadily as the EU sought more competitive prices from other origins. 
With the removal of retaliatory tariffs, the U.S. Dry Bean Council says the industry can now focus on maintaining long-standing market shares and increasing exports in response to substantial interest in plant-based healthy and sustainable eating.
The UK is one of the top three European trade destinations for U.S. dry beans, and now operates as a stand-alone market separate from the EU. This presents significant growth opportunities for exports of U.S. dry beans as the UK is one of the most advanced markets in promoting plant-based foods. The UK has yet to remove the 25% retaliatory tariffs, but it is anticipated that this will also happen before the end of the year. 

White House Announce Plan to Ease Supply Chain Bottlenecks

The White House is addressing the supply chain disruptions facing agriculture and the rest of the economy. President Joe Biden has announced the Port of Los Angeles will operate 24 hours per day, seven days a week. That follows a similar commitment from the Port of Long Beach a few weeks ago. “This is the first key step in moving our entire freight, transportation and logistical supply chain nationwide to a 24/7 system.” Biden also used the announcement to promote the infrastructure bill, which would impact roads, bridges, ports and railroads.

EPA Ag Advisor Selected

The Biden Administration has selected Rod Snyder as the Environmental Protection Agency Senior Advisor for Agriculture. For the past seven years, Snyder has been president of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. Previously, Snyder worked for the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America.

Walz Pushes for a Special Legislative Session

After meeting with state legislative leaders on Tuesday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz followed up with a letter asking lawmakers to be ready to pass essential legislation during an upcoming special session. Walz laid out an agenda on issues like front-line worker pay, drought relief and additional COVID-19 pandemic response in the letter. Walz is ready to call a special session as soon as legislative leaders and the administration can come to agreement on key issues.

U.S. Senate Approves $10 Billion in Disaster Assistance

The U.S. Senate has approved $10 billion in disaster assistance. Specifically, it includes $9.25 billion in aid for farmers who suffered losses due to drought, floods and other qualifying disasters. The funding will extend WHIP= to cover losses in calendar years 2020 and 2021. Read more.

Government Shutdown Avoided

Hours before their midnight deadline on September 30, Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 3. The Senate passed the measure on a vote of 65 to 35. The House passed it on a vote of 254 to 175. President Joe Biden has also signed the stopgap funding bill.

Gov. Burgum Announces Plan for COVID Funds

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has unveiled the Accelerate North Dakota plan to use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan. This plan includes $207 million in income tax relief over the next two years. There’s $396 million for workforce and economic development projects, including money for livestock finishing and processing and support for autonomous agriculture. Another $590 million will be invested in capital improvements, including roads, bridges and broadband.

Gov. Walz Announces $10 Million in Drought Relief

Today, Governor Tim Walz announced a $10 million drought relief package to support Minnesota farmers and livestock producers impacted by severe drought conditions during the 2021 growing season.

“Historic drought conditions have created extreme stress and financial hardship for our farmers and livestock producers during an already difficult time for the agricultural industry,” said Governor Walz. “As governor, and as someone who grew up on a family farm, I stand with our farmers. This funding will provide much-needed relief to Minnesota’s agricultural community and help ensure our farmers can keep feeding Minnesota and the world.”

The Governor’s proposal includes $5 million in rapid response grants to provide drought relief for livestock producers and specialty crop producers. Examples of eligible costs include water handling equipment such as water tanks, pipeline, and water wagons, water hauling, wells, and irrigation equipment.

The funding proposal also includes $5 million for the Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan Program. The Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan Program makes zero-interest loans available immediately for Minnesota farmers whose operations are suffering from lack of rain. The Disaster Recovery Loan Program can be used to help cover lost revenue or expenses not covered by insurance.

More details on the drought relief package will be announced soon.

This summer, Governor Walz met with agricultural leaders across the state to hear how the drought has impacted them. Governor Walz also met with President Joe Biden and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to ask that all levels of government work together to address the impacts of this drought on Minnesota’s farmers.

ND to Hold Special Legislative Session

North Dakota lawmakers will meet in Bismarck beginning November 8 for a special legislative session. The session will address redistricting and appropriating federal COVID relief funds.

Updates Made to CFAP 2.0

USDA is amending the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.0 (CFAP 2.0) payment calculation for sales-based commodities, which are primarily comprised of specialty crops, to allow producers to substitute 2018 sales for 2019 sales. All new and modified applications must be completed by October 12.