Disaster Assistance Update: Arrington Requests Specifics from USDA

Last week, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced plans to roll out critical 2020-2021 disaster assistance payments in April or May, Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, still wasn’t satisfied.

Arrington, along with 15 colleagues, sent a bipartisan letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on January 26th, urging the agency to provide Texas agriculture producers with a more specific timeline and plan.

“Unacceptable bureaucratic delays are creating more uncertainty for agribusinesses who need this relief to recover losses and prepare for the upcoming planting season” Arrington added at a press conference.

In the letter, representatives ask for specific information regarding payouts and deadlines, as well as what Congress can do — in partnership with USDA — to help fix the disaster assistance application process and payment system for next year.

How will the payments be rolled out?

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says payments will roll out in two tranches. The first tranche will be pre-filled applications for eligible commodities. The second tranche will make up for whatever the first didn’t cover and/or for those who didn’t have Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program or crop insurance on file with USDA.

Update from USDA: fsa.usda.gov

Social Spotlight: Arnold Ratheal, Floyd County

Arnold Ratheal farmed cotton in Floyd County from 1950-2021. While he’s enjoying his retirement, he still attended the PCG ARC/PLC and Crop Insurance Update February 2nd. “Farming is all I’ve ever done,” he said. “And it’s all I’ll ever do.”

Story originally published on the PCG Facebook page Feb. 2, 2022. 

Cashing in on Texas Cotton

The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association (TCGA) returns to Lubbock for its 114th annual meeting and cotton trade show from March 31st through April 1st. The theme, “Cashing in on Texas Cotton,” captures the moment producers are currently experiencing. Texas ginners are putting the finishing touches on a good crop, while the price for cotton lint has soared to over $1 per pound.

Coinciding with TCGA’s meeting and trade show, Plains Cotton Growers Inc. will also host its 65th Annual Meeeting on Friday, April 1st, starting at 9 a.m.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

Texas Ag Forum Feb. 25-26, 2022

Mark your calendars for the Texas Ag Forum happening at the end of this month.

Discussions will include the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill as well as carbon issues centered on market and policy.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry Committee, and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and ranking member of Senate Subcommittee on Agricultural Appropriations will be in attendance.

Ocean Shipping Reform Act 

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act (ORSA), a bill aimed at ending port bottlenecks for ag exports, was introduced in the Senate Thursday, according to Agri-Pulse. While the Senate has also written legislation to solve this issue, House sponsors of ORSA took the unusual step of offering their bill as an amendment to the House’s America COMPETES Act, in an effort to fast track its enactment. The amendment was approved. 

 

ORSA prevents ocean carriers from refusing to carry U.S. pork, beef, almonds, hay, dairy, wine, citrus and other ag commodities.

Clean Water Act Before the Supreme Court 

The Supreme Court will take another shot at deciding the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA), granting a petition to determine whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit “set forth the proper test for determining whether wetlands are ‘waters of the U.S.,’” under the CWA. 

“The Supreme Court’s decision on the Clean Water Act could be announced by this summer.” 

The new decision could be announced by this summer. At stake is former Justice Anthony Kennedy’s “significant nexus” test that allows EPA near unbridled regulatory reach. 

Originally published by Agri-Pulse. 

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