Five takeaways from the 97th Annual USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum – Government, Public Sector

United States: Five takeaways from the 97th Annual USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum

Farm Bill Blog Series (Part 1 of 5)

To print this article, all you need to do is be registered or log in to

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) held its 97th Annual Agricultural Forum (Forum) on February 24-25, 2022. This Farm Bill blog provides five key takeaways from the Forum.

1. USDA uses funding from COVID-19 relief and Bipartisan Infrastructure Act (BIL) to invest in US supply chain infrastructure

From ports to meatpacking facilities, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the agricultural infrastructure of the United States. To overcome these shortcomings, the USDA has begun investing heavily in infrastructure that gets products to the domestic and foreign market faster and guarantees a return on investment for American farmers, ranchers, producers, and food processors.

Most recently, the USDA announced a $215 million investment in small and medium meat and poultry processing facilities with the goal of strengthening the food supply chain, creating jobs and strengthening rural economies. Of these funds, $150 million is available through competitive grants to fund start-up and expansion activities in the meat and poultry processing sector, $40 million is available for development and workforce training and $25 million is used to provide technical assistance to grant applicants. The announcement follows USDA’s plan to issue $100 million in loan guarantees and invest $500 million to expand meat and poultry processing capacity. The USDA is committed to announcing additional investments later this summer.

Industry presentations examined the factors that contributed to the supply chain and shipping crises, including increased consumer spending caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and low profit margins leading to the consolidation of the maritime transport sector. To provide immediate relief to food and agricultural exporters, the USDA has partnered with the Port of Oakland, California to create a new 25-acre ‘pop-up’ site to fill empty shipping containers with American food and agricultural products. The USDA will cover 60% of the start-up costs for the pop-up site and additional travel logistics costs at $125 per container.

2. Slaughter rates are stabilizing and feed costs are falling

The USDA has acknowledged that livestock slaughter rates are volatile and have contributed to a significant rise in food prices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many other challenges, including supply chain disruptions, closure of meat and poultry processing facilities, labor shortages and shifts in consumer demand, complicated efforts to coping with the availability of many foods and soaring prices. With recent investments in supply chain infrastructure in the United States and slaughter rates beginning to better reflect demand, food prices are starting to stabilize.

3. China is a key trading partner, but additional markets are needed to avoid volatility

On February 8, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that in 2021 U.S. agricultural exports totaled $177 billion, an 18% increase from 2020. U.S. exports to China set a new record $33 billion in 2021, up 25%. percent from 2020, but China has failed to meet its agricultural purchase commitments under the phase one deal. Although these purchase commitments are non-binding, the United States has called on China to take steps to increase its purchases of American manufactured, agricultural and energy products. The USDA and industry experts have recognized the need to reduce US dependence on China by developing other critical export markets.

4. A top priority for the USDA is to advance climate-smart agriculture

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and many of his colleagues have emphasized the need to deploy new technologies and proven practices to meet the challenge of increasing agricultural productivity, while reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. agriculture and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Forum sessions highlighted: efforts to prepare for extreme weather conditions; risk of drought; forest resilience; the bioeconomy; sustainable agricultural practices; and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Reauthorizing the Farm Bill will be central to USDA’s efforts to implement its climate-smart agriculture program.

5. The USDA is committed to fighting discrimination and promoting equitable access to its programs

Throughout many of its sessions, USDA leadership discussed its efforts to overcome discrimination and increase equitable access to the delivery of USDA programs and services. One of his recent efforts includes establishing the USDA Equity Commission. On February 28, 2022, the USDA held the first meeting of the USDA Equity Commission. Members introduced themselves and sought input from the agricultural stakeholder audience on how USDA can be fairer – both to employees and those who use USDA programs. Recommendations sought included statutes, regulations, congressional and budget, among others, that address historical discrimination within the agency.

Holland & Knight’s Farm Bill blog series will provide insight into the contents of the package, new areas of focus at the federal level, and how to ensure your priorities are included in the final package. For more information on the 2023 Farm Bill and the latest on Farm Bill negotiations, please email Kayla Gebeck, Isabel Lane and Peter Tabor.

Learn more about the Farm Bill

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: US Government, Public Sector

EU AML list will add Cayman Islands

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Instead, UK law only refers to a ban on establishing SSPEs established in FATF “blacklist” jurisdictions.

Policy Matters Newsletter – March 11, 2022

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

The Biden administration is pursuing work goals from all angles, despite the hiccups, with no signs of slowing down. With the PRO law stalled in the Senate and unlikely to pass in its current form…

Five things to consider for non-bank AML policies

Mayer Brown

Many AML frameworks are designed specifically for banks. If your non-banking organization is required to comply with AML, but follows a bank-friendly policy, it can lead to many missteps…

Melvin B. Baillie