Hard Road Ahead for Farm Bill - Costly Fixes to Dairy, Cotton Will Impact Non-Baselined Programs

On May 4, the Senate passed a spending package (79 – 18) for the remainder of 2017.  The bill largely preserves funding levels and priorities established under the Obama administration, with a few notable exceptions, including $15 billion additional for defense, and permanent reauthorization of the United Mine Workers of America’s healthcare fund ($1.3 billion over 10 years). 

While federal agency funding remains flat or slightly increased in most cases, the absence of a ‘fix’ for cotton and dairy programs translates to an increasingly tough road ahead for other non-baselined programs in the 2018 Farm Bill.  Finding approximately $2 billion to fix issues for the cotton and dairy industry will leave even less for other non-baselined programs.  According to CRS, the non-baselined programs tally $2.6 billion and include most of the Energy Title ($444 million), portions of the Conservation Title ($455 million), the Research Title ($400 million) as well as the Nutrition ($355 million), Rural Development ($228 million) and other areas.


Read More



1. Methane Rule Repeal Hits Snag in Senate Over Ethanol

2. Two Contentious Air Provisions Hitch Ride On Omnibus

3. USDA Freezes New Enrollments in Continuous Conservation Reserve Program

4. The Government Is Going to Counter ‘Misinformation’ About GMO Foods

5. Three Ways to Achieve a 266% ROI with Cover Crops



Upcoming Events: 

1) Investing in U.S. Infrastructure for Maximum Dividends

Friday, May 12
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

2261 Rayburn House Office Building
South Capitol St SW & Independence Ave SW

Lunch will be served

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) invite you to a briefing on America's infrastructure needs and the business case for investing in long-term reliability and sustainability. Electric power outages, failing bridges, congested airports, deficient mass transit… all have substantial economic costs. A critical 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) report, Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future, found that failing to fix and improve our nation's infrastructure will result in $3.9 trillion in lost GDP by 2025, and 2.5 million lost jobs. There are also significant health and safety risks—Flint, MI, is just one example of the tragic consequences of neglected infrastructure.


2) Energy Emergency Preparedness: A Critical Federal-State-Private Sector Partnership

Monday, May 15
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Room 334 Cannon House Office Building
Independence Avenue SE and 1st Street, SE

Lunch will be served

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) invite you to a briefing about the key role played by the 56 governor-designated State and Territory Energy Officials, other state agencies, the private sector, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in mitigating the impacts of and responding to energy supply disruptions (of electricity, natural gas, and petroleum products). Such emergencies, often caused by extreme weather, can pose a threat to public health and safety and can cause lasting economic harm. According to the Congressional Research Service, weather-related outages cost the nation between $25 and $70 billion annually.


3) Powering Businesses, Homes and Vehicles with Waste

How to Grow the Economy & Jobs with Biogas & Renewable Natural Gas

Tuesday, May 23
11:30 am - 1:00 pm

201-00 Capitol Visitor Center (Senate-Side)
East Capitol Street and 1st Street, NE

Lunch will be served

The American Biogas Council (ABC), the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (CRNG) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invite you to a briefing about the untapped energy in domestic wastes. Waste streams—including manure, agricultural waste, waste water, food scraps and landfill gases—can be converted to biogas and upgraded to renewable natural gas (RNG) for electricity, pipeline injection, or vehicle use, while also providing valuable products such as fertilizer and compost. Using these products provides local jobs, improves air and water quality, assists in meeting multi-agency nutrient management strategies and helps to meet multiple policy goals espoused in both the Farm Bill and the Renewable Fuel Standard.


4) WIRES University Graduate School – Electric Transmission Infrastructure

Economic, Policy & Technology Benefits of Investment

Thursday, May 25
8:15 am - 3:00 pm

Reserve Officers Association – 5th Floor
One Constitution Ave NE

This year's second WIRES University explores an oft-neglected but fundamental aspect of North American INFRASTRUCTURE—the high voltage electric transmission grid. This whole-day session explains the grid’s importance as an enabler of markets and new technology as the economy becomes more thoroughly electrified. Our grid must also adapt to a distributed energy future which calls for a smarter and more flexible network.


To Contact the Editor: Jessie Stolark at bioenergy@eesi.org

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