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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Industry groups laud progress on House farm bill


The American Soybean Association, North American Renderers Association and the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Coalition are speaking out about the House Committee on Agriculture’s recent passage of the Farm, Food and National Security Act of 2024—the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives’ version of the new farm bill.

 

“We appreciate that Chairman Thompson heard clearly the concerns and needs of soybean farmers and addressed those in the bill his committee approved [May 24],” said Josh Gackle, ASA president and a soybean farmer from North Dakota. “We thank all Republican members and Democratic members—namely Reps. Don Davis, Eric Sorensen, Sanford Bishop, and Yadira Caraveo—for their votes in support of the 2024 farm bill, which we believe will be impactful for soybean farmers across our 30 soybean-producing states.”

 

ASA noted that it has advocated over the past two years to strengthen the farm bill to address the pressing needs of soybean farmers.

 

“The Farm, Food and National Security Act of 2024 includes significant enhancements to improve effectiveness and accessibility of the farm safety net, meaningful investments to promote expansion and diversification of markets, and protection of vital programs like crop insurance and the soy checkoff, as well as other important provisions,” the organization stated. “Strengthening the farm bill is critical for the future of U.S. soybeans, and ASA stands ready to advance the bill as it moves forward in the legislative process.”

 

NARA said the House farm bill includes several key priorities of the rendering association.

 

“NARA commends Chairman [Glenn] Thompson for his leadership in moving the farm-bill process forward and members of both parties for their support of our legislative priorities,” the organization stated. “This significant progress highlights the effective advocacy and strategic efforts undertaken by NARA to support and advance the interests of the rendering industry.”  

 

Key wins for NARA include:

 

  • Doubling of MAP and FMD funding—NARA said its persistent advocacy has helped yield a major victory with the doubling of funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program, as outlined in section 3201. This increase in funding will enhance NARA’s ability to promote U.S. agricultural products abroad.


  • Focus on food-waste management—NARA said a significant success for the association is the inclusion of provisions related to food-waste management in section 4307. NARA said thanks to its work and collaboration with the House agriculture committee, subsections (e) and (f) were specifically incorporated. These mandate the USDA food loss and waste liaison to submit an annual report to Congress detailing activities aimed at avoiding or managing market disruption and summarizing communication and coordination efforts with U.S. EPA.


  • Inclusion of Rendering in the Butcher Block Act—The new meat-processing grant program established in section 6305 now explicitly includes rendering activities, what NARA said is a direct result of its advocacy. Additionally, rendering is also specified in the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative workforce training program under section 7053(D). These inclusions will provide essential support for rendering operations and workforce development, ensuring the continued growth and modernization of the rendering industry.


  • Codification of USDA authority to negotiate regionalization agreements under SAFE Act—Section 12004 of the draft bill codifies the USDA’s authority to negotiate regionalization agreements, a critical component of the Securing America’s Food Economy Act. This provision will strengthen the USDA’s capacity to manage animal-health emergencies and trade disruptions, thereby protecting the stability and security of the food supply chain.

 

“These achievements reflect NARA’s dedication to advocating for policies that benefit their members and the rendering industry and contribute to the agricultural circular bioeconomy,” the organization stated. “[The May 24] committee markup is an important step towards passing a farm bill this year, and we are encouraged to see the process underway. NARA looks forward to working with both parties and chambers to ensure the inclusion of these provisions in the bill that is ultimately enacted into law.”

 

In addition to the soybean and rendering trade associations, the SAF Coalition applauded the House Committee on Agriculture for “a good first step in the further advancement of SAF,” said Alison Graab, executive director of the SAF Coalition.

 

“The committee’s affirmation of SAF as an advanced biofuel in the farm bill will make SAF eligible for important USDA programs and help to develop a critical new market for crops and agricultural waste streams,” Graab added. “Although more work remains, the provisions of the bill affirming SAF as an advanced biofuel and providing for greater USDA collaboration regarding SAF underscore the significant role of SAF—not just in providing a clean and reliable jet fuel, but in also supporting rural economic development, creating a new market and economic opportunities for farmers, and ensuring American energy security.”

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