USDA's CFAP Rule This Week; Trump to Deliver Remarks Re: Farmers, Food Chain

Posted on 05/17/2020 7:17 PM

Fed chair Powell and Treasury Sec. Mnuchin to testify on CARES Act



Washington Focus


The rule. Finally. It looks like early this week, reportedly Tuesday, USDA will finally release the rule for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). While food aid details have been swift and are actually being implemented, no similar situation regarding the direct payments ahead for field crops, produce, livestock, dairy and poultry producers. USDA will detail payment rates and timeline requirements that are sure to displease some if not the majority. Meanwhile, USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue has already said payment limits will be above those initially intended and announced by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). Why it is taking USDA so long to announce details is murky since the Treasury Department was quick to implement its much more complex and costly programs. USDA this week will hold several training sessions for Farm Service Agency and likely other offices.


     President Trump will deliver remarks Tuesday regarding farmers, ranchers and the U.S. food supply chain. He will also hold a Cabinet meeting Tuesday.


No votes in House this week. After Democrats passed its $3 trillion-plus measure Friday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office told members not to expect votes this week. The House is set to be in session on May 27 and 28. Hoyer said some members may return to Washington this week for committee meetings.


Key economic data include Housing Starts Tuesday and Existing Home Sales Thursday, along with another snapshot of initial jobless claims. There are also earnings reports from big retailers, including from Walmart, Home Depot and Target — on the ag/food industry front, Hormel reports Thursday and Deere on Friday.


Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testify before Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday at a hearing on the CARES Act. An interview with Powell aired on 60 Minutes Sunday night.


     A full economic recovery may not be possible until a Covid-19 vaccine is available, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a 60 Minutes interview. “For the economy to fully recover... that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine,” Powell warned. “In the long run and even in the medium run, you wouldn’t want to bet against the American economy. The American economy will recover.”


     He said that if there is not a second-wave outbreak, he expects the economy to start to rebound in the second half of the year. “This economy will recover. It may take a while. It may take a period of time. It could stretch through the end of next year. We really don't know,” Powell told CBS' Scott Pelley.


     Powell challenged the idea that there is a trade-off between economic growth and protecting the public’s health. “When the public is confident that it’s safe to go out, they’ll go out,” he said. “That’s why there’s no trade-off here.” The more that the public takes seriously social distancing measures, “the sooner we can open up the economy,” he said.


     Congress has appropriated nearly $2.9 trillion so far to support households, businesses, health-care providers and state and local governments, or around 14% of national economic output. But the Fed leader has warned that additional spending will be needed to prevent long-term damage from a wave of business bankruptcies and extended periods of high unemployment. “It may well be that the Fed has to do more,” said Powell. “It may be that Congress has to do more.”


On Wednesday, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It will be interesting to see if panel members ask him about the proposed rule EPA sent this past Wednesday to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard 2021 biofuel (ethanol) and 2022 biodiesel mandate levels. Those would be the proposed levels, with the final announcement coming in June or July based on history. The key is what the final rule says regarding SREs (waivers) relative to 10th circuit ruling. The levels usually get leaked after various groups meet with the OMB about the proposed levels.


Hearings and Events This Week


Monday, May 18


     — Energy. Atlantic Council webinar on "Downstream Oil Theft: Countermeasures and Good Practices."

     — EPA economic analysis. Environmental Protection Agency meeting by teleconference of the Science Advisory Board Economic Guidelines Review Panel to conduct a peer review of the EPA's revised document titled "Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses" and to develop a report responsive to charge questions on the revised document.

     — Humanitarian options & Covid-19. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) discussion via webcast with Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, part of the "Humanitarian Operations During Covid-19" series.

     — FTC issues. Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies holds a "Fireside Chat" via webinar on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) regulatory reform efforts, federal privacy legislation and the future of antitrust law.

     — HHS report on Covid-19. We Must Count Coalition conference call briefing to discuss Health and Human Service Department's first congressionally mandated report on the Covid-19 crisis.

     — U.S./China relations. SETA Foundation at Washington DC holds a webinar on "U.S.-China Relations in the Age of Coronavirus."

     — Democracy & Mexico. Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) discussion via webcast on "The Political Culture of Democracy in Mexico: Results from the Americas Barometer 2018/19."

     — Covid-19 & impact on immigrants. Leaders of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) participate in a Facebook Live discussion of civil rights leaders on "Covid-19 legislative responses and the pandemic's disparate impact on immigrants and families of color."

     — Democratic socialism. Institute of World Politics (IWP) webinar on "Are we Becoming more Radical? The Rise of Democratic Socialism in America."


Tuesday, May 19


     — Cabinet meeting. President Trump will make remarks about farmers, ranchers and the U.S. food chain and then hold a Cabinet meeting.

     — Federal Reserve. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to testify on the CARES Act via webcast; Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren to deliver remarks.

     — HHS Covid-19 report. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress." Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to testify.

     — Covid-19 & beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement holds a meeting by teleconference of the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on beginning farmers and ranchers.

     — Chinese nationalism. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) discussion via webcast on "Popular Nationalism in a Rising China."

     — Wireless infrastructure. Wireless Infrastructure Association holds its "Connect (X): All Access" conference via webinar.

     — USAID & biodiversity. Woodrow Wilson Center's (WWC) Environmental Change and Security Program; and the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Biodiversity Results and Integrated Development Gains Enhanced (BRIDGE) Project hold a discussion via webcast on "Cross-Sectoral Approaches to Biodiversity Conservation: Collaborating for Stronger Conservation and Development Outcomes."

     — CFTC swaps regulation. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) meeting by conference call of the Global Markets Advisory Committee (GMAC) to hear a presentation and consider recommendations from the GMAC's Subcommittee on Margin Requirements for Non-Cleared Swaps.

     — Iran oil situation. Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) "Ground Truth" conference call briefing on "Iran: Covid-19, the Oil Crisis and New Tensions with the U.S.”

     — Covid-19 recovery. Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) discussion via webcast on "Navigating Covid-19 Response and Recovery Funding."

     — Leadership in Covid-19 situation. Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service discussion via webinar on "Effective Leadership in the Time of Covid-19."

     — Covid-19 & the digital divide. ACT, The App Association, discussion via webcast on "The Covid-19 Pandemic, the Digital Divide and Solutions to Address Both." Highlight: FCC Commissioner Mike O'Reilly; FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel; and Morgan Reed, president of ACT, The App Association, participate in a fireside chat.

     — Covid-19 & leadership. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) webcast on ”Covering Covid-19: Perceptions of U.S. Leadership in the Time of Pandemic."

     — VA response to Covid-19. House Appropriations Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on "Department of Veterans Affairs — Response to Covid-19."

     — Broadband & Covid-19. House Energy and Commerce Committee Communications and Technology Subcommittee holds a forum via teleconference on "critical consumer protection, broadband and spectrum issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic."

     — U.S. workforce & Covid-19. Commerce Department’s Office of the Undersecretary for Economic Affairs hmeeting by teleconference of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board to provide immediate workforce policy recommendations to the President's National Council for the American Worker to accelerate the re-employment of American workers and the Nation's economic recovery.

     — Supply chains & Covid-19. U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) webinar on "Protecting Supply Chains During Coronavirus," as part of the Global Supply Chain series.

     — Digital currencies. Atlantic Council webinar on "The Digital Dollar: Do we Need it and How Do we Build It?"

     — TVA nominees. Senate Environment & Public Works Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee hearing on the nominations of Beth Harwell to be a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors; Brian Noland to be a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors; and Katherine Crytzer to be inspector general of the Tennessee Valley Authority.


Wednesday, May, 20


     — Former VP Biden & rural issues. Former Vice President Joe Biden discussion via webcast with Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) on rural issues.

     — Energy nomination. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the nomination of Mark Menezes to be deputy Energy secretary.

     — Market systems. U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Marketlinks and Agrilinks webinar on "Demystifying Market Systems Resilience."

     — Export financing. Environmental Protection Agency meeting by teleconference of the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee to discuss possible recommendations on policies and programs that can increase awareness of, and expand access to, export financing resources for U.S. exporters.

     — Public works & Covid-19. American Public Works Association webinar on "Public Works: Essential Before, During and Beyond the Pandemic."

     — EPA oversight. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency." Administrator Andrew Wheeler to testify.

     — Transportation & other legislation. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee markup of several transportation, science & technology measures.

     — Covid-19 & U.S. workforce. House Education & Labor Workforce Protections Subcommittee hearing on "Examining the Federal Government's Actions to Protect Workers from Covid-19."

     — Energy outlook. Resources for the Future (RFF) webinar on "The Global Energy Outlook: What Has Changed Due to Covid-19."

     — Energy investment. Atlantic Council webinar on "Covid-19 and the Future of Investing in Energy."

     — U.S./China. Heritage Foundation webinar on "A Strategic Blueprint: U.S./China Relations."

     — Businesses & Covid-19 liability. Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) webinar on "Is There a Bipartisan Solution for Business Liability Concern?" focusing on the coronavirus.

     — U.K. investments. Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) discussion via webcast with UK Investment Minister Gerald Edgar Grimstone.

     — Covid-19 review. Environmental Protection Agency meeting by teleconference of the Science Advisory Board to review the draft report of the SAB Covid-19 Review Panel.

     — Trade issues. National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ) 2020 Spring Conference via webcast.

     — Broadband. Commerce Department; National Telecommunications and Information Administration holds the "Practical Broadband Conversations" series of webinars on a monthly basis to engage the public and stakeholders with information to accelerate broadband connectivity, improve digital inclusion, strengthen policies and support local priorities.

     — Rural digital opportunity. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) holds a "Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction" webinar for State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Government Officials.

     — Trade policy situation. United Parcel Service (UPS) discussion via webcast on "Annual U.S. Trade Policy Update."

     — Covid-19 & climate change. American Bar Association (ABA) discussion via webinar on "'Flattening the Curve' — Covid-19 and Climate Change."


Thursday, May 21


     — Federal Reserve. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell delivers opening remarks at a “Fed Listens” session on Covid-19 impacts on communities; Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida delivers remarks on the U.S. economic outlook at monetary policy in an online discussion; New York Fed President John Williams and Fed Governor Lael Brainard to deliver remarks.

     — SEC issues. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) meeting by teleconference of the Investor Advisory Committee, including a discussion of subcommittee recommendations, index funds and credit rating agencies.

     — Ex-Im updates. Export-Import Bank meeting by teleconference of the Board of Directors to receive a small business update and review additionally and economic impact reforms.

     — Nuclear trade. Commerce Department, International Trade Administration meeting by teleconference of the Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee, including nuclear cooperation agreements, encouraging ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage and Identification of specific trade barriers impacting the U.S. civil nuclear industry.

     — Atlantic hurricane forecast. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conference call briefing to announce the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season outlook.

     — Covid-19 and trade supply chains. Washington International Trade Association (WITA) webinar on "Covid-19 and Trade: Ports, Logistics and Global Supply Chains."

     — Digital currency. Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's (ITIF) Center for Data Innovation webinar on "Does America Need a 'Digital Dollar?'"

     — Covid-19 & transportation. International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) virtual briefing on the "State of U.S. Transportation During Covid-19 Pandemic."

     — Infrastructure. Homeland Security Department meeting by teleconference of the President's National Infrastructure Advisory Council, including a Work Force Panel Discussion and Covid-19 Panel Discussion.

     — Energy issues. Energy Department meeting by teleconference of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board including status briefings from the subcommittees (Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, and Space) and DOE's response to Covid-19.

     — 2020 elections. Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) webinar on "The Challenges of Counting the Vote in 2020."

     — Carbon capture. United States Energy Association (USEA) webinar on "Supporting the Next Generation of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Projects: Highlights of the USDA-DOE Collaboration."

     — Electric transportation. Utility Dive webinar on "How Utilities Can Support the Future of Electric Transportation."

     — Energy efficiency. Energy Department meeting by teleconference of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

     — Covid-19 & global trade. Asia Society webcast on "Coronavirus and Global Trade."


Friday, May 22


     — Economic impacts of Covid-19. Inter-American Dialogue (IAD) discussion via webinar on "Assessing the Economic and Social Impact of Covid-19."

     — Trade & Covid-19. National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ) 2020 Spring Conference via webcast, including a session on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

     — Covid-19 & travel. Commerce Department International Trade Administration meeting by teleconference of the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to consider recommendations on accelerating recovery in the travel and tourism sector following the Covid-19 pandemic.


Economic Reports and Events for the Week


     — Business leaders survey
     — National Association of Home Builders releases its NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for May. Consensus estimates are for a 34.5 reading, up from April’s 30 figure. The April reading was the first below 50 since 2014, and the lowest since 2012, when the industry was recovering from the housing crash.

     — Census Bureau reports new residential construction data for April. Economists forecast a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 919,000 housing starts, a precipitous decline from March’s 1.2 million. New building permits are expected to decline 25%, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1 million. Housing starts were last below 925,000 in early 2015.
     — Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before Senate Banking
     — Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren

     — Federal Open Market Committee releases the minutes from its monetary policy meeting in late April.

     — Jobless Claims
     — Conference Board releases its Leading Economic Index for April. Expectations are for a 5.7% decline, to a 98 reading. March’s 6.7% drop was the steepest on record in the index’s 60-year history.
     — Fed Balance Sheet
     — Money Supply
     — Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey
     — IHS Markit releases its Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for May. Consensus estimates are for a 34.3 reading, rebounding from April’s 27 figure. Both numbers are well below the expansionary level of 50.
     — National Association of Realtors reports existing-home sales for April. Economists forecast sales plummeting 18.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.3 million. This follows on the heels of an 8.5% drop in March.
     — New York Fed President John Williams
     — Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Fed Governor Lael Brainard


Key USDA & international Ag & Energy Reports and Events


Monday, May 18

     Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Crop Progress
  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook
  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data
  • Monthly MARS bulletin report on crop conditions in Europe
  • Holiday: Canada     

Tuesday, May 19

     Ag reports and events:

  • Fruit and Tree Nut Data
  • Vegetables and Pulses Data
  • Brazil’s Conab releases 2nd estimate for 2020 coffee crop
  • Deadline for Australian gov't to deliver final defense against Chinese anti-dumping probe into the country’s exports of barley

     Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report

Wednesday, May 20

     Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • Milk Production
  • EU Farm to Fork strategy for sustainable food
  • Malaysia’s palm oil export data for May 1-20

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories

Thursday, May 21

     Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • Sugar: World Markets and Trade
  • Cold Storage
  • Livestock Slaughter
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports
  • Holiday: France, Germany, Belgium, Indonesia
  • Earnings: Hormel

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change

Friday, May 22

     Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report
  • Peanut Prices
  • Poultry Slaughter
  • Food Price Outlook
  • Cattle on Feed
  • Chickens and Eggs
  • FranceAgriMer weekly update on crop conditions
  • Earnings: Deere

     Energy reports and events:

  • Baker Hughes weekly U.S. oil/gas rig counts



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