Feb 13, 2021Mexican Supreme Court set to rule on U.S. fresh potato access cases
The National Potato Council (NPC) has learned that the cases regarding U.S. fresh potato access to Mexico have been placed on the Mexican Supreme Court calendar for Feb. 24.
If the court determines that this case has impact upon the Mexican Constitution, the draft ruling must be made available to the public. Our legal team believes that it will have that impact, so we should see the exact wording of what is being considered by the court.
As NPC has previously discussed, these cases are not just about potatoes. If the Mexican Supreme Court rules with their industry, it means that the Mexican government has no authority to approve food and agriculture imports. As a result, everything entering their country would be subject to challenge by domestic opponents.
For an in-depth discussion of this issue, check out the Eye on Potatoes podcast episode, “Avocados for Potatoes: The 20-Year Fight for Fresh Potato Access to Mexico,” at buzzsprout.com/770336/5157136 or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Food, agriculture added to latest COVID relief bill
After seven hours of deliberation on Feb. 10, the House Agriculture Committee finished marking up the agriculture and nutrition title of the COVID-19 relief bill making its way through Congress. The Committee reported favorably — by a 25-23 vote — to the House Budget Committee its 17-page bill.
Provisions in the package, among other items, include:
- Grants and loans to purchase personal protective equipment, test kits, and other measures to keep essential food workers safe;
- Infrastructure investments and retooling support for food processors, farmers markets, and producers to build resiliency in the food supply in the long term;
- An extension of the 15% increase in SNAP benefits through Sept. 30, 2021;
- Access to more fruits and vegetables in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
- $37 million for senior nutrition through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program; and,
- Support for more food purchases from farmers for distribution through food banks, nonprofits, or restaurants.
The House Ways and Means Committee was among the nine authorizing committees marking up pieces of the COVID-19 relief bill this week. The Ways and Means bill includes: direct payments of $1,400 for individuals earning up to $75,000 or couples making $150,000; paid-leave benefits for workers and tax credits for employers with fewer than 500 employees; an expanded Child Tax Credit; and an extension of the employee retention tax credit through the end of the year amongst other provisions.
The House is expected to consider the relief package the week of Feb. 22.
House Ag Subcommittee leadership announced
On Feb. 8, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-Georgia) announced the election of the chairs of the committee’s six subcommittees:
- Rep. Jim Costa (D-California) will Chair the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture;
- Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia) will Chair the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry;
- Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Connecticut) will Chair the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations;
- Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-New York) will Chair the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit;
- Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois) will Chair the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management; and,
- Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) will Chair the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research.
Last week, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pennsylvania) announced the subcommittee ranking members:
- Rep. Austin Scott (R-Georgia) will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management;
- Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minnesota) will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit;
- Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-California) will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry;
- Rep. Don Bacon (R-Nebraska) will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations;
- Rep. Dr. Jim Baird (R-Indiana) will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research; and,
- Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-South Dakota) will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.
Register for Potato D.C. Fly-in
It has never been easier to stand up for potatoes on Capitol Hill. Join us virtually Feb. 22-25 for the Potato D.C. Fly-In and NPC Annual Meeting to help fight for the future of the U.S. potato industry.
Sign up to participate in virtual Capitol Hill visits with your Members of Congress organized by your state potato organization to advocate for issues such as keeping potatoes in federal nutrition programs and promoting free and fair trade agreements. Also, we’ll use the Fly-In to thank Members of Congress for their part in delivering more than $250 million in federal disaster aid to support to the potato industry as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here for more information and to register for the first-ever virtual Fly-In!
— National Potato Council