May 28, 2024

House Agriculture Committee

Passes Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman GT Thompson, R-PA, led the passage of the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024.

Early Friday morning, the House Agriculture Committee finished marking up H.R. 8467, the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024. After more than 13 hours of debate and consideration, the bill was reported favorably out of committee by a vote of 33-21.


Every Republican member of the committee voted in favor, along with four Democrats: Reps. Sanford Bishop (GA), Yadira Caraveo (CO), Don Davis (NC), and Eric Sorensen (IL). NFU issued a statement on the bill immediately following the final vote (around 12:30am ET).


Recap of amendments

During the markup, about 60 amendments were filed, 19 of which were relatively uncontroversial and adopted via an “en bloc” amendment, passing by a voice vote with near unanimous support. Several more amendments came before the committee for discussion and debate.


Of those offered, the most contentious and consequential debates centered around three issues:

  • Reduced spending for the nutrition title via changes to the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) offered an amendment to remove the cost-neutrality provisions. 
  • Repurposing funds allocated to climate initiatives through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-NM) offered an amendment to re-instate the climate sideboards in the IRA funding. 
  • Restricting USDA discretion over the use of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) offered an amendment to strike the language that would repeal USDA’s authority to spend CCC funds. 


All three of these amendments failed on party-line votes. 


While there are policy debates unique to each of these major amendments, the through line is funding for the bill. In all three cases, the proposed restrictions or modifications included in the bill are being used to pay entirely or partially for other programmatic priorities.


Republicans and Democrats sparred over whether the savings generated from restricting the Secretary’s use of the CCC would amount to the levels Chairman Thompson (R-PA) has claimed. Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on those projected savings were leaked last week and are reportedly $45 billion less than Chairman Thompson’s projections.


The final hour of the markup featured a tense debate over an amendment offered by Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX) to prohibit USDA from contracting with meatpackers that violate child labor or minimum wage standards. This amendment stems from a package of bills that Rep. Casar and allies rolled out last summer. Republicans pushed back, led by Reps. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD), but there was strenuous support for the amendment from Democrats. In a hasty procedural move, Rep. Van Orden succeeded in replacing Rep. Casar’s amendment (on a party line vote) with language directing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to further study the issue of child labor in the meat industry. 


Twelve of the originally filed amendments were never offered. Of the remaining amendments not in the “en bloc,” most were offered, discussed, and withdrawn, with the amendment maker seeking the Chairman’s support to continue discussing the issue in question.


Aside from Rep. Van Orden’s second-degree amendment to Rep. Casar’s amendment, only a handful of amendments were considered and received individual voice votes, with one failing and a handful passing with limited debate. The amendments that passed were mostly uncontroversial on minor matters, including a forestry issue in Wisconsin, a matter related to electric powerlines and wildfire management, and requiring GAO to complete a report on illegal shrimp imports. One amendment that passed by voice vote regarding pesticide labeling received limited pushback from Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), but mostly had members speaking in support.


Mischaracterization of organizational support 

During opening statements, Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) mischaracterized several organizations’ positions on the House version of the farm bill. Rep. Bacon read off a list of dozens of groups that he mistakenly claimed had “endorsed” the bill. This included NFU and other groups, including the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA), the National Black Growers Council (to name a few), that had commented on the bill but did not endorse. NFU subsequently clarified our position with the media and key congressional offices. 


What happens next?

The bill passed by the committee is far from perfect and will almost certainly not pass on the House floor in its current form. But the House Agriculture Committee being able to advance the bill greatly increases the possibility that a five-year reauthorization of the farm bill can be signed into law this year.


With the House markup behind us, attention now turns to the Senate. NFU is working with leaders of Senate Agriculture Committee to ensure the bill eventually put forward by Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) is stronger and preserves a broad coalition of support.

(Source: National Farmers Union)

2023 California Federal Order

Annual Report

More Information from Federal Order 51’s 2023 Annual Bulletin

The California Federal Order (FO) publishes an Annual Statistical Bulletin, containing tables and charts on FO 51 pool data and prices. The Annual Bulletin also provides a summary of the monthly newsletters, order trends, and a map of the handlers regulated in the marketing area. Access to FO 51’s Annual Statistical Bulletin can be found at: monthly-newsletter/.

The Statistical Uniform Price (SUP) or the pool price is based on a standard test. The SUP is announced at 3.5 percent butterfat, 2.99 percent protein, and 5.69 percent other solids. 

Producer Tests The annual average butterfat and protein tests of pooled milk in 2023 rose considerably from the prior year. The annual average producer butterfat test was 4.12 percent, up 0.08 percentage points from 2022. The annual average producer protein test for 2023 increased by 0.03 percentage points to 3.34 percent. The annual average other solids test remained unchanged at 5.75 percent. 

California Cattle Council Hearing

June 11, 2024, in Sacramento, CA

The California Cattle Council hearing is set for June 11 in Sacramento, CA. Testimony is due by June 6 and can be submitted by mail or email to California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDA) staff Ben Kardokus.

California Dairy Campaign and California Farmers Union plan to testify against continuing the $1 per head CCC checkoff.

The refund provision in the measure is overly cumbersome by requiring beef and dairy producers to request a refund each time a cow is sold. Instead, beef and dairy producers should have the option to voluntarily contribute additional checkoff dollars instead of being burdened with time-consuming refund requests. More information can be found on the CCC website

Contact California Dairy Campaign for more information about how to submit testimony to call for an end to the California Cattle Council checkoff. California dairy producers already pay more than any other farmers in checkoff fees.

Contact the California Dairy Campaign office at 209-632-0885

or email us at

Analysis: Benefits of the Delta Conveyance Project Far Exceed Costs

The project will deliver nearly $38 billion in benefits, preventing both water shortages and water rationing, and saving more water during wet years


SACRAMENTO – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released a benefit-cost analysis for the Delta Conveyance Project that finds the infrastructure modernization project would create billions of dollars in benefits for California communities, including reliable water supplies, climate change adaptation, earthquake preparedness and improved water quality.


For every $1 spent, $2.20 in benefits would be generated. The report also shows the very real cost of doing nothing, posing significant future challenges to supplying water to California communities.


“The Delta Conveyance Project passes the benefit-cost test readily, with benefits that are more than double the cost,” said Dr. David Sunding, Emeritus Professor, UC Berkeley, who led the benefit-cost analysis. “The project enables ongoing demands to be satisfied and water supply reliability to be maintained,” he said, adding “the benefits clearly justify the costs.”


As climate change and regulatory constraints cause water supplies to diminish over time, the reliability of the State Water Project infrastructure is in jeopardy, putting 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland at risk. This new benefit-cost analysis provides a compelling financial rationale for the public water agencies funding the project to be able continue to provide affordable, safe, clean and reliable water supply.


“Twenty-seven million people rely on these surface water supplies that support a $2.3 trillion economy in California.” said Karla Nemeth, Director of the California Department of Water Resources. “There is a very real cost to do nothing. It is vastly more efficient and economical to avoid declining supplies. Water shortages, mandatory restrictions, land fallowing and job loss all impact our state and local economies.

(Source: Department of Water Resources)

All the Latest on Water Issues

California Dairy Campaign and California Farmers Union are calling on farmers to participate in their local Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA). Decisions are being made right now that will greatly affect access to water in the future. Some of the measures will pass if landowners do not submit their ballots in time because if a landowner does not file a protest vote, that parcel of land could be considered a "Yes" vote. Our field staff is updating dairy producers about GSA activities in each area.

Below, please find the web link for information

about your local GSA.

For More Information, Contact

the California Dairy Campaign Office at 209-632-0885.


What to Expect if You Suspect HPAI

in Your Herd

AMMP, Dairy Plus, and DDRDP

Signup Happening Soon

The signup process for the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), Dairy Plus, and the Dairy Digester Research and Development program will begin this spring. It is never too soon to start preparing your application. Each program requires an application, so it’s important to start this process (engineer design, permits, talking with vendors, working with financial institutions) as soon as possible.

Contact California Dairy Campaign Field Representatives

Joe Melo and Lisandra Vitorino for more information and to get started on your application.

Contact the CDC Office at 209-632-0885.

For More Information

Contact Executive Director

Lynne McBride

California Dairy Campaign

California Farmers Union

325 Mitchell Avenue

Turlock, CA 95380

Phone: 209-632-0885

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