April 3, 2023 Issue

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U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Rescind EPA Waterway Rule in Second Rebuke of Biden Admin Regulations

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would rescind a second Biden administration policy, this time challenging an EPA rule that Republicans argue places a burden on the agriculture community by being too restrictive in defining what is a navigable waterway. The final vote was 53-43. The resolution, which cleared the House earlier this month, will now be sent to Biden’s desk where he has already threatened to veto it. The resolution was able to pass the Democrat-led Senate by a simple majority using the Congressional Review Act, which allows a vote to repeal regulations from the executive branch without breaking a filibuster at a 60-vote threshold, which is required for most legislation in the chamber. MORE


Source: IMA

Biden Declines to Veto GOP-Led Measure to End COVID-19 Emergency

President Biden will not veto a GOP-led effort to end the COVID-19 national emergency, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Democratic senators on Wednesday. The bill would terminate the COVID-19 national emergency effective immediately. The Biden admin has said it would let it expire in mid-May. The move could also come at the expense of House Democrats as 197 of them voted to uphold the emergency last month. MORE

Source: WMC

Five Fights Brewing in The Crucial $1.4 Trillion Farm Bill

The future of American food production is up for grabs this year. With the nation’s farm bill expiring this September — along with a wide array of crucial programs that put food on American plates — lawmakers are on the clock to craft a farm bill that can pass the divided Congress.  The House and Senate agriculture committees will hold a series of hearings akin to a large and acrimonious family Thanksgiving: heated debates with everyone united in the desire to fill their plates.  Among the dinner guests: big agriculture lobbyists, farm-to-table advocates, child nutrition groups, conservation organizations, climate change activists, U.S. states seeking support for fighting wildfires, droughts and other disasters — and of course the lawmakers themselves.  Here are the five biggest fault lines shaping up this year, from the upcoming battle over everything from $20 billion in climate funding to the question of what to do with the nation’s animal waste. MORE

Source: MBS 

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Wisconsin Civil Justice Council Issues 2023 Guide to the WI Supreme Court and Judicial Evaluation

The Wisconsin Civil Justice Council (WCJC) today released its 2023 Guide to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Judicial Evaluation, which reviews the most important decisions issued by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that affect the Wisconsin business community. The 2023 Judicial Evaluation covers the 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 terms of the court. The Judicial Evaluation scores the justices on the percentage of reviewed cases in which their positions aligned with WCJC’s positions. MORE


Source: WCJC

Report Shows Agriculture’s Growing Impact on U.S. Economy, Surpassing Pre-Pandemic Levels

Today 25 food and agriculture groups released the seventh annual Feeding the Economy report, revealing food and agriculture industries and their suppliers contribute over $8.6 trillion to the U.S. economy, nearly one-fifth of total national output and a 22% increase since the 2019 report. Providing data on jobs, wages, and economic output, this farm-to-fork analysis illustrates the food and agriculture sector’s impact on local and nationwide economic activity. The data also underscores this sector’s resilience and reliability amid unprecedented global and domestic crises, including the commodity shock following the war in Ukraine and continued supply chain disruptions. MORE

Source: Constitution Partners

International Trade Commission Finds U.S. Importers Bore Nearly the Full Costs of Tariffs

On March 15, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released a report - mandated by Congress - rejecting former President Donald Trump's claims that China, rather than U.S. companies, paid the cost of over $300 billion worth of Chinese goods that his Administration levied tariffs on between 2018 and 2021. SEE REPORT


Source: Constitution Partners

The US is Soon to become a Net Food Importer, Says USDA

I was interested to see this graph in a recent report, USDA Agricultural Projections to 2031. What this says is that agricultural imports are soon expected to be greater than agricultural exports. Within the next year or so, the United States will be a net importer of agricultural products. As the report puts it: Agricultural exports are expected to grow at an annual rate averaging 0.8 percent per year from 2021 through 2031. LINK

Source: foodpolitics.com

U.S. Dominance In Ag Export Race Is Softening

The United States lost its place as the world’s largest wheat exporter a decade ago, and now its leadership in exports of corn, cotton and tree nuts is being challenged, said a new USDA report. “Changes in global patterns of production and agricultural markets affected U.S. export competitiveness during the last two decades,” said the Economic Research Service, pointing to increasing competition from Brazil, Argentina, the EU and Australia. MORE


Source: MBS

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The US Economy Grew 2.6% During the Fourth Quarter, Slower than Previously Estimated

Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic activity — increased 2.6% for the final three months of 2022, according to the Commerce Department’s third and final reading for the quarter. MORE

Source: MN Chamber

U.S. Farm, Food Groups Urge Congress to Pass Authority for New Trade Deals

More than 50 U.S. agriculture and food groups on Thursday urged Congress to approve new legislation enabling the United States to negotiate more free-trade agreements, arguing that without them American agriculture was falling behind global competitors. The groups, representing a wide variety of U.S. agricultural exports from corn to dairy, meat, fresh produce and other products, said efforts by President Joe Biden's administration to open new agriculture export markets were insufficient to overcome the growing network of free-trade deals forged by the European Union, China and other countries. MORE

Source: MBS

Sustainability-Marketed Products Grow Despite Inflation

For at least some shoppers, values outweigh value, as products with a sustainability claim continue to outperform conventionally marketed products, even in the face of inflation.

The New York University Stern Center for Sustainable Business and Circana, formerly IRI and NPD, released the 2022 update of the “CSB Sustainable Market Share Index.” Now in its fourth year, this report examines consumer purchases of sustainability-marketed consumer packaged goods (CPG). Highlights from the latest research include: In the face of high inflation and pressure on U.S. consumers’ wallets, sustainability-marketed products outperformed conventionally marketed products across 36 categories and grew +0.3 points to 17.3% of purchases. MORE

Source: FoodProcessing.com

EPA to Limit PFAS in Drinking Water with Proposed Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed the first federal limits on harmful “forever chemicals” in drinking water, a long-awaited protection the agency said will save thousands of lives and prevent serious illnesses, including cancer. The plan would limit toxic PFAS chemicals to the lowest level that tests can detect. PFAS, or per- and polyfluorinated substances, are a group of compounds that are widespread, dangerous and expensive to remove from water. MORE


Source: WMC

FDA Works To Further Improve Nutrition, Reduce Diet-Related Chronic Disease with Dietary Guidance Statements on Food Labels

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued draft guidance that provides food manufacturers with recommendations on how and when to use Dietary Guidance Statements on the label of food products to ensure the label statements promote good nutrition, provide greater consistency in labeling, and assist consumers in making informed choices. This guidance is part of the FDA’s overall goal to help reduce the burden of chronic disease and advance health equity through improved nutrition. MORE

Source: MBS

How General Mills Aims to Overcome Ongoing Inflation

General Mills is investing in marketing and product development to maintain brand loyalty during this inflationary period while focusing on production efficiencies to offset projected double-digit input cost increases throughout 2023, according to executives. MORE

Source: CBA

MN Lawmakers Likely to Spend $100 Million on Broadband. How Far will that Go?

Minnesota lawmakers are planning to spend $100 million to help subsidize infrastructure for high-speed internet, an amount that would be the largest ever one-time state boost in broadband funding but has still drawn a mixed response from developers and local officials who say rural areas are being left behind. Top DFL leaders announced the $100 million plan on Tuesday at the Capitol as part of an agreement on budget ‘targets’ that will guide spending by legislative committees. … Minnesota is waiting for a much larger influx of federal cash to help connect many parts of the state to high-speed internet. But even though nearly $1 billion is on its way, a state task force has estimated Minnesota still needs about $426 million to reach its broadband goals.” MORE


Source: Fluence Media


Paid Family and Medical Leave Mandate in Play at Minnesota Capitol 

Over 80% of Minnesota Chamber members already offer some kind of paid leave, Schothorst said in an interview. They oppose the current program design as a “too expansive, too expensive, insolvent and one-size-fits-all approach,” she said. They’d rather explore a more targeted approach, she said. Geoff Baker, president of McFarland Truck Lines in Austin, a family-owned company that employs about 80 people in Minnesota, said he already provides great pay and benefits because he has to in the highly competitive labor market. He figures the program would cost him $75,000 to $100,000 a year. MORE

Source: MN Chamber

Minnesota Bill to Legalize Marijuana Gets Major Rewrite

Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in Minnesota underwent a major rewrite Tuesday with the addition of new language to regulate and protect the state's burgeoning industry in low-potency edibles and drinkables. MORE


Source: MN Chamber


MN Omnibus Ag Bill Proposes $100 M Increase in Broadband Spending, Expansion of Processing Capacity

The total number might not be as big as many wanted, but General Fund spending for farmers, plant innovators, and meat processors could increase more than usual. Through a delete-all amendment to HF2278 adopted Tuesday, the omnibus agriculture finance and policy bill contains investments in rural broadband, emerging farmers and marketing of agricultural products. The House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee is expected to consider additional amendments and take a final vote Thursday. Rep. Samantha Vang (DFL-Brooklyn Center), the committee chair, is the bill sponsor. MORE

Source: Fluence Media

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WI Legislative Audit Committee Co-Chairs Concerned Completed Broadband Projects Actually Provide Promised Service

The Public Service Commission reimburses with federal funds internet service providers for broadband expansion projects after they're completed. Co-chair Sen. Eric Wimberger (R-Green Bay), in a more than two-hour long hearing, questioned how the PSC would know for sure the projects do what they say they'll do in their grant applications.

PSC Chair Rebecca Valcq said the final reports providers have already submitted in order to receive CARES Act fund reimbursement for their work include documentation of any project changes between applying for a grant and completing the project.

PSC Broadband Office Director Alyssa Kenney also at the hearing said internet service providers have also been checking in monthly about any delays and how close to project completion they are. The Legislative Audit Bureau in a recent report noted PSC could do a better job documenting how it knows providers are doing what they say. Wimberger and Co-chair Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine) said they're concerned about making sure PSC can handle existing federal funds for broadband grants after Gov. Tony Evers proposed spending another $750 million to expand broadband. PSC publishes a map showing which parts of Wisconsin are covered by projects.

See the PSC broadband map

See the LAB report on page 37

Source: WisPolitics

Baldwin, Johnson Introduce CURD Act

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, along with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden introduced the Codifying Useful Regulatory Definitions (CURD) Act, bipartisan legislation to help better inform consumers’ cheese purchasing decisions and provide clarity for Wisconsin’s dairy industry. The CURD Act would codify a formal definition of “natural cheese,” a term commonly used on food packaging that currently has no official definition. MORE

Source: WisPolitics

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Mandatory Paid Time Off: ‘A Strain’ for Illinois Business

On Monday, Illinois became one of three U.S. states to mandate paid time off “for any reason,” up to 40 hours per year for full-time employees. Small business owners in Illinois say they know the importance of taking care of their workers, but some view the paid leave requirement as a government-imposed burden. MORE

Source: MN Chamber

5 ROI-boosting Reusable Food Packaging Trends

Food manufacturers are at an impasse: with rising inflation impacting the cost of everything from eggs to energy, once-affordable business models — such as investing heavily in single-use packaging — have become increasingly expensive to maintain. At the same time, labor shortages, a lack of automation and supply chain constraints have passed noticeable costs onto consumers, creating market uncertainty and disruption. While these trends pose challenges for manufacturers and customers alike, innovative tools are being developed to combat them. MORE

Source: CLFP

Top 150 Frozen Foods Processors Report

Consumers continue to turn to frozen foods for convenience, nutrition and value. Frozen foods sales increased by about 8% overall in 2022, and were 31% over 2019 pre-pandemic levels, according to NielsenIQ. Globally, the frozen food market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 6%, climbing to $600 billion by 2032, according to a report by Future Market Insights. North America is estimated to account for one-third of the global frozen food market, projected to grow at a 3.5% CAGR. MORE

Source: CLFP

Report Finds an Enormous Increase in The Number of Food Items Recalled In 2022

The total number of “units” recalled under the authority of the FDA increased by 700 percent in 2022 compared to 2021, according to a recently released report. The report, from the Sedgwick organization, quarterly collects and analyzes data and also compiles yearly totals. The organization uses data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The FDA oversees 80 percent of the country’s food supplies with the USDA responsible for the other 20 percent. MORE

Source: MBS

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U.S. Pork, Poultry Production Growth an Uphill Battle

Persistent health challenges, tight labor supplies, volatile feed costs and disruptive regulations continue to plague the U.S. pork and poultry industries, causing short-term productivity challenges and limited industry growth. While efficiency gains will be gradual, the adoption of new technologies will be crucial for future growth, according to Rabobank's latest report, "Necessity Is the Mother of Invention: Escalating Costs Accelerate Animal Protein Innovation."  MORE

Source: MBS

Key Technology Promotes Company Veteran to New Role

Food processing machinery manufacturer Key Technology has named company veteran Rudy Sanchez its new Food Handling Systems Product Manager – Americas. Sanchez, who has held various roles at Key Technology for more than 30 years, will manage activities throughout North America and Latin America that support the development, marketing and sales of Key’s high-performance food handling equipment, including vibratory conveyors, rotary sizing and grading systems and more. MORE

Source: ProduceProcessing.net

FDA To Allow Salt Substitutes in Standard-of-Identity Foods

After promoting sodium reduction to the public for decades, the FDA today proposed changes to the standards of identity for foods that include salt to permit the use of salt substitutes. The proposed rule would provide flexibility to product developers working with products that are regulated by a standard of identity (SOI) rule. For some foods, SOIs require certain ingredients in the formulation; therefore, removing salt in favor of a salt substitute, despite being positive, would be illegal. There are more than 250 SOI foods, including milk, milk chocolate, various breads, various cheeses and ketchup. 80 of them specify salt as a required or an optional ingredient, and these 80 SOIs are referenced in 140 other SOI foods. MORE

Source: FoodProcessing.com

ITC Petition Consideration Could Increase Consumer Prices

The International Trade Commission has decided to continue investigations on tin mill products that could increase consumer prices. "Imposing this requested tax will diminish the affordability of domestic manufacturing and unnecessarily raise consumer prices for items such as canned soup and vegetables, spray deodorant, pet food, household cleaners and bug spray," said Consumer Brands' vice president of supply chain and logistics, Tom Madrecki. MORE


Source: CBA

Cargo Theft, Led by Food and Beverage, is Surging Across the US

Food and beverage coming into port or in a warehouse is No. 1 on the list of products being targeted by freight thieves who are increasing their criminal activity across the national supply chain. It's a sign of the economic times and adding further pressure to the high prices faced by consumers during an elevated inflation environment. MORE

Source: CLFP

Upcoming Meetings & Events

View 2023 MWFPA Sponsorship Opportunities - HERE!

April 20 - Friday/Weckel Scholarship applications due


April 27 - Sanitation Seminar

Glacier Canyon Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells


May 31 - NFPA 70E Electrical & Arc Flash Training - Kalahari, Wisconsin Dells


May 31 & June 1 - MWFPA Annual Summit & Scramble

Trappers Turn, Wisconsin Dells


October 10 - Sporting Clays Classic

Woods & Meadow Hunting Preserve

Warrens, Wisconsin


November 28 - 30 - 2023 Convention & Processing Crops Conference

Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells




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