Unfinished Business: The lingering impact of 2023’s top ag policy issues in the New Year

As we start the new year, let’s take a look at some of the legislative items from 2023 affecting agriculture that will continue to play out in the political area for months to come.

While January represents a fresh start in many regards, when it comes to certain policy decisions made in 2023, agriculture will continue to experience lingering impacts here in the New Year.

Top Ag Leader Leaving Office

According to Farm Progress, uncertainty begins with Senator Debbie Stabenow, the Ag Committee Chair, who announced last January she will not seek reelection. Sen. Stabenow will not only vacate the majority position on the ag committee, but the race to find her replacement will also determine which party controls the Senate in 2025.

Uncertainty over USMCA

Another year passed without an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico over genetically modified corn. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the best hope may be a change in Mexican leadership.

WOTUS Woes

A new “Waters of the United States” (or WOTUS) rule brought a lot of uncertainty for the agricultural industry when it came down in early September — and even now, multiple states still have court cases pending that could once again change the law.

Elephants in the Room: The Farm Bill & Prop-12

We could not forget the biggest topic in Washington Policy related to agriculture — the looming deadline for lawmakers to fund the government and keep vital agencies like the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) running. A major decision that continues to leave other major funding decisions, like the Farm Bill in flux.

Also, in pork, California’s Proposition-12 went into effect yesterday on Jan. 1 after the controversial state legislation was upheld by the Supreme Court last May. However, the looming effects of the policy could appear as late as this fall.

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