Agreement Reached to Open Mexican Market to U.S. Potatoes by May 15

This week in Mexico, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Mexico Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Victor Villalobos to discuss their shared priorities on agriculture trade, science-based policy making, and sustainable and climate-smart agricultural production. At the conclusion of their meetings on Tuesday, Secretaries Vilsack and Villalobos announced the two countries “have concluded all necessary plant health protocols and agreed to a final visit by Mexican officials in April that finalizes expanded access to the entire Mexican market no later than May 15 for all U.S. table stock and chipping potatoes according to the agreed workplan.”

 
 
During a press availability after the meeting, Politico (subscription required) reported that Secretary Vilsack called Mexico’s agreement to live up to its trade obligations to allow U.S. potatoes full access by May 15 the “most significant” announcement from his visit with this Mexican counterpart.

 
 
From ‘Eye on D.C.’ Newsletter. Read more here.

NPC Joins Call for Climate-Smart Ag Investments in Infrastructure Bill

Last week the Senate unveiled an updated version of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure package negotiated between the White House and a bipartisan group of Senators. In response, the National Potato Council and a coalition of 12 agricultural and conservation organizations sent a letter to Congressional leadership supporting the bill’s significant new funding for climate-smart agricultural practices that can help farmers to build on their environmental stewardship leadership. The group wrote: “Farmers and ranchers tend with great care to their natural resources while taking a proactive approach to the long-term sustainability of their land and water. Currently, USDA conservation financial incentives and technical assistance provide producers with voluntary, incentive-based assistance to carry out multiple stewardship practices on their operations. Programs also support partnerships between farmers and conservation groups to improve natural resources in targeted areas. However, more can be done to emphasize innovative approaches that can yield meaningful environmental benefits, including manure and feed management or carbon benefits in the case of soil health.” While the organizations also voiced their support for the bill’s increased rural broadband investments, they reiterated their significant concerns regarding multiple tax policies that have been put forth as potential offsets for infrastructure legislation. “Specifically, we urge Congress not to alter or eliminate long-standing provisions that support future new and multi-generational family farms. As discussions on offsets continue, it is critical to avoid an approach that would undermine the future of farming in the United States,” they wrote. The full letter can be found here.

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