Government News -
Monday, 03 August 2009 09:02
Language in the FY2010 Transportation/Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, marked-up by the Senate Appropriations Committee this week, should help to ease a controversy over Mexican trucks on U.S. roads - and $2.4 billion dollars of tariffs imposed on American products by the Mexican government.
Mexico announced the tariffs on almost 90 American products after language in the FY2009 omnibus spending bill, approved earlier this year, ended a pilot program allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. roads.
The bill approved in Committee this week would allocate funds to ensure the safety of cross-border long haul shipments on Mexican trucks and direct the Obama Administration to address outstanding safety concerns. The Committee also urged the Administration to work with Mexican officials to come up with a proposal for full implementation of the cross-border trucking program - work that has been ongoing since the dispute began this spring.
NAWG and others in the agricultural industry have joined with the manufacturing and trucking industries to urge the Obama Administration and Congress to resolve the problem quickly, though, so far, wheat has not been an affected product.
NAWG supports allowing Mexican trucks to operate in the United States as long as they meet U.S. safety standards.
Groups Write USDA Research Head with Welcome, Support
NAWG and 14 other agricultural organizations wrote USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Rajiv Shah this week welcoming him to his new post and committing to work with him as he works to further research agency reorganization efforts.
The groups said, in part:
“Your arrival heralds a new focus on national research priorities when our nation and the world need agriculture to solve immense challenges...The required innovation to grow more and healthier food and fiber will come through better research, including improved management and increased funding. Competitive research has proven to achieve the best results for each investment. It is also the area USDA must improve the most.”
The letter noted that National Institutes of Health will spend $170 this year for every $1 spent by the USDA on competitive, fundamental research, and that since 1990, annual yield growth rates for corn, wheat, rice and soy have fallen compared to the prior three decades.
The groups also offered “full support” as Shah and USDA work toward establishing the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, created under the 2008 Farm Bill.
Signatories of the letter other than NAWG included American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union and commodity organizations representing producers of barley, soybeans, corn, rice, canola, cotton, chicken and pork.