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Government Relations & Washington Update

May 2023

CBO Releases Updated Baseline Projections
On May 12th, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its publication “An Update to the Budget Outlook: 2023 to 2033.”  CBO regularly publishes reports that present projections of what the federal budget would look like in the current year and over the next 10 years if existing laws governing taxes and spending generally remained unchanged. CBO’s current projections show a federal budget deficit of $1.5 trillion for 2023—which is $0.1 trillion more than the agency estimated in February. In the agency’s updated projections, annual deficits nearly double over the next decade, reaching $2.7 trillion in 2033. In addition to the overall baseline projections, CBO also publishes detailed information underlying its 10-year budget projections for selected programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and mandatory farm programs that are important for Congress as it considers the costs and options for reauthorization of the next Farm Bill. 

President Biden Meets with Agriculture Committee Leaders on Farm Bill
On May 11th, President Biden and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack invited Congressional leaders to a meeting at the White House to discuss the 2023 Farm Bill.  The meeting brought together the “four corners” of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees including Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), and Rep. David Scott (D-GA).  

After the meeting, the four Congressional leaders issued the following joint statement:

“Today, the four leaders of the Agriculture Committees had a conversation with President Biden and Secretary Vilsack on the importance of passing a bipartisan Farm Bill this year. The Farm Bill is a jobs bill. It is a safety net for farmers and consumers, and it is an investment in our rural communities and the health of the American people. The Agriculture Committees have a long tradition of bipartisan cooperation, and we look forward to continuing that tradition through our work on the 2023 Farm Bill.”

The joint statement is encouraging as the committees continue their preparations for the next Farm Bill.  Current Farm Bill authority expires on September 30.

Dr. Manjit Misra Named NIFA Director
On April 24th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the appointment of Manjit K. Misra as the new Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The NIFA Director leads the agency’s work in advancing agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. Dr. Misra started his new role on Monday, May 8, 2023.

Prior to joining USDA, Dr. Misra served as a Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. For more than 30 years, he was Director of the university’s Seed Science Center. The center has administered the National Seed Health System, authorized by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, since 2001. Dr. Misra also was founding Director of the Iowa State’s Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products.

In 2012, Dr. Misra was appointed Chair of the USDA National Genetic Resources Advisory Council (NGRAC), a position he held until 2017. Misra has served on more than 60 local, national, and international boards and committees. These include the Steering Committee for the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) International Conference on Biotechnology, the Scientific Advisory Council of the American Seed Research Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Iowa Seed Association, the Iowa Crop Improvement Association, and the First the Seed Foundation.

Dr. Misra is the recipient of several awards for leadership, including the “Distinguished Service Award” from the American Seed Trade Association, the “Order of the Knoll Faculty Award” from Iowa State University, the “Global Agricultural Leadership Award” from the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture, the Sukup Global Food Security award, a certificate of appreciation from the Secretary of Agriculture and the AE50 award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

Dr. Misra earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering in India, a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a researcher with 137 publications and an innovator with ten patents. During his tenure as the Director of the Seed Science Center, the faculty and staff conducted seed programs in 79 countries, including 34 countries in Africa.