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NMPF Leads on Supply Chain Issues in White House, USDA, Congressional Engagement

June 2, 2022

NMPF staff joined USDEC leadership engaging policymakers in meetings at the White House and USDA, as well as with leading members of Congress, in meetings May 12 on export supply chain issues. The group underscored the importance of the pop-up sites USDA launched earlier this year in Oakland and Seattle, and emphasized additional potential remedies, including:

  • Preferential port access for ocean carriers that maximize agricultural export carriage
  • Resuming the weekly Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report
  • 24-hour ag export pop-up sites at inland ports; and
  • Dual-turn facilitation of containers. A dual-turn allows containers delivering imports to an inland location to be provided directly to a nearby export-focused shipper, rather than being returned empty to the coast.

On May 25 USDA announced that it would begin accepting applications for the Commodity Container Assistance Program (CCAP) at the ports of Oakland and Seattle. Under the program, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is providing a $125 per container payment to assist exporters with the additional logistical expenses associated with picking up empty shipping containers to be filled with agricultural commodities and will also provide payments of $200 per dry container and $400 per refrigerated container to help cover additional logistical costs associated with moving the shipping container.

NMPF touted this additional step to support dairy exports as president and CEO Jim Mulhern noted, “While we continue to seek solutions from the carriers and from Congress, these steps by USDA demonstrate their understanding of our industry’s challenges. We feel they are positive, focused investments that will offer immediate relief to our dairy exporting cooperatives.”

NMPF remains among the most active agricultural industry voices pushing for progress to resolve the export supply chain crisis through a full-spectrum approach, engaging policymakers, driving policy and educating the public.

NMPF also commended a House bill introduced on May 13 by Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) that would create a dedicated task force within USDA designed to support American agriculture by shoring up the supply chain, increasing government coordination and preventing future issues. The bill unanimously passed the House Agriculture Committee on May 18. The language in this stand-alone bill parallels language in the existing COMPETES Act, now in conference.

Finally, NMPF’s senior vice president of trade policy, Shawna Morris, addressed dairy industry concerns as part of a May 18 webinar, hosted by Hoard’s Dairyman. Shawna focused on NMPF’s policy efforts. The lively and informative panel, which remains available for viewing, included perspectives from the Port of Oakland, a dairy exporter and an expert academic.