Responding to the risks posed by the combined threats of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, skyrocketing gas prices, and critical supply shortages, the United States federal government is taking unprecedented steps to strengthen the resilience of the supply chain and protect American families.
The Biden-Harris administration is focused on improving the agility of federal and state governments to respond to supply shortages by encouraging competition, diversity, and new entrants.
In the recent June 1st press release, “…Framework for Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain and Transforming the Food System to Be Fairer, More Competitive, More Resilient”, the USDA stated, “…[It] has become clear that we cannot go back to the food system we had before.”
The 2022 governmental initiatives to date focus on 3 major improvements:
- Increase resiliency & diversify the supply chain
- Increase infrastructure security & mitigate risks of natural disaster
- Inform consumers with clearer labeling, better tools, and expanded access
These initiatives attempt to restore the supply chain to pre-COVID levels and are tied to job creation efforts and supply orders within the communities receiving the funding.
Interestingly, the most recent announcements in June were released just days before the international World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Conference (MC12) , which focused on meeting the world’s needs for food security and public health while protecting trade and IP rights of innovators . The WTO’s agreement on TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) helps to facilitate the resolution of disputes over IP, technology transfer, and public welfare.
1. INCREASE RESILIENCY & DIVERSIFY THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Diversify the Supply Chain
March 28, 2022 - The President’s 2023 budget for the Department of Commerce1 includes $372M for the National Institute of Standard and Technology’s (NIST) manufacturing programs , including an increase of over $125M for the Manufacturing Extension partnership2 to help make America’s small and medium-size manufacturers more competitive. The funds support 2 new innovation institutes and $11M to build analytical capacity to meet new supply chain requirements.
April 18, 2022 – To increase equity in federal procurement, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced an effort to reduce obstacles for small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs). The Biden-Harris administration aims to increase the share of contracts awarded to small disadvantaged businesses by 50% by 20253.
May 24 – USDA announced funding of $770M to create better market opportunities for rural communities in 36 states and Puerto Rico. A majority of the funds - $640M - is allocated to 122 specific projects ranging from rural business improvements to micro-entrepreneurship efforts. The USDA is making 154 investments4 (a combination of grants and loans) through 3 programs: Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Programs, and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program. Businesses range from hotels and restaurants to hospitals, food processing facilities, cellular service providers, gasoline stations, and more.
June 1, 2022 – Government made available up to $375M to support independent meat and poultry processing plants5. The bottlenecks faced during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a drop in effective plant and slaughter capacity. While an opportunity existed for new entrants to compete, small and midsize farmers struggled to compete for processing access. The first phase includes $150M in grants of up to $25M to expand capacity, including construction, expansion of existing facilities, and acquisition of equipment.
June 2, 2022 - The government announced $600M in investments and financial assistance to support the food supply chain infrastructure not covered by the meat and poultry program6 .
- $400M for regional food business centers
- $300M for a new organic initiative
- $75M to support urban agriculture
June 22, 2022 - To prevent critical supply shortages, the Department of Defense included in its 2023 budget $80M for workforce training in manufacturing7, in their 2023 budget, focusing on microelectronics, energy storage and batteries, castings and forgings, and missiles and munitions. Industrial skill development will be supported in welding, advanced machining, precision optics, metrology, digital/additive manufacturing.
2. INCREASE INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY & MITIGATE RISKS OF NATURAL DISASTER
Road and Waterway Improvements
April 8 - The Highway Infrastructure Programs (HIP)8 appropriates $9.45B, including $5.5B for bridge improvement9 - replacement, rehabilitation, preservation, protection and construction programs. This also includes $1B for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program in 2022.
April 21 - USDA Announced $420M Investment in 132 watershed infrastructure projects in 31 states for dam rehabilitation, flood prevention, and watershed restoration projects10.
June 21 - Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated $25.5M to 8 Western States11 to fund water efficiency and drought resilience projects in California, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and Wyoming . The funding is part of the $160 million in WaterSMART grants provided by the Law in 2022. The local governments in eight states must complete projects within three years.
Transportation Security & Fair Pricing
June 16 – The Ocean Reform Shipping Act of 202212 was signed into law, increasing the authority of Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to monitor unfair pricing and investigate complaints about late fees charged by ocean carriers and order refunds for unreasonable charges. It also prohibits carriers from unreasonably refusing available cargo space, resorting to unfair or discriminatory methods. Ocean transport carries 53% of all U.S. imports13 , the largest share compared to Air and Land.
March 22, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated $3 billion in funds for equitable disaster recovery14 . The funds will benefit underserved communities in 13 states, addressing issues related to 16 major disasters in 2021.
March 28, 2022 The Biden-Harris Administration submitted an increase of $6.9B15 in the 2023 budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)16 to improve its ability to predict extreme weather associated with climate change.
May 16, 2022 – USDA provided $6B in direct emergency relief to specialty crop producers impacted by 2020-21 natural disasters17 . The funds addressed crop losses due to disasters including wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, excessive heat, freeze, winter storms and other disasters during that 2-year period.
June 17 – Bipartisan Infrastructure Law18 allocated $103M to better support federal wildland firefighters. The majority of the funds - $80.9 million – will go to accelerating fuels management work, which reduces risk through strategic removal of potential wildfire hazards. $19.4M will go towards accelerating Burned Area Rehabilitation. A portion will go towards developing a wildfire risk mapping and mitigation tool jointly developed by the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. A portion will fund a wildland firefighter health and well-being program, including mental wellness, post-traumatic stress disorder care, and efforts to address environmental hazards to minimize job exposure.
Food and Pharmaceutical Security
April 27 – USAID addressed food insecurity caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by procuring commodities to bolster food operations in Africa and the Middle East19 Over $670M in food assistance was provided to countries in need, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen, helping to cover ocean freight, inland transport, internal transport, shipping and handling.
May 19, 2022 – FDA responded to shortages of critical supplies such as gasoline, blood, toilet paper and baby formula with the guidance report, “Risk Management Plans to Mitigate the Potential for Drug Shortages”, directed towards manufacturers of human drug and biological products.20
May 25 – USDA offered funding and flexible options21 to help participants in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Special Supplemental Nutrition program to acquire baby formula during the shortage. Because state agencies contracted with only 3 manufacturers to provide baby formula for WIC infants, the US Department of Agriculture encouraged states to allow WIC participants to purchase alternative sizes, forms, and brands and to support exchanges during the shortage. The USDA also encouraged the Administration to engage partners to strengthen the security, resilience, and diversity of our supply chain. WIC participants consume approximately 56% of all infant formula in the U.S.
June 30, 2022 - Due to the ongoing supply chain disruptions and rising food costs for schools, Congress approved an additional $943M for the Keep Kids Fed Act, funded through the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation22. Schools can receive additional temporary funding: $.40 cents per lunch and $.15 cents per breakfast. Child care centers will receive an extra $.10 cents reimbursement per meal.
3. INFORM CONSUMERS WITH CLEARER LABELING & INCREASE INFORMATION ACCESS
Consumer Information & Protection
January 1, 2022 – USDA’s National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NFBFDS) became mandatory23. Food manufacturers, importers, and other entities that label food for retail sale must clearly disclose bioengineered foods and ingredients to consumers, and keep adequate records of those disclosures . Bioengineered food is “…modified through in vitro rDNA techniques and for which the modification could not be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature”. Regulated entities have several disclosure options: text, symbol, electronic or digital link, and/or text message, with additional options available to small food manufacturers, or for small or very small packages.
April 4, 2022 - The USDA’s Country of Origin label (COOL) is now required for Japan24 . The label informs customers about the source & method of production of certain perishable foods , including farm-raised fish and shell-fish (fresh and frozen), goat and lamb, perishable agricultural commodities, frozen fruits and vegetables, peanuts, pecans, gjnseng and macadamia nuts, chicken, seafood, and more. Grocery stores, supermarkets and warehouse stores utilize signs, placards, bands, twist ties, pin tags, or other formats to identify the country of origin and method of production, when applicable (e.g., farm-raised, wild). Restaurants, butcher shops and fish markets are exempt. Although the law was passed in September, 2017, Japanese food manufacturers were not required to comply until March 31, 2022.
April 27 - The USDA provided guidance to reduce the action levels for lead in juice from 50 ppb to 10 ppb in single strength apple juice and 20 ppb in all other single strength juice types. The FDA estimates that this change may reduce dietary lead exposure among children from apple juice consumption by as much as 46% (at the 90th percentile consumption level)%25 , and 19% for all other juice types (at the 90th percentile consumption level).
Increase Access to Information
May 13, 2022 - The Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All26 initiative will invest $45B to provide affordable, reliable high-speed Internet for everyone in America by the end of the decade . States can now apply to receive funding through the Broadband, Equity, Access & Deployment Program (BEAD). The FCC’s Affordable Connectivity program and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also provided funding for tribal communities to acquire internet connectivity at reduced rates and access services such as telehealth and distance learning.
For over 30 years, DeltaTrak has provided temperature and environmental monitoring devices to the food, life sciences, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Devices are used to ensure the safety and quality of refrigerated products, and to check the status of other conditions (e.g., light and location of products).
- Mobile devices to help monitor temperature, humidity, light exposure, and/or shock impacting product shipments during their journey. (re-usable and single-use data loggers)
- FlashTrak cloud software to monitor the condition of products during shipment
- Office of Management and Budget (OMB), The White House Administration, “Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2023”, ISBN 978-0-16-095232-6, https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/budget_fy2023.pdf
- U.S. Department of Commerce, “President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Calls for Critical Investments in Key Commerce Priorities”, March 28, 2022, https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2022/03/president-bidens-fiscal-year-2023-budget-calls-critical-investments-key
- General Services Administration (GSA), “GSA Announces Actions to Advance Equity and Supplier Diversity in Federal Procurement | GSA”, April 18, 2022, https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/newsroom/news-releases/gsa-announces-actions-to-advance-equity-and-supplier-diversity-in-federal-procurement-04182022
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, “USDA Invests $770 Million to Expand Market Opportunities for Rural Businesses and People in 36 States and Puerto Rico”, May 24, 2022, https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2022/05/24/usda-invests-770-million-expand-market-opportunities-rural
- USDA, “USDA Announces Framework for Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain and Transforming the Food System to Be Fairer, More Competitive, More Resilient”, June 1, 2022, https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2022/06/01/usda-announces-framework-shoring-food-supply-chain-and-transforming
- FoodNavigator-usa.com, “USDA investments to ‘transform’ food system could shift power between large, established players and small, mid-sized challengers”, Elizabeth Crawford, June 02, 2022, copyright 2022 – William Reed Ltd., https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2022/06/02/USDA-investments-to-transform-food-system-could-shift-power-between-large-established-players-and-small-mid-sized-challengers
- U.S. Department of Defense, June 22, 2022. “DOD Addresses Supply Chain Resiliency With Lone Star State Industry”, https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3070036/dod-addresses-supply-chain-resiliency-with-lone-star-state-industry/
- U.S. Department of Transportation, “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - Bridge Investment Program (BIP) Fact Sheet, Federal Highway Administration (dot.gov)”, June, 10, 2022, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bipartisan-infrastructure-law/bip_factsheet.cfm
- U.S. Department of Transportation, “Revised Apportionment of Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, 2022 Highway Infrastructure Program Funds for the Bridge Formula Program Pursuant to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”, April 8, 2022, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4510867.cfm
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA Announce $420 Million Investment in Watershed Infrastructure Projects to Benefit Rural and Historically Underserved Communities, https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2022/04/21/president-biden-usda-announce-420-million-investment-watershed
- U.S. Department of the Interior, “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Provide $25.5 Million for Water Efficiency Projects in Eight Western States”, June 21, 2022, https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/president-bidens-bipartisan-infrastructure-law-provide-255-million-water-efficiency
- Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, June 16, 2022, https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/3580/text
- Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “Maritime Trade and Transportation by the Numbers”, March 7, 2013, https://www.bts.gov/archive/publications/by_the_numbers/maritime_trade_and_transportation/index
- Housing & Urban Development, “HUD Announces $3 Billion to Advance Equitable Disaster Recovery, Build Climate Resilience”, https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/hud_no_22_049, March 22, 2022
- ExecutiveGov, “Proposed FY23 Budget Boosts NOAA’s Climate Change Mitigation Efforts”, March 30, 2022, https://executivegov.com/2022/03/proposed-fy23-budget-boosts-noaas-climate-change-mitigation-efforts/
- U.S. Department of Commerce, “President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Calls for Critical Investments in Key Commerce Priorities”, March 22, 2022, https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2022/03/president-bidens-fiscal-year-2023-budget-calls-critical-investments-key
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA to Provide Approximately $6 Billion to Commodity and Specialty Crop Producers Impacted by 2020 and 2021 Natural Disasters, May 16, 2022, https://www.fsa.usda.gov/news-room/news-releases/2022/usda-to-provide-approximately-6-billion-to-commodity-and-specialty-crop-producers-impacted-by-2020-and-2021-natural-disasters
- U.S. Department of the Interior, “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Provide $103 Million for Wildfire Mitigation and Resilience”, June 17, 2022, https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/president-bidens-bipartisan-infrastructure-law-provide-103-million-wildfire-mitigation
- U.S. Agency for International Development, “Biden Administration Announces Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Global Food Aid to Respond to Putin’s Unprovoked Invasion of Ukraine”, April 27, 2022, https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/press-releases/apr-27-2022-biden-administration-announces-hundreds-millions-dollars-global-food
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Guidance Document: “Risk Management Plans to Mitigate the Potential for Drug Shortages”, May, 20, 2022, https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/risk-management-plans-mitigate-potential-drug-shortages
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, “USDA Offers Funding Flexibility to Help States, WIC Families Amid Infant Formula Shortages”, May 25, 2022, https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2022/05/25/usda-offers-funding-flexibility-help-states-wic-families-amid
- USDA, “Biden Administration Takes Additional Steps to Strengthen Child Nutrition Programs”, June 30, 22, https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2022/06/30/biden-administration-takes-additional-steps-strengthen-child
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard”, February 19, 2019, https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/national-bioengineered-food-disclosure-standard
- U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Japan: COOL for Main Ingredient Requirements Now in Force”, April 4, 2022, https://www.fas.usda.gov/data/japan-cool-main-ingredient-requirements-now-force
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, “Action Levels for Lead in Juice: Guidance for Industry, Draft Guidance”, April 2022, https://www.fda.gov/media/157949/download
- U.S. Department of Commerce, “Biden-Harris Administration Launches $45 Billion “Internet for All” Initiative to Bring Affordable, Reliable High-Speed Internet to Everyone in America”, May 13, 2022, https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2022/05/biden-harris-administration-launches-45-billion-internet-all-initiative
- (Infographic) The Wall Street Journal, "Container Shipping Prices Skyrocket as Rush to Move Goods Picks Up", July 5, 2021, World Container Index - June 11 | AJOT.COM, https://ajot.com/news/world-container-index-june-11
- (Infographic) Sea-Intelligence, "Schedule Reliability Improves Again in March, 2022", Global Liner Performance Report (GLP), https://www.sea-intelligence.com/press-room/137-schedule-reliability-improves-again-in-march-2022, April 29, 2022
- (Infographic) The New York Times, "The Busiest Port in the U.S.", October 18, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/18/us/port-of-los-angeles-supply-chain.html
- (Infographic) ProgressiveFarmer.com, West Coast Longshore Negotiations Have Begun on Soon-to-Expire Contract, June 13, 2022, Mary Kennedy, https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/columns/cash-market-moves/article/2022/06/13/west-coast-longshore-negotiations