The Trump administration enabled multimillion-dollar payments to some large operators in this year’s round of trade war payments by obliterating the usual limits on farm subsidies, said the president of the National Farmers Union on Thursday.
At a listening session on Wednesday, landowners and advocates spoke to the Department of Agriculture about the importance of reforming how the agency aids heirs property owners. The listening session was convened to collect input on a series of heirs property reforms mandated by the 2018 farm bill.
Staunch conservative Michael Conaway, an eight-term Republican from west Texas and the most divisive House Agriculture chairman in decades, said on Wednesday that he will retire at the end of 2020.
The 2018 farm bill legalized industrial hemp production, but it is likely to be 2020 before the USDA produces the regulatory framework for the new crop, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday.
Two outspoken Kansans scored the trade war with China as needlessly disruptive for the farm sector on Tuesday, with Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts comparing it to the five-week partial government shutdown and economist Barry Flinchbaugh urging Congress to curtail President Trump's power to impose tariffs in the name of national security. In a pause in the trade war, China bought 2.6 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans, the third-largest soy sale in USDA records.
Although they’re in the minority, Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee will work for regulatory relief at home for farmers and ranchers and market access abroad for U.S. farm exports, said Rep. Michael Conaway, the GOP leader on the committee, on Wednesday.
When Democrats take control of the House today, one of their first steps will be the adoption of operating rules for the coming two years, including a provision that could lead to a court challenge to stricter time limits for SNAP benefits.
At the same time President Trump signed into law the 2018 farm bill, which modestly strengthens the farm safety net, loosens farm subsidy rules, and legalizes industrial hemp, he announced “immediate action on welfare reform” on Thursday through stricter enforcement of time limits on food stamps to able-bodied adults.
On Thursday, hours before President Trump was expected to sign the farm bill, the administration has proposed restricting the power of states to waive the usual 90-day limit on food stamps for able-bodied adults who do not work at least 20 hours a week.
The farm bill "is in very, very good shape," according to President Trump, who hinted that he will sign the bill into law this week. "So we’ll get the farm bill. Got to take care of the farmers. But it’s just been something very, very exciting," said Trump over the weekend.