2018 midterms

First-term Rep. Spanberger to chair House Ag subcommittee

Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who defeated Freedom Caucus stalwart Rep. Dave Brat in a central Virginia upset last November, will be the only first-term lawmaker to chair a House Agriculture subcommittee this session, announced committee chairman Collin Peterson on Thursday.

An Aggie tries to move up in House Democratic leadership

As House Democrats revel in electoral success, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos says she knows, from first-hand experience prevailing in a Trump district, how the party can protect its newly won majority in the 2020 elections. Bustos, the only Midwesterner in party leadership, is one of four candidates for election on Wednesday to chair the Democratic campaign committee, a job that can launch a leadership career if Democrats win on election day.

Trump acolyte presses ahead in Mississippi Senate race

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a member of President Trump’s agriculture advisory committee in 2016, is following the president’s no-apology campaign style in the Senate runoff election against former U.S. agriculture secretary Mike Espy, a Democrat. Hyde-Smith is the front-runner in strongly Republican Mississippi.

USDA will wait for Congress to decide SNAP work rules

Congress should have the first, and last, word on stricter work requirements for able-bodied SNAP recipients, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday. The USDA is working on the issue as a regulatory matter, but Perdue told reporters that he would not intrude on legislative prerogatives.

Farm bill outlook: Lame duck passage or bust

Farm bill negotiators said they expect to pass the $87-billion-a-year legislation in the lame duck session of Congress that opens on Tuesday. “I think we are relatively close,” said Collin Peterson, ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. “We could have that language ready next week when we come back.”

House elections stamp expiration date on GOP ‘welfare reform in the farm bill’

The midterm elections on Tuesday, giving Democrats control of the House beginning in January, effectively ended a Republican push for stricter SNAP work requirements in the 2018 farm bill. The elections could also be the jolt that breaks the stalemate in Senate-House negotiations over the bill. (No paywall)

Trump remains on top in farm country

In the end, election night turned into a gentle blue wave, showing the nation as divided as ever. As expected, suburban voters pushed back against President Trump, giving control of the House back to the Democrats, while voters in rural areas doubled down on their support of the president, flipping the Senate seats in three ag-heavy states to the Republicans. (No paywall)

In northwestern Iowa, King’s cruise to re-election hits a pothole

Anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King has suddenly found himself fighting his toughest re-election contest in years in the reliably conservative northwestern quadrant of Iowa, with an online poll showing his Democratic challenger trailing him by just a single point. (No paywall)

Trump: ‘We don’t have enough votes’ for stricter SNAP rules

Banking on Republican gains in the midterm elections, President Trump said Congress could wait until next year to pass the farm bill because "we don't have enough votes" now for stricter work requirements for millions of SNAP recipients. Trump, who signed an executive order in April calling for new and stronger work requirements for social programs, has sided with House Republicans on the major dispute of the 2018 farm bill, now nearly a month overdue.

Trump heads for farm country as midterms near

Ten days ahead of the midterm elections, President Trump will tout his agricultural record to a pared-down crowd of 7,000 teenagers at the FFA national convention in Indianapolis and campaign in southern Illinois for an imperiled Republican member of the House Agriculture Committee.

Turnover is in store for House Ag panel; will policy follow?

A raft of newcomers will take office in the House in January, regardless of the outcome of the Nov. 6 elections, because nearly 1 in 6 current representatives is retiring or running for another office. The shift could have a significant effect on farm and food policy.

Will a Blue Wave hit farm country? These races will tell the tale.

From the dairy farms of Pennsylvania and New York to the commodity growers in the Midwest and the produce fields of California’s Central Valley, the farm-country vote is very much in play as the midterms approach. In two new stories, FERN takes a closer look at a handful of contests that will determine whether Democratic challengers can flip the farmers who helped elect Donald Trump. (No paywall)

Three House ag panelists’ races are toss-ups; so is House control

The Republican–Democrat battle for control of the House “looks something like a coin flip,” says Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which says three members of the House Agriculture Committee are toss-ups for re-election next year.

Bustos to run ‘heartland engagement’ as House Dems work for majority

House Democrats are targeting often-conservative rural districts in their drive to gain control of the House in the 2018 midterms, and the DCCC has named Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois to lead the effort.

Two Senate Ag members among ‘most vulnerable’ in 2018

The 2018 elections are barely on the horizon yet two Democrats on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, rate among “the three most vulnerable seats” in the Senate, says Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Both are from states that voted heavily for …

In the spotlight for 2018 Senate races: Agriculture Committee members

One-third of the 23 Democratic senators facing re-election in 2018 sit on the Agriculture Committee, including the panel's top Democrat, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, a stalwart defender of food stamps in the final negotiations for the 2014 farm law. President-elect Donald Trump carried four of the states where Ag Committee Democrats will have to decide soon whether to run for another term, a sign of Republican strength.