2020 election

New Senate Ag members include farm reformer and election deniers

New Jersey's Cory Booker, sponsor of bills to place a moratorium on large livestock farms and to expand Black ownership of farmland, is among five newcomers to the Senate Agriculture Committee, said panel leaders. The new members also include Republicans Roger Marshall and Tommy Tuberville, both of whom challenged President Biden's election on the same day a mob attacked the Capitol.

After refusing to overturn election, five House ag panelists oppose impeachment

Although they defied President Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, five Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee voted on Wednesday against impeaching Trump for inciting the deadly mob attack on the Capitol last week. They said that impeachment was divisive and hasty, while the new Agriculture chairman, Georgia Democrat David Scott, said speedy action was needed.

Perdue demurs at cabinet sideline of Trump

While the top Democrats in Congress threatened to impeach President Trump for the second time, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Thursday that he was not part of any discussions among cabinet members to sideline Trump by declaring him unfit to do his job. "Nor do I expect to have any" part in such talk, said Perdue during a trip to Georgia.

Pro-Trump mob ‘was an attack on American democracy’

The invasion of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob was an assault on U.S. democracy, said farm state lawmakers on Wednesday. Rioters interrupted the certification of Joe Biden's election as president over President Trump, who told protesters that he would never concede defeat. Biden and former president George W. Bush called the invasion an insurrection.

Biden review of USDA may have a climate mitigation perspective

Robert Bonnie, an Obama appointee at the USDA and now the head of an initiative to identify agriculture's role in mitigating climate change, will lead a review of the Agriculture Department to prepare the way for the incoming administration, said the Biden transition office. Meanwhile, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge said on Wednesday that she would be honored to serve as Biden's agriculture secretary. If chosen, she would be the first Black woman to hold the cabinet post. (No paywall)

Scott, seeking to chair House Ag, calls for racial justice and economic equality

Nine-term Georgia Rep. David Scott asked House Democrats to name him Agriculture Committee chairman with a call on Thursday for racial justice and economic equality in agriculture, rural economic development, and a safety net for hungry Americans. He would be the first Black and the first Georgian to chair the committee.

New chairs on the way for Senate and House Agriculture panels

Southerners could lead both of the Agriculture committees in Congress as a result of Tuesday's general election, which trimmed the majorities Republicans hold in the Senate and Democrats hold in the House. Rep. David Scott of Georgia was first in seniority to succeed chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota on the House Agriculture Committee, and Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas was in line to chair the Senate panel.

Once again, rural America votes for Trump

Rural America was key to Donald Trump's election in 2016 and rural voters backed him again this year, although by how much is unclear. While one exit poll reported that 54 percent of small city or rural residents voted for Trump, the Daily Yonder said the president's performance in Ohio, a battleground state, "looks a lot like 2016," when he rolled up huge margins in rural counties.

Peterson, ag committee chair, defeated after three decades in House

Two and possibly three of the "four corners" of farm policy, the Capitol Hill nickname for the chairmen and the minority leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture committees, will be occupied by new faces when Congress convenes in January. Two of the seats could go to Arkansans: Sen. John Boozman appears certain to succeed Pat Roberts as the top Republican on the Senate committee and Rep. Rick Crawford is vying to be the ranking Republican on House Agriculture.

Presidential election should be followed by a national food strategy, says report

The coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted food supplies and heightened food insecurity, should be the impetus for unified oversight of the food system, now splintered among dozens of regulatory agencies, said an "urgent call" for action from groups at the Harvard and Vermont law schools on Thursday.

Farm and ranch groups oppose Colorado’s gray wolf referendum

Colorado voters will decide on Nov. 3 whether the gray wolf, nearly hunted to extinction a century ago, will have a home west of the Continental Divide in their state. If they approve Inititiative 114, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission would be charged with planning for and carrying out the reintroduction of the gray wolf by the end of 2023, including the possibility of compensation for livestock lost to wolves.

A rural political issue Democrats have so far ignored — ag consolidation

From meat packers to seed companies,  farm equipment to agrochemicals, the agriculture industry has become increasingly concentrated, leaving farmers with few options when it comes to buying inputs or selling their commodities. This has also become a potent political issue in rural areas, but …

Trump, Biden debate source of billions in aid to farmers

President Trump took credit for billions of dollars in trade war payments to U.S. farmers during the final presidential debate on Thursday. "I just gave $28 billion to our farmers," said Trump. "Taxpayers' money," interjected Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the only reference to agriculture, lasting less than a minute, in the two debates between the candidates.

Iowa leans for Greenfield over Ernst in Senate race

Iowans have not defeated a Senate incumbent since 1984 but Democrat Theresa Greenfield could break that streak in her challenge to Republican Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said Sabato’s Crystal Ball on Tuesday. The political newsletter said the race “leans …

Perdue violated rules against politicking on the job, says ethics agency

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue violated a 1939 law against politicking on the job when he urged the re-election of President Trump at a produce packing house in North Carolina on Aug. 24 and must reimburse the government "for the costs associated with his political activity," said the U.S. Office of Special Counsel on Thursday.

‘You lost the trade war,’ says Harris; Pence lauds USMCA

The Trump administration "lost the trade war" with China, said Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, on Wednesday during a debate with Vice President Mike Pence, who faulted her for voting against the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It was the first time agriculture was mentioned in the pre-election debates.

Trump announces $13 billion in additional coronavirus aid to farmers

During a re-election rally in rural Wisconsin on Thursday, President Trump announced an additional $13 billion in coronavirus relief for U.S. farmers and ranchers, more than doubling assistance to the sector. The money will be available beginning next week, said the president.

Siding with farmers, Trump tells EPA to deny retroactive biofuel waiver requests

With an eye toward shoring up Farm Belt support less than two months before the election, President Trump directed the EPA to deny dozens of oil refiner requests for retroactive waivers from U.S. biofuel laws, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Vilsack highlights Biden’s support of ethanol

Democrat Tom Vilsack, the former agriculture secretary and Iowa governor, made a virtual campaign sweep through the farm state last week on behalf of Joe Biden, emphasizing that the Democratic presidential nominee was a friend of ethanol. In virtual stops in Sioux City, Mason City, Council …

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