Equity Commission to examine USDA programs and policies for bias

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh will co-chair a congressionally approved Equity Commission to address racial discrimination within the USDA and its programs, announced the Agriculture Department. The USDA has been called "the last plantation" because of racial bias in its operations; it paid $2.2 billion to Black farmers and their descendants in the so-called Pigford settlements of 1999 and 2010.

Peterson-Fischbach race stands out in House contests

If there were a "toss-up caucus" of U.S. representatives in the tightest races, House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson could be its premiere member. The Blue Dog Democrat from western Minnesota is running for re-election against a well-financed Republican, former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach, in a district that that voted for President Trump in a landslide in 2016.

House Ag chair Peterson, a GOP target, runs for re-election

Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, a conservative Democrat in a Republican-leaning district, announced he would seek re-election in November, saying he was worried rural America is being left behind. President Trump has endorsed a Republican challenger against Peterson, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, in a contest that is regarded as a toss-up.

In new ag platform, Warren pledges to take on Big Ag

Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her agriculture policy platform Wednesday, three days before she is set to participate in a Democratic presidential candidates’ forum in rural Iowa. The platform calls for curtailing consolidation in agriculture by breaking up big agribusiness companies, reversing agriculture mega-mergers, and more. (No paywall)

Farm Bureau policy expert Mary Kay Thatcher to retire

The longtime face of the Farm Bureau on Capitol Hill, Mary Kay Thatcher, will retire at the end of the month after 31 years with the largest U.S. farm group, said Agri-Pulse.

California says farm bill should stress nutrition, stewardship, trade

The 2018 farm bill should “promote the connection between food production and food access, while ensuring that we take care of the land,” says Karen Ross, the California state agriculture secretary, in releasing the state’s recommendations for the legislation. California is the No. 1 farm state in dollar value of production.