Do conservation subsidies really battle climate change?

The Conservation Reserve Program, which will pay farmers more than $1.8 billion this year to take land out of crop cultivation, has become a linchpin of the Biden administration's climate mitigation program for agriculture. But critics question just how effective the program is in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions generated by agriculture, says FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with The American Prospect.  (No paywall)

House chairman proposes $50 billion for rural broadband

The government would spend $50 billion to assure broadband access throughout rural America under a bill sponsored by House Agriculture chairman David Scott, seven times the amount proposed by Republicans on the panel. Scott scheduled a committee vote on his bill for Wednesday. “This bill will …

USDA is given large role in Biden plan to restore competition

Siding with farm activists, President Biden said "Big Ag is is putting a squeeze on farmers" and signed an executive order telling the USDA to rejuvenate the livestock, seed, fertilizer and retail food markets. The executive order on competition, reaching from the FDA to the Pentagon, called on the FTC to enact right-to-repair rules so farmers can fix their own tractors rather than take them to the dealership when software malfunctions.

After months of waiting, labor advocates disappointed new OSHA rule excludes food system workers

After months of delay, the Biden administration on Thursday released a rule dictating how employers in the healthcare sector should protect workers from the spread of Covid-19. The exclusion of meatpacking, food processing, farm, and grocery retail workers from the new workplace standards sparked an outcry from worker advocacy groups and unions.(No paywall)

Biden proposes 16 percent increase in child nutrition outlays

The Biden administration’s proposals to expand a summer food program for school-age children and to encourage schools in high-poverty areas to provide meals for free to all students would add an average $4 billion a year to the cost of USDA’s child nutrition programs. Headlined by …

Land stewardship would get a modest increase from Biden

President Biden’s months-delayed budget calls for small increases in land stewardship spending, around $300 million a year in the near term, by USDA to mitigate climate change. The administration also proposed a $65 million increase in funding for USDA’s ReConnect program to deploy broadband to …

Stronger protections needed for farmworkers as pandemic stretches into second year, argue researchers

Farmworkers face serious occupational risks that the pandemic has only exacerbated, and better policies are needed to protect them from exposure to heat, chemicals, and Covid-19, say two new related reports on social and health conditions in the sector.

A plan to make Denmark’s food system carbon neutral by 2050

Two years ago, Denmark’s farming sector announced a bold goal: Its food industry would become carbon neutral by 2050 and serve as a model for the rest of the world. This week, a new report commissioned by a Danish agriculture industry trade group lays out a strategy for how the country can reduce emissions while producing significantly more food.  No paywall

Farmers worried by possible new capital gains, estate tax liability

Very few farm families pay estate taxes but almost all large-scale farmers are worried that changes in the tax code will increase their exposure to capital gains or estate taxes, said a Purdue University survey released on Tuesday. The poll was conducted before the White House said nearly all …

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Join FERN on Wednesday, May 19th at 4:00 pm ET for an exclusive, subscriber-only LIVE Ag Insider briefing featuring our amazing reporting team — Chuck Abbott, Leah Douglas and Karina Piser — on Zoom. They’ll be discussing the issues that are top of mind for anyone immersed in food and ag policy.