While the growing list of Democratic candidates for president is dominated by politicians from predominantly urban settings, some still have decent track records on agriculture and food issues. This policy experience could help them in rural communities, a weak spot for the party in 2016. But rural advocates caution that the candidates need to build on past proposals if they hope to steer rural voters away from Donald Trump and the GOP.
Sen. Cory Booker introduced legislation yesterday that would require more transparency and oversight of how poultry loans are allocated by the Small Business Administration. The proposal comes just a week after a report from the Office of the Inspector General questioned nearly $2 billion in loans from the SBA to poultry farmers. (No paywall)
Farmer and rancher participation in federally created "check-off" programs, which raise money for research and promotion of two dozen commodities from cotton to beef and milk, would become voluntary rather than mandatory under a bill filed by Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican. A conservative, Lee said mandatory collection of check-off fees "is crony capitalism at its worst."