Booker backs a food box program for fruits and vegetables

Sen. Cory Booker, the new chairman of the Senate nutrition subcommittee called for a permanent food box program to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to communities "in desperate need for healthy produce." Booker also said $20 billion a year should be devoted to USDA climate mitigation programs and that a moratorium should be imposed on mergers in the agricultural sector.(No paywall)

Climate bill would expand USDA stewardship programs

The USDA would double the size of the Conservation Reserve, the government’s largest land-idling program, as part of supporting land stewardship on 100 million acres of farmland under companion bills filed in the House and Senate on Monday. Democrats Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Abigail …

Debt relief is just the first step toward racial equity in agriculture, say senators

The federal promise of $4 billion in debt relief for minority farmers, part of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, is a step toward justice, said three Democratic senators on Monday. They said the next step should be passage of legislation to root out …

Newcomer Warnock will chair Senate Agriculture subcommittee

One of the newest members of the Senate, Democrat Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who won a special election on Jan. 5, was named chairman of a Senate Agriculture subcommittee, announced committee leaders on Monday. Warnock, who faces re-election in 2022, will chair the subcommittee that oversees …

‘Justice’ bill would transfer up to 32 million acres to Black farmers

Black-owned farmland could expand sevenfold under a bill filed by three Democratic senators on Thursday to reverse decades of discriminatory practices by the Agriculture Department, sometimes called "the last plantation." The Justice for Black Farmers Act would enable Black farmers to acquire up to 160 acres apiece at no charge through a USDA system of land grants. (No paywall)

Senate bill would block faster line speeds at meat plants during pandemic

In the name of worker safety, seven Democratic senators introduced a bill on Tuesday to block the USDA from allowing faster line speeds at meat plants during the pandemic and to suspend line-speed waivers it already has issued. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said workers “are crowded into …

Booker introduces bill that would reshape livestock farming

Sen. Cory Booker, who's seeking the Democratic nomination for president, today introduced new legislation that would reshape how livestock farming operates in the U.S. The Farm System Reform Act includes some changes that Booker and other legislators have proposed in the past, like a moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Other elements of the bill are new, like a plan to phase out large CAFOs in the next 20 years.(No paywall)

Booker’s plan: Stewardship on 100 million acres, plant 15 billion trees

Presidential aspirant Sen. Cory Booker proposed a climate change program on Thursday on the scale of FDR’s New Deal to underwrite voluntary soil and water conservation on more than 100 million acres of farmland and the planting of 15 billion trees across the country.

Can Democrat presidential hopefuls win rural votes?

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.

Utah senator’s bill would make checkoffs voluntary

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."