Farmers are clamoring to enroll in the USDA's climate mitigation programs, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday, while leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture committees made it official: December is the new target for passage of the farm bill. The 2018 farm law expires on Sept. 30, but there is little peril until dairy subsidies terminate on Dec. 31, said House Agriculture chairman Glenn Thompson.
When Congress writes the new farm bill, it should maintain the nutrition safety net that is headlined by food stamps, said Georgia Rep. David Scott, the senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow has said for months that "we're not going to go backwards" on SNAP, possibly the most explosive issue in overhauling U.S. food and farm policy.
Senate Agriculture chair Debbie Stabenow, who rejected Republican attempts to slash SNAP in the 2014 and 2018 farm bills, said on Thursday that she would retire from the Senate in two years — enough time to enact another farm bill. Stabenow, the first woman elected to the Senate from Michigan, is serving her second stint as Agriculture chair and has said for months that “we’re not going backwards” on SNAP in the new farm bill.
Although lawmakers may try to cut SNAP benefits as part of the farm bill due in 2023, “we’re not going backwards,” said Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow at a food conference on Thursday. Deadline for the bill is Sept. 30, although “oftentimes there has to be an extension. So that may happen.”
The first Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the 2023 farm bill will be held in Michigan on April 29, announced committee leaders on Wednesday. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow has said field hearings in Michigan and Arkansas would begin the process of gathering ideas for the bill.
Congress could fail to pass the upcoming 2023 farm bill if Republicans try to mangle the food stamp program, warned House Agriculture chairman David Scott on Monday. Speaking at a farm conference, Scott said the farm-and food-coalition of rural and urban groups was vital to enactment of the farm bill, panoramic legislation that ranges from farm and stewardship subsidies to SNAP, agricultural research and rural development.
When Trump appointees at the USDA parceled out trade war assistance to farmers, they exaggerated the damage in 2019 and over-compensated corn and wheat growers, said a congressional agency on Monday. "This report confirms that the Trump USDA picked winners and losers in their trade programs and left everyone else behind," said Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat.
The chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee called on Thursday for a $50 billion increase in funding for the USDA's stewardship programs to combat climate change on farms and ranches. And a USDA report said forests could absorb an even larger share of U.S. carbon emissions than the current 14 percent through a combination of tree planting and prudent management.
The Senate Agriculture Committee will vote on Thursday, Earth Day, on a retooled bill that would make it easier for farmers and foresters to earn money for locking carbon into the soil and trees, said chairwoman Debbie Stabenow. A sponsor of the legislation, Stabenow said language was strengthened to assure farmers, rather than investors or middlemen, receive the revenue for climate mitigation.
The incoming chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee said she will pursue "voluntary, producer-led" solutions, such as carbon markets, for agriculture's contribution to fighting climate change, with the USDA providing expert advice to producers. Sen. Debbie Stabenow also said the USDA could need additional funding to pay for climate change programs.
Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who last year sponsored legislation to encourage farmer participation in carbon markets, is expected to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee for the second time in a decade now that the Democrats will control the Senate. Stabenow's return to power was aided by the defeat of a fellow committee member, appointed Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, in a runoff election on Tuesday.
Farmers and ranchers are on their way to receiving $14.5 billion in trade war payments on their 2019 production, but that aid is skewed toward large farms and Southern states, said the senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday.
Agriculture can be “one of the most promising and biggest solutions to the climate crisis” if carbon sequestration and regenerative practices are implemented, former vice president Al Gore said on Wednesday at the annual Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research conference in Washington, D.C.(No paywall)
The top Democrats overseeing the Forest Service asked the inspector general on Monday to investigate whether USDA grant money to Alaska was used by the timber industry to argue for more logging in the Tongass National Forest. The Forest Service is weighing a state request for a full exemption from a 2001 rule that bars road construction and logging in undeveloped forests.
House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway would move hundreds of millions of dollars in crop subsidies to cotton growers to the disadvantage of northern farmers, said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, one of the “big four” farm bill negotiators. “It’s not just about SNAP,” said Stabenow during a weekend …
Roughly 16 months ago, at their first hearing for the 2018 farm bill, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts and Sen. Debbie Stabenow agreed to write a bipartisan bill that would be enacted on time, a seemingly simple goal that has eluded Congress repeatedly. With a committee vote set for Wednesday on their 1,006-page bill, the two committee leaders say they are on the verge of a major bipartisan victory.
The leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee have ruled out major changes in the food stamp program, effectively rejecting big cuts to the program before House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway can write them into his committee’s version of the farm bill. (No paywall)
Two farm-state senators want the USDA to explain why it allows crop subsidy payments to the estates of deceased farmers for two years or more. “You aren’t very actively engaged if you are buried,” remarked Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, citing a USDA eligibility rule.
The Senate Agriculture Committee cleared for a floor vote the nomination of Stephen Vaden to become USDA's chief lawyer with the senior Democrat on the panel, Debbie Stabenow, expressing reservations over Vaden's past legal work and the personnel practices he has implemented in USDA's legal shop. A member of the administration's "beach head" team, Vaden effectively is the interim leader of the office following his appointment as principal deputy general counsel.