Voluntary mitigation is agriculture’s preference on climate change

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.

With Democrats in charge, Stabenow to lead Senate Agriculture Committee

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.

Trade war aid is slanted in favor of the South, says Stabenow

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.

Al Gore promotes carbon markets, regenerative agriculture at D.C. conference

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)

Did USDA pay Alaska to lobby USDA?

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.

‘It’s not just SNAP.’ Regional shift in subsidies tying up farm bill, Stabenow says.

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 …

Senate farm bill designed to clear 60-vote hurdle

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.

Roberts: Pass a bipartisan farm bill before summer or risk extension of 2014 law

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)

Senators question post-death subsidy payments

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.

Senate ag panel approves controversial nominee as USDA’s top lawyer

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.