USDA to expand enforcement of organic products

Utilizing authority granted in the 2018 farm bill, the USDA said it would propose a regulation on Wednesday to expand its enforcement of the production, handling and sale of organic products. If adopted, the regulation would reduce the number of uncertified businesses in the organic supply …

Conservation reserve program is ‘competitive’ this year, despite lower rental rates

Despite lower rental rates, enrollment in the land-idling Conservation Reserve Program is "competitive" this year, a USDA official said at a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. The 2018 farm bill raised the cap on the number of acres to be enrolled in the CRP from 24 million to 27 million, and Congress reduced the rates paid to farmers to fund the expansion.

Few ERS and NIFA replacements as relocation reaches milestone date

When Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Kansas City as the new home for two USDA research agencies, officials laid out an aggressive schedule to have everyone in place by today, the final day of fiscal 2019. The USDA has hired only a comparative handful of workers to stanch staff turnover that could exceed 75 percent and the senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee says the disruption is affecting farm bill implementation.

Farm bill aids black farmers and heirs’ property owners

The farm bill contains crucial improvements for black farmers and increased funding for historically black land-grant universities, members of the Congressional Black Caucus said on a media call Monday. The bill also includes provisions for heirs’ property owners — land passed down without formal title — that clears the way to apply for farm programs.

House is last hurdle for compromise farm bill

Following a resounding vote in the Senate, the House could vote as early as today to pass the compromise farm bill that modestly strengthens the farm safety net and ends an attempt by House Republicans to impose stricter work requirements on food stamp recipients. House Agriculture chairman …

Status-quo farm bill nears victory with modifications already in the air

After months as an ideological flashpoint, a toned-down farm bill is on track for bipartisan passage in Congress this week, shorn of a proposal for stricter SNAP work requirements. Enactment won't end debate over the status-quo legislation. "It can't come soon enough and when it comes, it will not be enough," said president Roger Johnson of the National Farmers Union.

Congress sets the rules but farm subsidies are ‘a great investment,’ says Perdue

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue steered clear of a farm bill squabble on Tuesday that has Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley considering a vote against the bill because it would relax crop subsidy limits. Perdue said the farm program is “a great investment” that keeps U.S. food prices low and that …

Farm bill would loosen subsidy rules

With the farm bill potentially days away from congressional approval, House and Senate negotiators are ready to let distant relatives of farmers qualify for crop subsidies, said an ag lobbyist. Agricultural leaders in Congress hope to release details of the 2018 farm bill early this week, which would open the path to a final vote in each chamber in a matter of days.

Final farm bill hurdle: White House forestry demands

Congressional leaders are taking a direct hand in the final farm bill fight—the Trump administration's demands for a freer hand in fire prevention in national forests—with a decision possible as early as today that would allow a lame-duck vote on the $87 billion-a-year legislation. Negotiators have resolved the headline issue, a proposal by House Republicans for stricter SNAP work requirements, but are keeping it under wraps until the compromise bill is complete.