GOP farm bill increases crop subsidy ceiling by 24 percent

Row-crop farmers would be able to collect up to $155,000 a year in crop subsidies, a $30,000 increase from the current limit, under the farm bill written by House Republicans and scheduled for a committee vote on Thursday. And, for the first time, the subsidy ceiling, often a lightning rod for reformers, would be adjusted annually for inflation.

Farm bill extension needed because of GOP extremism, says Scott

Pointing to "extremism and cynicism" among House Republicans, the Democratic leader on the House Agriculture Committee called for a one-year extension of current law to allow time to write a bipartisan farm bill. Meanwhile, House Agriculture chairman Glenn Thompson told a home-state newspaper to expect a farm bill vote in the House during December.

Austin Scott runs again for speaker

Relatively unknown but ambitious, Georgia Rep. Austin Scott launched his second campaign in a week for House speaker with a call for Republican unity. Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker three weeks ago and House Republicans hope to select a nominee from nine aspirants this week.

GOP sees a path out of poverty, but SNAP defenders see a scam

Millions of poor Americans will gain the opportunity for a better way of life if Congress toughens the work requirements for SNAP recipients and offers job training to them, says conservative Texas Rep. Micheal Conaway, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. The Republican-controlled panel could approve Conaway's restructuring of the largest U.S. anti-hunger program today, clearing the politically charged bill for an election-year floor vote.

Trump touts tax reform, Perdue says it should include the estate tax

The first overhaul of the tax code in three decades should result in a one-page tax return for most Americans, President Trump said in Missouri, while declaring that tax reform is the foundation of job growth. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said separately that the estate tax, a bugaboo of the farm sector, should be part of the overhaul expected to be a Republican priority in Congress this fall.

Perdue endorses former chief of staff to chair Georgia GOP

The first Republican elected governor of Georgia since Reconstruction is backing a key operative in the campaign, John Watson, in a four-way fight for Republican state chairman. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue endorsed Watson in an email that began circulating on Wednesday, saying, "I do not think there is anyone better prepared or positioned to lead our party organization to continuing victories."

GOP bill calls for ‘disposing’ of 3.3 million acres of federal land

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced a bill to “dispose,” or sell off, 3.3 million acres of federal public land across 10 states — an area the size of Connecticut, reports The Guardian. The Wilderness Society calls the move “step two” of the GOP’s strategy to take public land out of federal hands, after the Republican House passed a rule allowing the government to sell off federal lands without requiring revenue from the transaction.

Arkansas poultry firm is largest agribusiness donor for Election 2016

At least $93.4 million has been donated to candidates and political action committees in 2015 and 2016 by people, companies and groups in the agribusiness sector, says DTN in a perusal of campaign records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

One-fifth of Republican farmers say they aren’t voting for Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is not turning out the GOP base in farm country despite holding a 3-to-1 lead over Democratic Hillary Clinton in the countryside, says a poll by Aimpoint Research. Trump's level of support, 55 percent, is 12 points lower than the large majority of farmers and ranchers who identify themselves as Republican.

Grassley safe for re-election, aids GOP goal of keeping Senate majority

Democrats' chances of defeating Senate Judiciary chair Charles Grassley, a longtime Agriculture Committee member, were never great and are fading like the shortening days of autumn, says Sabato's Crystal Ball. "With Trump now positioned as a slight favorite to win the Hawkeye State, there is no sign that Grassley is in any danger," says the political website, rating the race as "safe Republican."

If it’s a bad night for GOP, Dems may have a chance in Central Valley

Two Republican-held House seats in the heavily agricultural Central Valley of California could be ripe for picking by Democrats if voters are riled by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's criticism of Hispanics and immigrants, says the Los Angeles Times. Rep. David Valadao, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees USDA and FDA funding, represents a district that is 71 percent Latino, and Agriculture Committee member Jeff Denham has a district that is 26 percent Latino.

GOP: It’s ‘a mistake’ for USDA to run food-stamp program

The Agriculture Department has run the $74-billion-a-year food stamp program since it was created half a century ago — "a mistake," according to the platform approved by delegates at the Republican National Convention. The campaign document says Republicans "will ... separate the administration of [food stamps] from the Department of Agriculture."

Iowa congressman, backer of ethanol critic Cruz, draws primary challenge

Seven-term Rep. Steve King, a rock-ribbed Iowa conservative, is being challenged in the Republican primary by state Sen. Rick Bertrand of Sioux City in a contest where ethanol may be the elephant in the room.

Toss-up Senate races in Arkansas and Iowa

Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg says in a Roll Call blog the Senate race in Arkansas involving the chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee for agriculture, Democrat Mark Pryor, is a "dead heat, though with (Republican Tom) Cotton holding a small advantage."

Mississippi Senate result “deserves” lawsuit- McDaniel

Challenger Chris McDaniel, who lost a run-off to Sen Thad Cochran on June 24, is seeking money to "mount the legal challenge that this case deserves,” according to ABC News. Cochran is the GOP leader on the Senate Agriculture Committee. McDaniel sent a fundraising email contesting the runoff results on Wednesday and a spokesman said the McDaniel campaign has found 4,900 ballots with voting irregularities after checking 53 or Mississippi's 82 counties.

GMO labeling and a GOP family feud in Kansas

Rep Mike Pompeo, sponsor of a bill to pre-empt states from labeling of GMO foods, is challenged in the Aug 5 Republican primary in Kansas by his predecessor, Todd Tiahrt. The Topeka Capital-Journal describes it as "a GOP family feud punctuated by slash-and-burn denunciations. This is clearly a race capable of ripping Republicans apart."

GOP attacks the rich guy in Kansas Senate race

Republican Pat Roberts, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, faces an uphill struggle to win his fourth Senate term from Kansas, say two polls over the weekend.

Revenge of the farm bill

Four farm bill skeptics - Republicans Eric Cantor, Steve Southerland, Pat Roberts and Mitch McConnell - are having an ample share of electoral trouble, writes David Rogers at Politico. Cantor, the former House majority leader, was defeated in his Virginia primary election. Southerland, Roberts and McConnell face strong challenges in the general election. Politico notes there are unique factors in each race and the farm bill is a minor issue, if at all.

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