Senate names high-power team for farm bill negotiations

When farm bill negotiators get down to business, the 47 House "conferees" will face an unusually big-caliber Senate team, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as one of its members, a rare role for the leader. Senate Agriculture Committee leaders, in cheering the formal appointment of their nine negotiators, used "bipartisan" to describe their approach and take a swipe at the Republican-written House farm bill and its proposal to require more people to work 20 hours a week to qualify for food stamps.

Cramer decides to challenge Heitkamp for Senate after all

A month after taking a pass, North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer changed his mind and entered the Senate race against first-term Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, giving the GOP a well-known candidate in a potentially pivotal race for control of the Senate. Political handicappers rate the race as a toss-up because President Trump carried the state in a landslide in 2016 but Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is a tenacious and well-funded campaigner.

Heitkamp starts re-election drive for Senate seat she won narrowly in 2010

Casting herself as a centrist, North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp announced she is running for a second term in the Senate, potentially an uphill race in a state won by landslide margins by President Trump last November. Heitkamp told the Fargo Forum that she believes there is an opportunity …

Heitkamp’s prospects brighten in North Dakota

First-term Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, “has a strong personal brand and Republicans do not yet have a clear challenger,” says the political tip sheet Sabato’s Crystal Ball in previewing the 2018 Senate race in North Dakota. “We’re giving her a boost to ‘Leans Democratic.’ ”

Heitkamp is first Democratic senator to back Perdue for USDA

The Trump nominee for agriculture secretary, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, has the support of North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, the first Democrat to endorse him. A Democrat-turned-Republican, Perdue has attracted none of the controversy dogging other cabinet nominees. But as the last of President Trump's selections, he still awaits a confirmation hearing.

Forceful Trump to press regulatory relief first, say farm policy hands

The Trump administration will focus on regulatory relief in its early days in office, said two farm-policy hands, who pointed to EPA's Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule as a prime example of federal over-reach. Chuck Conner, of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, said President-elect Trump will be forceful in rolling back regulations, and Dale Moore, of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the regulatory burden saps farmers' bottom lines.

An oil advocate for Interior, who for USDA?

More than a quarter of the land in the United States, mostly in the West and Alaska, is owned by the federal government, a massive stewardship challenge and a frequent cause of friction with local governments. President-elect Donald Trump apparently has settled on Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a proponent of oil and gas development, to run the Interior Department, which oversees 416 million acres. But transition officials are silent on his choice for the Agriculture Department, which controls nearly 193 million acres of forest and grassland.

Will agriculture be among ‘almost all’ of Trump nominees?

President-elect Donald Trump says "you'll be seeing almost all" of his cabinet nominees this week; he already has tabbed three of the four big posts — Defense, Treasury, Justice and State — and USDA usually is included in the second round of announcements. There were reports that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad may become U.S. ambassador to China and Cathy Bertini, former head of the World Food Program, may be named head of the USAID.

Heitkamp to meet Trump; mentioned for USDA or DOE chief

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, expected to face a rugged re-election race in 2018, will meet President-elect Donald Trump today in New York amid speculation that the North Dakotan is under consideration to head the Agriculture or Energy departments, said Roll Call. Heitkamp told reporters she was responding to an invitation from Trump and "I don't even known if it's about a job."

Heitkamp opts to stay in Senate, won’t run for governor

First-term Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that “she won’t pursue a second run for the office of North Dakota governor, ending months of speculation by opting to remain in the U.S. Senate,” reports the Bismarck (ND) Tribune. …