Election outlook improves for four House ag panelists

Sabato's Crystal Ball says the path to re-election is a bit easier for four members of the House Agriculture Committee — Democrats Antonio Delgado of New York State, Josh Harder of California and Kim Schrier of Washington State, and Republican Mike Bost of Illinois — and a bit rockier for Republican Jim Hagedorn of California. The political handicapping newsletter said Democrats are favored to retain control of the House in the Nov. 3 general elections but a highly nationalized election could give Republicans a chance.

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.

With change in party, Van Drew vanishes from House ag panel

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who changed parties to become a Republican after voting against the impeachment of President Trump, is the second lawmaker to lose his seat on the House Agriculture Committee in a year. The other was anti-immigrant Republican Steve King of Iowa.

Calling impeachment ‘a mistake,’ Peterson votes against it

House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and committee member Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey voted against the impeachment of President Trump on Wednesday.

Farm support for Trump is highest ever ahead of impeachment

On the same day that President Trump praised soon-to-be Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a straw poll of farmers gave Trump an approval rating of 82 percent, his highest tally yet.

Peterson leaning, Van Drew certain to vote against impeachment

“Blue Dog” Democrats Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew voted in October against the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump — the only Democrats to do so — and they may vote against the impeachment articles next week. As Agriculture Committee chair, Peterson would be the most prominent House Democrat to oppose impeachment.

Keep trade war payments flowing, say ag bankers

The Trump administration has sent $10.5 billion in cash to producers since mid-August to mitigate the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade war, aid that comes on top of $8.6 billion paid for 2018 crops and livestock. “Yes, [the payments] are helpful,” said a Kansas banker on Wednesday — and the government should keep writing the checks.

Peterson increasingly isolated as Dems take aim at Trump

Ninety percent of House Democrats are on record in support of an impeachment inquiry, making House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson an outlier in arguing against it. Sometimes called the most conservative Democrat in the House, Peterson is nearly alone among members of his committee in questioning the investigation.

Growing portion of Democratic ‘aggies’ supports investigation of Trump

Although President Trump remains popular in rural America, 13 of the 32 Democrats serving on two food and agriculture panels in the House support an impeachment inquiry of the president. Among them are three House Agriculture Committee members who called for action this week, following reports …