Senate Agricultural Committee

The ‘four corners’ struggle to square the farm bill circle

House Agriculture chairman Glenn Thompson declared, "I am at the table" to write the new farm bill — with multibillion-dollar cuts already rejected by Democrats on the committee. "I hope my colleagues across the aisle join me," said Thompson, as farm bill leaders clashed over the direction of the moribund legislation.

Security and affordability will be key for AI in agriculture

Artificial intelligence could improve agricultural productivity in myriad ways, from machines that zap weeds to crop-selection software. But its digital networks must be secure from attack or abuse, a panel of experts told senators on Tuesday. The panelists and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee agreed the technology must be within the financial grasp of farmers, possibly with the help of USDA cost-sharing funds.

SNAP error rate soars to highest in years

The error rate of SNAP over- and underpayments — 11.54 percent — "is unacceptable and threatens the integrity of the program," said the leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture committees, who oversee food stamps. The error rate in fiscal 2022 was the highest in years and 4 points higher than before the pandemic.

‘Early stages’ of farm bill negotiations with House, says Boozman

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell all but ruled out new funding for the 2023 farm bill on Tuesday while the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee said "we're in the early stages of negotiations with the House" on the legislation. Neither committee has taken a step in public to write a successor to the 2018 farm law, which expires on September 30.

Time is running out for the farm bill, warns McConnell

Senate Republicans will do their part to smooth the way, but time is already running out for Congress to write the new farm bill, said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday. The 2018 farm law expires in four months, and leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture committees have yet to unveil a first-round text for the farm bill, an unusually late start for a time-consuming process.

Key House Democrat says ‘no way’ to SNAP cuts

Congress will write the 2023 farm bill without harming SNAP, notwithstanding Republican suggestions to restrict food-stamp eligibility, said the senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee on Monday. "There is no way we are going to accept any cuts in this program," said Rep. David Scott of Georgia at a farm conference.

House Ag chairman Scott coasts to nomination

House Agriculture chairman David Scott easily won nomination for his 11th term in Congress from a suburban Atlanta district, defeating three challengers during Georgia's primary elections on Tuesday.

Increase U.S. food production in response to war in Ukraine, says key senator

The Biden administration should encourage larger domestic food production to blunt the disruptions in global supplies created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, said the Republican leader of the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. Arkansas Sen. John Boozman said the land-idling Conservation Reserve, if needed, could provide millions of acres of cropland and pasture "to address both inflation and food security concerns."

Committee clears Biden nominee Moffitt for vote in Senate

Jennifer Moffitt, who would give farmers more leverage through USDA rules in dealing with meat processors, is one step away — a favorable vote in the Senate — from becoming agriculture undersecretary for marketing. Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee recommended her confirmation on a …

Perdue gets $20 billion blank check for ag aid in GOP coronavirus plan

Senate Republicans proposed $20 billion in additional aid to agriculture in their new coronavirus package on Monday, leaving it to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to allot the money. At the same time, Republicans decided against an increase in food stamp benefits, a goal of House Democrats. The proposed increase in farm aid came as the USDA released figures showing that it has only spent a little more than 40 percent of the $16 billion that was earmarked for farmers and ranchers in the CARES act. (No paywall)

Wary Democrats slow path for USDA civil rights nominee

The Senate Agriculture Committee cleared three USDA nominees for a floor vote on Wednesday, but significant Democratic opposition could prevent a confirmation vote this year on Naomi Earp, President Trump’s pick to be the agency’s assistant secretary for civil rights.

New Mississippi senator to join two panels overseeing agriculture

The newest member of the Senate, Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, will serve on two committees that her predecessor, Thad Cochran, chaired during his 40 years in the Senate.

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.

Democratic senators oppose Trump cuts in rural development

Some 29 Senate Democrats, including all of the party’s members on the Agriculture Committee, signed a letter to President Trump objecting to his proposals to scale back USDA rural economic development programs.

Perdue cleared for Senate vote in historically slow walk to USDA

It could be May before Sonny Perdue starts work at the Department of Agriculture, the latest start for an incoming secretary since USDA became a federal department in 1889. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved Perdue's nomination on a voice vote but it's not clear when the Senate will vote.

Senate Ag panel to vote today on Perdue nomination

The pace of action is picking up for President Trump’s nominee for agriculture secretary, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. Chairman Pat Roberts says the Senate Agriculture Committee will vote Wednesday to favorably report the nomination to the full Senate for confirmation.

Bankers criticize ag lending rival Farm Credit System

The American Bankers Association told the Senate Agriculture Committee that the government-sponsored Farm Credit System, one of the three major sources of credit for farmers and ranchers, ought to narrow its scope. The FCS was created in 1916 as a borrower-owned co-operative farm lender but …

Ag panels include some of richest lawmakers

Three of the wealthiest members of Congress, each with a net worth of more than $16 million, serve on the House and Senate Agriculture committees, while the lawmaker with the lowest net worth is on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the USDA and the FDA, according to Roll Call's calculations.

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. “Heitkamp was …

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