Cattle reformers in Senate unite on price discovery bill

In order to increase market transparency, four senators said on Tuesday they would file legislation to require meatpackers to buy a portion of their slaughter cattle on the cash market. The bill also would create a contract library that discloses the purchase terms that packers offer for cattle, so producers might know if a fair price is being offered.

Justice for Black Farmers bill introduced in Senate

Six Democratic senators announced legislation on Monday to end discrimination at USDA and to expand Black-owned farmland by up to 32 million acres through land grants over 10 years. Sponsors include five members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which would handle the bill. “The Justice for …

Vilsack confirmation is slowed by Senate fight over rules

The Senate scheduled confirmation hearings for half a dozen of President Biden’s cabinet nominees this week but Tom Vilsack, seeking to become agriculture secretary for the second time, was not among them. The Agriculture Committee cannot consider his nomination until Senate Republicans …

Iowa leans for Greenfield over Ernst in Senate race

Iowans have not defeated a Senate incumbent since 1984 but Democrat Theresa Greenfield could break that streak in her challenge to Republican Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said Sabato’s Crystal Ball on Tuesday. The political newsletter said the race “leans …

Senate clears path for P-EBT extension, USDA ‘replenishment’

After a successful test vote on Tuesday, the Senate was expected to easily approve on Wednesday a funding bill to keep the government open through Dec. 11. Provisions of the bill would expand child nutrition funding by nearly $8 billion, including a one-year extension of the so-called P-EBT …

Agriculture eligible for coronavirus injury loans

The Senate passed a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill by voice vote on Tuesday that includes a provision making agricultural enterprises eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, according to Republican lawmakers. The House is expected to act on the bill, the fourth legislative …

As Senate passes coronavirus relief package, farm groups call for support in next round

The Senate voted on Wednesday to pass an emergency aid package that will, among other provisions, expand funding for nutrition programs as the nation confronts the economic toll of the spreading coronavirus. As the bill heads to President Trump for a likely signature, farm and food groups are urging Congress to include the agriculture sector in forthcoming relief efforts.(No paywall)

Senate approves $5 million for ‘heirs’ property’ initiative

On a 90-1 roll call, senators voted on Monday to provide $5 million for a USDA "re-lending" program to resolve ownership of so-called heirs' property, an issue that has vexed black farmers for generations. Alabama Sen. Doug Jones said the issue, which has led to forced sales of land, was "yet another vestige of the Jim Crow era that has lasted far too long and we must correct."

Three USDA nominations advance to Senate floor

On a voice vote, the Senate Agriculture Committee cleared for a floor vote three administration nominations for senior posts at USDA: Mindy Brashears for undersecretary of food safety, Scott Hutchins for undersecretary for research, and Naomi Earp for assistant secretary of civil rights. It was …