Senate

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 …

House is last hurdle for compromise farm bill

Following a resounding vote in the Senate, the House could vote as early as today to pass the compromise farm bill that modestly strengthens the farm safety net and ends an attempt by House Republicans to impose stricter work requirements on food stamp recipients. House Agriculture chairman …

Republican Hyde-Smith wins in final Senate race of the year

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a down-the-line backer of President Trump, handily defeated Democrat Mike Espy in a run-off election on Tuesday that tarnished her reputation as a political trail-blazer with memories of the state’s grim racial history. Appointed to the Senate in March, …

White House raps Senate farm bill on SNAP work rules

The bipartisan Senate farm bill "misses key opportunities to reform" the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by forgoing tougher work requirements for poor adults who want food stamps, said the White House on Tuesday, pointing to the salient feature of the Republican-written House farm bill.

Senate will vote on farm bill before end of June, says McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the farm bill and a defense bill at the top of his list for Senate passage before the Independence Day recess three weeks from now.

Step by step, seeking a bipartisan farm bill in the Senate

Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee said they are working on a bipartisan farm bill, in contrast to the Republican-written bill awaiting a vote in the House, but offered no suggestion on Tuesday as to when it will be ready. A month ago, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts warned Congress must move briskly on a bill this spring or forfeit passage this year.

A senator’s efforts to return money to dairy farmers

The recently-passed federal budget contains a major revamp of the Dairy Margin Protection Program, a controversial insurance program for dairy farmers. But Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is still pushing, through new legislation, for farmers to get the money back that they previously invested in the DMPP.

In GOP-only vote, Senate committee approves EPA nominee

With Democrats boycotting the committee for the second day in a row, the Republican majority on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved, 11-0, the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator. The nomination was sent to the Senate for a floor vote after Republicans suspended rules that require the presence of two minority-party members to conduct business.

Senate panel heads to the heartland — Roberts’ home state — for farm bill hearing

Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts says the committee is "heading straight to the heartland to talk directly to producers" for its first field hearing for the 2018 farm bill. "We need clear direction in what is working and what is not working in farm country, and we will be listening to see what needs to be adjusted," said Roberts, in announcing the Feb. 23 hearing at Kansas State University in his home state.

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."

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