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.