Trade war expands government role in agriculture, despite decades of free-market reforms

The multibillion-dollar Trump tariff payments to farmers, born of the China-U.S. trade war, are expanding the government role in agriculture despite decades of free-market reforms that told farmers to pursue profits rather than subsidies. “I don’t like to see that precedent but …

Trump injects food stamp limits into signing of ‘really tremendous’ farm bill

At the same time President Trump signed into law the 2018 farm bill, which modestly strengthens the farm safety net, loosens farm subsidy rules, and legalizes industrial hemp, he announced “immediate action on welfare reform” on Thursday through stricter enforcement of time limits on food stamps to able-bodied adults.

Farm bill 2018: Late, yes, but not as late as some

The 2018 farm bill, which President Trump could sign into law as early as next week, is more than two months overdue, largely because of a fight over SNAP work requirements that led Rep. Collin Peterson to say, “I don’t know if we’re ever going to get another one done.” The past decade has provided ample reason for doubt.

Congress sets the rules but farm subsidies are ‘a great investment,’ says Perdue

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue steered clear of a farm bill squabble on Tuesday that has Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley considering a vote against the bill because it would relax crop subsidy limits. Perdue said the farm program is “a great investment” that keeps U.S. food prices low …

Trump tariff payments flow to cities as well as rural mailboxes

More than 1,100 of the early recipients of Trump tariff payments intended to offset the impact of the trade war on U.S. agriculture actually live in America’s largest cities, said the Environmental Working Group on Monday. The bailout recipients are the latest “city slickers” identified by the EWG for collecting federal subsidies without living or working on a farm. (No paywall)

Silence inside farm bill negotiations, while outsiders call for reform

Working under the gun, Senate and House negotiators are exchanging proposals to resolve intractable disputes over the 2018 farm bill, with the hope of agreement as early as today. While the “four corners,” as the four lead negotiators are known, are working in private, there are last-minute calls from outside for reform.

Farm bill easily clears procedural hurdle in Senate

In a procedural vote, senators indicated strong support on Monday for the bipartisan farm bill written by Senate Agriculture Committee leaders, voting 89-3 to open debate on the $87-billion-a-year legislation.

Razor-thin House victory for GOP package of welfare reform in a farm bill

On its second try and by a two-vote margin, the Republican-controlled House passed the GOP-drafted farm bill on Thursday. The bill imposes stricter work requirements on 7 million people to qualify for food stamps while easing eligibility rules for farm subsidies.

Grassley’s farm bill challenge: Limit subsidies to actual farmers

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to tighten down access to U.S. farm subsidies, a lightning-rod issue as Congress tries to update ag and public nutrition programs this year. "Why can't we require farmers who collect huge sums of money from the government to actually work on the farm?" said Grassley on Monday, arguing for a "hard" cap of $125,000 per person in annual payments and restricting payments to farmers, their spouses and one manager per farm, regardless of size.