Senate bill would require cash sales of some cattle

To ensure fair prices for cattle producers, the USDA would require meatpackers to buy a specified number of cattle on the spot market and through negotiated "grid" trades under a Senate bill introduced on Tuesday. The bill, similar to legislation filed in September 2020, was backed by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the U.S. Cattlemen's Association.

Equity commission will root out systemic racism in USDA programs, says Vilsack

At the same time USDA announced its first-ever senior adviser for racial equity, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Monday that an equity commission would “identify and root out any systemic racism that may exist” in USDA programs. Vilsack also said he wanted to use $13 …

Climate mitigation ‘designed by farmers for farmers’

Farmers and ranchers will have a voice in writing the Biden administration’s plan for alleviating climate change, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday — “a system that is designed by farmers for farmers.” A spokesman said the USDA will reach out to the agricultural sector “in the …

Headquarters at home for Vilsack

Like millions of Americans, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is working from home. "I'm still in Iowa," he told reporters on Thursday. "I just got my second shot" of coronavirus vaccine.

Vilsack brings to-do list as he starts new stint as agriculture secretary

Boosted by a landslide confirmation vote in the Senate, Tom Vilsack will begin his second stint as agriculture secretary on Wednesday facing problems from the pandemic and climate change to rising hunger rates in America. His own list of goals is much longer and each item on it is a blockbuster.

Debt relief for minority farmers needs more thought, say critics

The House Budget Committee approved an estimated $4 billion of debt relief for minority farmers on Monday as part of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Monday, with one member protesting that the aid was unfair. The CBO said due to incomplete data, the cost of paying off USDA loans …

Record corn and soybean crops possible as farmers chase high prices

Responding to strong exports and expectations of a U.S. economic recovery, farmers will plant 92 million acres of corn and 90 million acres of soybeans this spring, pointing to a record soybean crop and possibly the largest corn harvest ever, said the USDA on Thursday. Chief economist Seth Meyer also said farm exports would be a record $157 billion this year, including the largest-ever exports to China of $31.5 billion.

Strongest farm outlook in years, say ag bankers

Farm income and land values surged in the closing months of 2020, lifted by higher commodity prices and large federal payments, according to farm lenders across the Midwest and Plains. With the commodity rally expected to persist, the farm economy was in its best shape in years, said the …

Sen. Baldwin to oversee USDA, FDA budgets

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin will chair the Senate Appropriations subcommittee in charge of USDA and FDA spending for the next two years, announced the committee leaders. North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, the former chairman, will be the senior Republican on the subcommittee now that Democrats …