Federal

Tightening USDA’s budget

From DTN The U.S. Department of Agriculture would take a $4.7 billion cut in discretionary programs next year under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, or about a 21 percent cut from 2017 spending levels. The budget blueprint released Thursday by the White House proposes a $17.9 billion discretionary budget at USDA, down from $22.6 billion for the current budget year. The ... Read More »

Lesson #5: Coalitions key for conservation, crop insurance and farm program success

From Agri-Pulse It’s a time-honored tradition for any legislative advocate to look for partners who can align politically. Over the history of U.S. farm bills – dating back to the 1930s – the “traditional” farm organizations have aligned with a wide variety of other special interest organizations, ranging from labor unions to nutrition advocates and conservation groups. But as attacks ... Read More »

An aggressive trade policy agenda for 2017

By Ben Conner Director of Policy for U.S. Wheat Associates  March 1, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office released the President’s Trade Policy Agenda for 2017. This document lays out the key trade policy principles and objectives of the Trump Administration. Probably the best word to describe this agenda is aggressive. Some might have expected a word like transformative or even cataclysmic, ... Read More »

Linking farm, food programs is crucial to farm bill success

From Agri-Pulse This is #4 in Agri-Pulse’s series on farm bill lessons. The Republican speaker of the House is committed to reforming welfare programs – including food assistance – to fulfill a campaign promise. But farm-state lawmakers are worried about holding together a fragile urban-rural coalition long seen critical to passing a new farm bill. That could be 2017, but ... Read More »

Six weeks later, senators question delay on Ag pick

From the Capital Press President Donald Trump tapped former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be his agriculture secretary six weeks ago, but the administration still hasn’t formally provided the Senate with the paperwork for the nomination. The delay is frustrating farm-state senators, who represent many of the core voters who helped elect Trump. Read the rest of the story here. Read More »

Trump orders a redo on WOTUS

From Agri-Pulse President Donald Trump has issued an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider their controversial Waters of the U.S. rule and narrowly interpret their jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Trump signed the order Tuesday in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in front of about 25 people, including Vice President Mike Pence, First Lady Melania ... Read More »

Lesson #3: Regional divides make writing a farm bill more of a gamble

From Agri-Pulse When Sen. Debbie Stabenow sat at the helm of the Senate Committee on Agriculture for the first time in 2011, there was a row of seats filled by ranking member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and other Republican senators on her left. Democrats lined up in chairs on the right. Staff filled in all along the back walls of the ... Read More »

Farmers: Protect conservation, crop insurance but tweak commodity programs

From Agri-Pulse The Senate Agriculture Committee launched its hearings on the new farm bill, hearing from farmers in Kansas who appealed for changes to some commodity programs, new support for cotton growers and continued funding for conservation. The farmers also expressed opposition to means testing or other restrictions on crop insurance and said that EPA restrictions on pesticides threatened to ... Read More »

Senate kicks off farm bill hearings in Kansas

From NAWG Today the Senate Agriculture Committee held its first farm bill hearing in Manhattan, Kan. Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) heard from 18 witnesses representing Kansas producer organizations, lenders, electric cooperatives, natural resource interests and other rural community representatives.  This hearing marks the start of the Senate’s official work toward the next farm bill. Kansas ... Read More »

USDA sees rise in crop, livestock output amid sluggish farm economy

From Agri-Pulse Farmers are expected to produce nearly as many acres of soybeans as corn this year as growers respond to a relatively stronger increase in soybean prices, according to the Agriculture Department. Speaking today at USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, the department’s chief economist, Robert Johansson, said farmers will likely plant 88 million acres of soybeans this spring, up from 83.4 million ... Read More »