Trade: On The Minds of Farmers, and Senators

Recall that last month, at a press conference before the Senate Ag Committee's first Farm Bill hearing in Kansas, Committee Chairman Pat Roberts pointed out that, "And trade — trade is on the minds of every farmer, every rancher. And I can assure you that trade is on the minds of my Senate staff and myself."
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House Ag Subcommittee Hearing: Specialty Crops

A news release from the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday indicated that, "[T]he Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, held a hearing to evaluate the effectiveness of the 2014 Farm Bill programs aimed at benefiting specialty crop production." The meeting was part of the Committee's ongoing series of hearings that are setting the stage for the next farm bill. Although not under the Committees's jurisdiction, immigration and labor issues were also highlighted.
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USDA Report Examines Farm Household Income Volatility

Last week, USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) released a report titled, "Farm Household Income Volatility: An Analysis Using Panel Data From a National Survey." The report noted that, "There has long been information tracking farm income at the national level, yet little information exists about income variability of individual farm households." Due to the volatility associated with agricultural production, federal lawmakers have worked to craft policies that minimize farm household income fluctuations. House and Senate Ag Committees in the 115th Congress have already begun the process of continuing this goal as they conduct hearings relating to the next Farm Bill. Today's update looks at some of the highlights of the ERS report.
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Farm Bill: Senate Ag Committee Hearing, Chairman Conaway Speech at USDA Forum

Following on the heels of the House Agriculture Committee, which held its first Farm Bill hearing earlier this month, the Senate Ag Committee of the 115th Congress convened its first Farm Bill discussion on Thursday in Manhattan, Kansas. Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) explained that, "We start the journey to a successful and timely 2018 Farm Bill in the Heartland, because that is where it matters most.." Also on Thursday, House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R., Tex.) addressed attendees at USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia. Today's update provides a brief overview of testimony provided during last week's Senate Ag Committee discussion, with a specific focus on trade issues and crop insurance; as well highlights from Chairman Conaway's speech.
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