Yesterday, the Senate Ag Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Sonny Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture. Issues associated with the Trump Administration's proposed USDA budget cuts, trade policy, and labor were among the topics discussed at yesterday's meeting.
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.
As part of its ongoing preparation for the 2018 Farm Bill, the House Agriculture Committee held a Subcommittee hearing yesterday delving into rural development issues and energy programs.
Last week, the House Agriculture Committee continued laying groundwork for the next Farm Bill by holding a Subcommittee hearing covering conservation issues.
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.
The House Agriculture Committee of the 115th Congress began laying the ground work for the next Farm Bill yesterday by holding a hearing to "review the economic challenges facing rural America." Although the majority of federal agricultural appropriations are related to nutrition issues, yesterday's hearing signaled that the rural and farm economy are priorities for the Committee and current economic conditions in the heartland "must be front and center" as the Farm Bill process begins.
After taking a quick look at some basic parameters and issues associated with the 2018 Farm Bill (Dec. 8), and exploring federal agricultural appropriations (Jan. 4) in more detail, today's update looks at the recently named members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees for the 115th Congress, and concludes wth some general observations.
A recent Congressional Research Service report provided an overview of the Agricultural appropriations bill, which funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture, except for the Forest Service, and is compromised mostly of mandatory spending set by law.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) has noted that, "The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) is made up of 12 titles governing a wide range of food- and agriculture-related policy areas. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the total cost of the new Farm Bill would be $489 billion over 5 years (2014-2018). Nutrition programs account for about 80 percent of this total, with projected outlays for crop insurance, conservation, and commodities representing another 19 percent."