Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill Hearing: SNAP Quality Control Issues

On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a Farm Bill hearing that focused on nutrition programs and the 2018 Farm Bill.  This was the Committee's eighth Farm Bill hearing, and followed field hearings in both Kansas and Michigan, as well as Committee meetings on the farm economy, agricultural research, conservation issues and commodity, credit, and crop insurance programs.  The hearing focused on fraud in the SNAP program (food stamps), and specifically highlighted program payment error rates and misreporting of program costs by some states.
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Lawmakers Offer Perspective on the Farm Bill

Today's update continues the focus on news items highlighting the attention Representatives and Senators placed on Farm Bill issues during the August recess.  As lawmakers get set to return to Washington, D.C. next week, today's update provides an overview of some of this summer's Farm Bill constituent engagements, and also looks briefly at news articles describing the current state of the agricultural economy.
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Farm Safety-Net Payments Through the First Three Years of the 2014 Farm Bill, CRS Report

Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report titled, "Farm Safety-Net Payments Under the 2014 Farm Bill: Comparison by Program Crop," which stated in part that, "Through the first three years of the 2014 farm bill (2014 through 2016), USDA has spent over $38 billion on commodity-specific farm program outlays. Annually, commodity-specific outlays are estimated at $12.7 billion per year, including $7.5 billion for CCC [Commodity Credit Corporation] programs and $5.2 billion in FCIC [Federal Crop Insurance Corporation] crop insurance premium subsidies." Today's update focuses on several highlights of the CRS report.
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On August Recess, Lawmakers Listen and Comment on Farm Bill

Today's update looks at recent news articles highlighting agricultural economic variables, as well as Farm Bill observations from lawmakers, and some of the ag related activities Members have held with constituents during the August recess.  Today's overview also includes observations from Bloomberg writer Alan Bjerga on the link between these current economic conditions and policy perspectives lawmakers may take back with them to Washington, D.C. when the Farm Bill debate gets more focused this fall.
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Lawmakers Hear a Variety of Farm Bill Concerns- Localized Drought an Issue

Lawmakers are hearing a variety of Farm Bill concerns from constituents and agricultural interest groups as work on formulating policies for the reauthorization of the omnibus measure continues.   Today’s update looks at recent news articles that highlight some of these issues, including the negative ramifications of localized drought in North Dakota and parts of Iowa.
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Farm Bill Issues- House Ag Committee “Listening Sessions” Continue, Sec. Perdue Visits Midwest

Following Monday's House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Listening Session in Texas, lawmakers headed north to Minnesota on Thursday, the home state of Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, to host another forum to gather unfiltered input on farm policy issues from agricultural stakeholders.  And members of Congress went west, to California on Saturday, to hold their fourth Farm Bill listening session. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin on Thursday, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue kicked off the Department's "Back to Our Roots" RV tour that is focusing "on getting input on the 2018 farm bill as well as working to increase rural prosperity." Also, the second Iowa Ag Summit was also held on Saturday in Des Moines where audience participants heard Sec. Perdue, Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley, and other agricultural leaders discuss policy related issues. Today's update recaps some of the highlights from these recent farm policy linked activities, as well as some general background regarding the Farm Bill and House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R., Tex.).
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Senate Farm Bill Hearing, Risk Management- Crop Insurance, Payment Limits, Base Acres

On Tuesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a Farm Bill hearing that focused on commodity, credit, and crop insurance programs.  This follows previous Farm Bill field hearings in both Kansas and Michigan, as well as Committee meetings on the farm economy, agricultural research, and conservation issues. Today’s update highlights issues that lawmakers discussed at yesterday's hearing, including crop insurance, payment limits and eligibility for farm programs, and base acres.
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Spending and Budgetary Issues- Agriculture, Farm Bill

Today's update looks at recent spending and budgetary issues impacting agriculture and the Farm Bill.  The House Appropriations Committee this week passed the fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill for USDA.  Meanwhile, recent reporting from Politico indicated that House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R., Tex.) reached a "handshake agreement" with House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black (R., Tenn.) on potential cuts to ag and nutrition programs.  And, the Congressional Budget Office recently released its latest baseline for farm programs.
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Senate Farm Bill Conservation Hearing- Conservation Reserve Program

On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a Farm Bill hearing that focused on conservation and forestry issues.  This follows previous Farm Bill field hearings in both Kansas and Michigan, as well as Committee meetings on the farm economy and agricultural research.  Today's update highlights issues associated with the Conservation Reserve Program, a subject that lawmakers discussed in some detail at last week's hearing.
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