The House Ag Committee of the 115th Congress has conducted full Committee and Subcommittee Farm Bill hearings over the past few months on a variety of issues, including: the farm economy; conservation; rural development and energy programs; specialty crops; livestock and dairy issues; farm policy and farm credit, and cotton. In addition, the Committee also heard perspective on the farm economy and farm policy last month from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Last week, the House Ag Committee continued its policy work by holding two hearings: one, which covered SNAP (food stamps) technology and modernization issues, and another that underscored the importance of international food aid. Today's update focuses on the developments related to the SNAP program.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue testified before the House Agriculture Committee yesterday at a hearing on the “State of the Rural Economy.” Today's update includes an overview of the testimony provided by the former GOP Governor of Georgia, as well as as some of the issues lawmakers addressed during the hearing, which lasted over three hours.
The Senate Ag Committee held its second Farm Bill hearing on Saturday in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Chairman Pat Roberts (R., Kans.) pointed out that, unlike when the last Farm Bill was drafted, the U.S. agricultural economy is struggling right now. At a press briefing at the conclusion of the hearing, he indicated that trade was an important variable in assisting with the current low price environment. A variety of important issues were discussed by witnesses on Saturday, in two separate panels; today's update highlights remarks that were made on trade, crop insurance, the Conservation Reserve Program, the dairy program, and the SNAP program.
A deal reached on Sunday to fund the federal government through September, did not include assistance for programs sought by cotton and dairy producers. House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R., Tex.) expressed disappointment with this result and reassured farmers and ranchers that he and many of his colleagues "are fully committed to correcting this wrong and seeing them through their current economic challenges.”
A recent article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis discussed the downward economic trajectory that has impacted the U.S. farm economy in recent years. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in remarks this week to USDA employees, noted that trade is an area that could help provide relief for surplus stocks. News reports yesterday indicated that President Trump could sign an executive action withdrawing the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement; since NAFTA's implementation, U.S. agricultural trade has grown significantly. However, subsequent news developments explained that Trump had decided not to pull out of NAFTA. Many in the agricultural sector are already anxious about U.S. trade policy, yesterday's executive branch actions on trade may not alleviate ongoing concerns.
After a two week break, lawmakers returned to Washington, D.C. this week to face a variety of issues, including a Senate confirmation vote for Sonny Perdue to be the new Secretary of Agriculture, as well as a looming federal budget deadline on Friday. While on Easter recess, several lawmakers had the opportunity to discuss the next Farm Bill and agricultural policy issues with constituents. Topics included: cotton support, dairy, trade, crop insurance, and conservation policy.
The House Ag Committee's Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held its second policy related Farm Bill hearing on Tuesday, as lawmakers continue their examination of agricultural programs in advance of the next Farm Bill. Following a farm policy related hearing last week that focused mostly on perspectives from corn, soybean and wheat growers, lawmakers on Tuesday heard perspectives from representatives of the cotton, rice, peanut, sunflower and sugar industries. Today's update focuses on the cotton issues that were discussed on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the House Ag Committee's Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held a hearing to explore farm policy issues in advance of the next Farm Bill. And yesterday, the full Ag Committee hosted a hearing to review the Farm Credit System. Today's update takes a closer look at some of the issues raised at these two hearings.
Last Tuesday, the House Ag Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing to examine perspectives from the U.S. livestock sector. And on Wednesday, the full Committee took a closer look at economic and policy issues impacting the U.S. dairy sector. The meetings were part of the Committee’s ongoing series of hearings that are setting the stage for the next farm bill. Today's update provides a brief look at some of the highlights from the hearings last week.
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.