The battle over food assistance work requirements is picking up with a new Republican proposal from Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., who plans to drop a bill today to increase the age limit for SNAP work requirements.
Johnson’s bill – which is co-sponsored by 17 Republican colleagues – would increase the age limit to be considered an “able-bodied working adult” from 49 to 65. Johnson says that would bring 1.5 million people back into the workforce. The lower part of the range would remain 18.
The bill also would tighten the requirement to receive an exemption from work requirements for working adults. Families would have to have children younger than seven, not 18, to qualify.
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said eliminating benefits to parents who have children between 7 and 18 fails to recognize the costs of childcare. “Who thinks like that?” he asked.
Read more about the bill at
Lawmakers heading to Texas to get farm bill input
Members of the House Ag Committee will be in Texas this week for another farm bill listening session. The meeting will take place Wednesday in Waco. Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania is expected to be joined at the meeting by seven committee members.
GOP Rep. Pete Sessions, who represents the Waco region, also will attend the meeting.
Members of the committee held a listening session last month in California that was attended by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
By the way: The Senate Ag Committee will have a hearing Thursday with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Brazil passes halfway on soybean harvest
Brazilian farmers have passed the halfway mark in their harvest of this year’s soybean crop, and it still looks to be a record production year, despite drought conditions in the south. The Brazilian soy harvest reached 53% complete by last Thursday, slower than last year’s pace of 64% during the same period, according to the consulting firm AgRural.
USDA predicts Brazil will produce 153 million metric tons of soybeans this year, up from 129.5 million in 2022.
That’s despite the poor growing conditions in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state. The first harvested acres there show yields at 60% below initial expectations, according to AgRural.
Take note: The Brazilians are wasting no time with their second-crop corn. The “safrinha” in Brazil’s Center-South region was already 82% planted by Thursday, up from 70% the previous week.
USA Rice calls for WTO dispute against India
The U.S. and other countries called out India last year with claims that the country was breaking World Trade Organization rules by subsidizing and purchasing rice production and then flooding international markets with cheap grain. Now, The USA Rice Federation is calling on the U.S. to challenge India at the WTO.
“India’s policies not only violate their WTO commitments, but also impact the livelihoods of those that produce or consume rice across five other continents,” says Bobby Hanks, chair of the USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee. “It is long overdue for countries that are concerned about the future of the multilateral trading system and the livelihoods of their producers to address India’s protectionist policies through formal dispute settlement.”
USDA predicts India will export 22.5 million metric tons of rice in the 2022-23 marketing year.
Nevada congressional delegation asks FSA for help amid harsh winter
Nevada’s congressional delegation is looking for help from Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux for producers in the state who are struggling with extreme winter conditions.
In a letter Monday, the lawmakers echoed a recent call from the state departments of agriculture in Nevada, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming that asked for assistance with supplemental feed and water, locations to move livestock for grazing and feeding, and help with snow removal and transportation expenses. 
A barrage of winter snow has increased livestock mortality, restricted access to food resources, and kept some producers from transporting their livestock to traditional grazing areas, the lawmakers said. 

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EPA panel to examine risk of chemicals in biosolids 

EPA’s Science Advisory Board is holding meetings in April and May to discuss the agency’s path forward for evaluating the risks of biosolids, which have been widely used in ag operations.

A panel of the board will examine EPA’s risk assessment framework to identify pollutants in biosolids, which are made from sewage collected by municipal water systems. Separately, the agency is working on a risk assessment focused on PFAS chemicals in biosolids.
The meetings are slated for April 5, May 2-3 and May 31.
House Ag Democrats add comms director, chief counsel
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member David Scott has added a couple of new staffers to the Democratic staff.
Britton Burdick is the new communications director for the minority. He was the communications director for Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J., and before coming to Capitol Hill, was the national press secretary for One Country Project, a rural policy and advocacy nonprofit founded by former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
Michael Stein will be the Democratic Chief Counsel for the committee. He had been counsel for the Senate Small Business Committee and was on the House Agriculture Committee in the previous Congress. Stein also has worked on policy issues for the Organic Farming Research Foundation.
They said it: “There’s no reliable pathway out of poverty that doesn’t require work and education. As somebody who spent time growing up on SNAP benefits, I saw firsthand the impact work can have” – Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., who plans to introduce a bill today addressing SNAP work requirements.
“They’re showing us their hand. If we go down this road, it will be impossible to get a farm bill,” Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., about the Johnson bill.

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