The House Agriculture Committee is set to hold its first hearing this year on farm bill nutrition programs, while a Senate Agriculture subcommittee this week will analyze the horticulture title.

House Ag Chairman Glenn "GT" Thompson, R-Pa., says Wednesday's hearing will be focused on his "four principles" for the nutrition title: innovation, employment, integrity and health.

"It'll really be focused with the lens of those four principles, so it should be good," Thompson told Agri-Pulse

SNAP work requirements are likely to be one topic to come up at the hearing, which follows congressional approval of a debt ceiling deal that includes major changes to SNAP work requirements. The maximum age for SNAP work requirements increased from 49 to 54 and new exemptions to the work rules were added for homeless adults, veterans, and people under 24 who have left the foster care system.

Thompson told Agri-Pulse after the House vote on the debt ceiling bill that he wasn't ruling out revisiting the exemptions in the upcoming farm bill, despite Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow's insistence that the issue of work requirements is "dealt with."

Democratic members of the House Agriculture Committee who are unsatisfied with the work requirement age limit increase may use the hearing to voice their concerns.

"It's about time they had a hearing," Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said of the committee's Republican leadership. "Maybe they might learn something. Maybe these people who are making these generalizations about those who are on SNAP and those who are particularly vulnerable, maybe they'll learn that it's a complicated population."

The Senate Agriculture subcommittee's hearing Wednesday will be centered around specialty crop programs in the horticulture title. These programs include Specialty Crop Block Grants and Specialty Crop Market News data collection. 

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing looking at agriculture and climate change. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., chairs the committee, while Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, serves as ranking member.

The witnesses will include Brandon Willis, a former administrator of USDA's Risk Management Agency during the Barack Obama administration. Willis is now on the faculty of Utah State University. Also testifying: Minnesota farmer Martin Larsen, Iowa Farm Bureau President Brent Johnson, and Bryan Sievers, an Iowa farmer and the director of government relations for Roeslein Alternative Energy.

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Also this week, the House Agriculture Committee will also hold a hearing on digital assets on Tuesday, while the House Education and the Workforce Committee will vote on the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, a bill sponsored by Thompson and Kim Schrier, D-Wash. The measure would allow unflavored and flavored whole milk to be offered in school cafeterias. 

Here is a list of agriculture- or rural-related events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere (all times EDT):

Monday, June 5

4 p.m. – USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report. 

Tuesday, June 6

10 a.m. – House Agriculture Committee hearing on digital assets, 1300 Longworth.

10:15 a.m. – House Education and the Workforce meeting to consider the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act and other bills, 2175 Rayburn.

Wednesday, June 7

10 a.m. –  House Agriculture Committee hearing on nutrition assistance programs, 1300 Longworth. 

10 a.m. – Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the farm bill horticulture title and specialty crops, 328A Russell.

10 a.m. – Senate Budget Committee hearing on “cultivating stewardship” in the “changing agricultural landscape," 608 Dirksen.

Thursday, June 8

8:30 a.m. – USDA releases Weekly Export Sales report.

10 a.m. – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on wildfires, land management and wildland firefighter recruitment and retention, 366 Dirksen.

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