A big change is coming up soon on the Senate Appropriations Committee with 80-year-old Chairman Thad Cochran set to retire at the end of the month. The powerful position, however, most likely will be filled by another Southerner, 83-year-old Richard Shelby of Alabama.
The Senate today cleared the way for Gregg Doud to be the next chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the United States Trade Representative, bringing key new manpower to the agency as it renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement and chases new free trade agreements in Asia.
President Donald Trump announced today that the U.S. will be hitting steel and aluminum imports from China and other countries with tariffs, elevating an already high level of concern that China will retaliate and U.S. ag exports will be caught in the crossfire.
The Senate confirmed Bill Northey as USDA’s undersecretary for farm programs after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, dropped a hold he had kept on the nomination for four months in a dispute over biofuel policy.
Historically, new farm bills have not been approved in a timely fashion and often expire before a new one is written. But both Agriculture Committee chairmen are committed to aggressive timelines in 2018.