Senate Ag Committee members used a hearing on farm bill conservation programs Wednesday to examine the Conservation Reserve Program more deeply as Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux touted his "working lands" approach to the program.
Hundreds of agricultural organizations – including one that had stopped short of supporting a previous compromise – are pressing Senate leaders to make time for legislation that would address farm labor before adjourning for the year.
Both Democratic and Republican senators pushed for simpler Rural Development program applications in a hearing Tuesday, saying the current process is arduous and favors those who hire grant writers to help them in the process.
The Senate is heading to the August recess and into the fall campaign season with little sign of a deal on farm labor reforms that would expand the H-2A visa program and provide a path to legal status for existing workers.
With President Joe Biden’s $2.7 trillion infrastructure plan in its beginning stages, western water interests and conservation groups are pushing for massive investments in water storage, conveyance and conservation projects to fix aging infrastructure and address persistent drought.