Congress is launching a debate this year over federal child nutrition programs, which haven’t been reauthorized since the Obama administration successfully pushed through sweeping changes in school meals more than eight years ago.
David Bernhardt, who has served in a variety of senior positions in the Interior Department, was confirmed as secretary by the Senate on Thursday, a victory for cattle producers, energy companies and other interests who see him as an ally on public land management and endangered species regulation.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue suggested to lawmakers that his department could soften the definition of able-bodied adults who are subject to food stamp work requirements, but he declined to budge from a USDA reorganization plan to relocate two research agencies out of the nation's capital.
The Agriculture Department this week releases the eagerly anticipated 2017 Census of Agriculture, which will provide fresh clues to consolidation trends in farming and measure the growth of small-scale and urban production and beginning farmers.
The Farm Credit Administration will issue guidance as soon as next week to system institutions on lending to producers who are clamoring to get financing for industrial hemp, but the commodity’s future remains clouded by regulatory hurdles.
The U.S.-China trade negotiations return to Washington this week amid signs of progress, while Senate Republicans seek to move forward with a long-stalled package of disaster aid eagerly awaited by a growing list of farmers.
The Senate is expanding a long-stalled disaster assistance bill to aid farmers and ranchers swamped by recent Midwest floods, but it’s still not clear when Congress will pass the legislation due to a dispute between the White House and House Democrats over funding for Puerto Rico.
U.S. negotiators head to China this week to resume face-to-face trade talks, and the Senate is expected to consider a long-stalled disaster aid bill amid demands to expand it to include assistance for losses from the Midwest flooding.