Joe Biden's decision to nominate Tom Vilsack to run the Agriculture Department for a second time will give Biden a policy veteran who shares his passion for addressing climate change and already has relationships with critical lawmakers and farm groups.
The recent boom in commodity prices is likely to continue through 2021 and into 2022, with supplies historically low worldwide at the same time Chinese demand for animal feed is growing and a worsening drought grips Brazil and Argentina, according to a top ag economist.
A handful of ag groups have been pushing the federal government to get farm and food employees right behind health care workers and vulnerable populations in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution line. Now, that request has also been filtered to the nation’s 50 governors.
It’s official. Georgia Democrat David Scott will chair the House Agriculture Committee next year. The full House conference voted to approve Scott as recommended by the House Democratic steering committee.
Providing some parting advice on climate policy, House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson said he was introducing legislation that would require the Agriculture Department to take 50 million acres of cropland out of production through the Conservation Reserve Program.
The Trump administration has stepped up its trade war with China by banning the import of any cotton or cotton products from a major producer, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, accused of using forced labor of Uyghur Muslims.
The power shift in the House Agriculture Committee is close to being complete. The House Republican steering committee on Wednesday picked Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson as the Ag committee’s ranking member, replacing the retiring Mike Conaway.
The incoming Biden administration is expected to take a new look at using crop insurance to encourage farming measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect water quality, but the effort will face an old challenge — finding the data to prove that the practices don’t increase program losses.