Tom Vilsack gets a chance this week to outline his vision for a second stint at the Agriculture Department in which he will be expected to play a major role in carrying out President Joe Biden’s climate policy and racial justice agenda.
The Biden administration’s climate policy is still a work in progress, especially when it comes to agriculture. But we have a better idea of where the Senate could be headed, and the implications could extend into the next farm bill.
The incoming chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow, says she’ll seek to use climate legislation to put more money into conservation programs that encourage growers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Agriculture groups are planning to appeal to the Biden administration for an exemption from the upcoming South Africa travel ban to allow H-2A workers to get to the United States to start work on U.S. farms.
Tom Vilsack’s return to USDA has been on hold for reasons because of delays in getting the 50-50 Senate organized. But incoming Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow tells Agri-Pulse she hopes to get Vilsack’s nomination for agriculture secretary approved “as soon as possible” once she takes over the committee.
President Joe Biden’s proposal to provide a path to legal status for illegal immigrants offers farm groups a new chance to persuade Congress to expand the availability of guest workers for agriculture, but winning critical Republican support for a major immigration bill could be harder than ever in the post-Trump era.
The House Agriculture Committee is adding seven new Republican members. All but one, Texas Rep. Michael Cloud, are first-term members. The others: Kat Cammack of Florida, Randy Feenstra of Iowa, Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota, Tracy Mann of Kansas, Mary Miller of Illinois and Barry Moore of Alabama.