The outgoing Trump administration is tapping unspent USDA funding to provide coronavirus relief to contract producers for the first time while providing supplemental payments to hog farms. USDA also is adjusting payments calculations for many producers who have already received Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments.
President-elect Joe Biden is out with a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal that includes some significant new food assistance provisions, including an extension through the summer of the 15% increase in SNAP benefits provided by the COVID aid package enacted in December.
Lawmakers can now turn their eyes toward next Wednesday when Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president after Donald Trump was impeached by the House for a second time. The Senate won’t take up the impeachment before Trump leaves office.
Lawmakers have their focus on impeachment for now, but Democratic leaders are likely to try to pivot quickly over the next weeks as President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Climate policy as well as immigration and tax reform will be on the agenda for the Senate.
A surge of nationwide cheese demand driven at least in part by the Trump administration’s Farmers to Families Food Box program sparked wild swings in dairy markets and fueled a new debate over changes in federal milk pricing policy made in the 2018 farm bill.
USDA officials tell Agri-Pulse they are working “amicably” with the Biden transition team, which is paving the way for the incoming administration next week. On the international front, the transition team has been pressing USDA for details on the impacts of the “phase one” trade deal with China.
Prices for many commodities have risen sharply to levels not seen in several years. But the president of the nation’s largest farm group, the American Farm Bureau Federation, isn’t ruling out seeking additional federal relief in 2021.
President-elect Joe Biden will nominate a former labor leader, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, to become labor secretary. That’s a critical position for farmers and farmworkers because of the Labor Department’s regulation of labor standards and authority over the H-2A visa program.
For all of the historic turmoil at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden is in a stronger position than ever as he prepares to take office. The Democratic sweep of the two Georgia runoffs gives Democrats control of an evenly divided Senate.
Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is poised to take back the chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee pending the outcome of a Georgia runoff, says she would make it a “top priority” to set up an agricultural carbon market.