Congress faces a midnight deadline to keep the government funded. As of Thursday evening, it wasn’t clear whether lawmakers would be asked to pass a very short-term stopgap spending bill to provide the time they need to pass a massive bill that would include both government funding for fiscal 2021 as well as a big new COVID aid package.
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.
Producers can begin signing up for the Conservation Reserve Program Jan. 4 and CRP Grasslands March 15, USDA has announced. The CRP signup will run through Feb. 12, while the grasslands signup will go through April 23.
The centerpiece of Joe Biden’s plan to help farmers address climate change is a “dramatic” expansion of the Conservation Stewardship Program, but he’ll quickly find skeptics on Capitol Hill and among environmental groups if he gets elected and tries to carry out the proposal.
The 2018 farm bill isn’t due to expire until 2023, but there is a growing possibility that Congress could revisit the law as soon as next year either to deal with the slumping farm economy or to address climate change.
House Democrats are proposing a sweeping plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that calls for major increases in land retirement as well as conservation incentives on working lands to keep carbon in the soil.