Robert Bonnie, President Joe Biden’s pick to oversee USDA’s farm and conservation programs, insisted Thursday that the administration has the legal authority to use the Commodity Credit Corp. to incentivize climate-friendly farming practices.
The top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee is alleging the Biden administration improperly revised financial incentives to lure lenders to apply for the Conservation Reserve Program and that the resulting contracts may turn out to be invalid.
Farm groups are worried a UN initiative to reshape food production could result in recommendations that harm U.S. trade and deter the use of technology globally. But USDA tells Agri-Pulse the Biden administration will be emphasizing technology and research in its contributions to the UN Food System Summit.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is making it increasingly clear that he’s going to make it a priority to challenge the market power of big food processors and ag input suppliers. How far he ultimately goes remains to be seen. But he’s getting plenty of encouragement from both sides of Capitol Hill.
Climate and infrastructure continue to be front and center on Capitol Hill. The Senate Finance Committee will debate a package of clean energy tax incentives today, while Republicans prepare a new counter-proposal on infrastructure spending ahead of the upcoming Memorial Day break.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow is working to secure a historic increase in conservation spending as part of a climate and infrastructure package, creating a rift with the panel’s top Republican, who says she is prematurely trying to reshape farm bill programs without GOP input.
Conservation groups praised the Biden administration’s first step in conserving 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030, but the nation’s largest farm group said the initiative still lacks specifics, and a key farm-state senator said he was worried about removing too much land from production.