The landmark climate deal Democrats hope will clear Congress in coming days would upend the coming debate over the next farm bill, satisfying demands for new conservation spending but leaving farm groups still scrambling to fund enhancements in commodity programs.
The Agriculture Department plans to loosen up existing Conservation Reserve Program rules by allowing participants to request termination of their CRP contract if they are in their final year of the agreement.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sen. Cory Booker is calling on the White House to reject any effort by the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on plant-based beverages that use the term “milk.”
The House Agriculture Committee is split along partisan lines over a Democratic bill that would create a special investigator in the Agriculture Department to look into allegations of unfair practices by meat and poultry processors.
Conservation groups hoping to preserve waterfowl habitat on more than 800,000 acres of land have proposed a $375 million Environmental Quality Incentives Program initiative that would pay farmers to conserve small wetlands and flood rive fields after harvest.
President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for fiscal 2023 that would boost Agriculture Department spending by 9%, including significant increases for agricultural research and conservation technical assistance and a new round of funding for rural broadband expansion.
Thousands of producers hoping to implement more conservation practices on their farms are lining up for government assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives and Conservation Stewardship programs, as the Agriculture Department touts the promises of climate-smart agriculture as a mitigator of climate change. But these programs, despite their billion dollar budgets, aren’t equipped to deal with this demand, forcing the agency to turn away the majority of applicants.
Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee are raising concerns the Biden administration is putting too much emphasis on promoting climate-related ag practices, with one GOP member suggesting the policy was increasing food prices.
Conservation groups and the Biden administration are betting big that the promise of direct payments to farmers will supercharge their interest in cover crops, a practice relatively few have tried despite documented benefits to soil health, greenhouse emissions and water quality.