The lead Republican on the House Agriculture Committee's Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee, fourth-generation rice farmer Doug LeMalfa, wants to ensure in the next Congress that farm conservation practices stay voluntary, and he also intends to focus on what he considers proactive fire and timber management.
The Senate Agriculture Committee holds a long-awaited hearing this week on a bill to mandate more negotiated trading in the cattle markets, and then the panel launches its preparation for the next farm bill with a field hearing Friday in Michigan, the home state of Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow.
The nominee for undersecretary of natural resources and environment at USDA, who will oversee the Forest Service, promised he would work closely with local communities in managing the more than 190 million acres of national forests to prevent wildfires and create markets for wood products.
During a visit with Gov. Gavin Newsom to the site of the massive 2020 August Complex fire, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack promised the federal government would send more resources to California, and other states combatting increased wildfire threats, to prevent catastrophic fires.
A major but temporary agricultural disaster program could be in for some revisions. The Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus, or WHIP+, provided assistance to producers for losses in 2018 and 2019.