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.
A former chair of the House Agriculture Committee is warning the committee about the potential downside of creating a permanent disaster assistance program for producers. Speaking on a panel at Minnesota’s Farmfest Wednesday, Collin Peterson said it’s important that the program not undermine crop insurance.
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.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a fiscal 2022 spending bill for the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration that includes about $7 billion in disaster assistance and $700 million for USDA’s ReConnect program for rural broadband.
More than 200 groups, including a wide range of environmental organizations, are calling on Democratic congressional leaders today to use their reconciliation package to significantly increase funding for conservation programs.
Congressional Democrats are pushing for a historic increase in conservation program funding that would help pay farmers to address climate change, but the money also could create some challenges for the House and Senate Agriculture committees as they write the new farm bill.
The Biden administration has reiterated its pledge to get input from a wide variety of stakeholders, including the agricultural industry, on how it plans to define “waters of the U.S.” in the Clean Water Act, as it announced a series of upcoming “community engagements.”
The bipartisan infrastructure agreement that the Senate is preparing to debate includes $8.3 billion in western water infrastructure funding sought by farm groups in the region that is suffering through an extended drought.