Nominations, Conservation, Disaster Aid, Key Hill Topics This Week

Nominations, Farm Bill conservation provisions and disaster aid are all key Ag topics on Capitol Hill this week.

The Senate Ag Committee will hear from the president’s USDA nominee for Undersecretary for Trade on Thursday, though Ag Senator Chuck Grassley says Alexis Taylor’s pick took too long. Grassley; “And this position being open for almost 20-months is a disregard for trade.”

And what about full Senate confirmation of Doug McKalip for Biden Chief Ag Negotiator? Grassley says; “There’s some talk around here that we’re not going to be in session the two weeks that they originally scheduled. So, this needs to be done, next week.”

On the House side, a subcommittee hearing on the next farm bill’s conservation title, with possible next Ag Chair Glen GT Thompson ready to curtail billions in climate spending if the House flips. Thompson; “Now I don’t feel bound by the amount of funding or to the specific program allocation passed in the partisan IRA bill. Second, I will not prioritize climate over every other natural resource concern, period.”

Witnesses like Wheat Growers President Nicole Berg had issues with Natural Resource Conservation Service programs. Berg said; “The NRCS programs continue to be oversubscribed, with less than half of all applicants receiving NRCS funding, nationwide.”

And Shayne Wiese for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association commented; “Recently, my family’s cattle ranch applied to receive EQIP cost share funding, but after months of waiting, we gave up and completed a water infrastructure project, without the assistance of the USDA.”

Finally, Lawmakers hope to pass a continuing budget resolution, including Ag and other disaster aid, before the end of the fiscal year, September 30, to keep the government operating.