Washington, D.C. Update

February 23, 2024

Agriculture Secretary Testifies Before House Agriculture Committee

On Wednesday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack testified before the House Agriculture Committee. Republicans and Democrats agreed on the importance of a passing bipartisan farm bill. Republicans focused on the struggles faced by farmers due to fractured supply chains, high input costs, inflation, natural disasters, volatile markets, and labor shortages. They also discussed the ramifications of California’s Proposition 12, the rollout of the Emergency Relief Program for 2022, and funding for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and other nutrition assistance programs. Democrats focused on continuing support for nutrition programs and preserving investments in conservation programs through the Inflation Reduction Act. Secretary Vilsack advocated for preserving the flexibility of the Secretary of Agriculture to use the Commodity Credit Corporation.

Other topics discussed include labor challenges, wildfire and forest management, direct and guaranteed loan programs, foreign farmland purchases, and the impacts of tariffs on agricultural products. Secretary Vilsack is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee on February 28.

A summary of the hearing can be found here and a recording of the hearing can be found here.

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