From the food stamps bill on the House floor this week to farmland conservation and commodities regulation, there is very little about the nation’s food supply that the House Committee on Agriculture doesn’t help govern. In its latest Special Issue, National Journal Daily examines the changing nature of the committee, the people who run it and the issues and challenges they face. Click here to see the issue
Searching for the Future of Food
Serving on the House Agriculture Committee may be little fun these days, and even less politically rewarding. The fight to renew the five-year farm bill — dominated by how much to cut from the food-stamp program — has been acrimonious. Meanwhile, the heavy involvement of House leadership, differences over agriculture and nutrition policy, and the declining ability of individual members to influence legislation generally have made a seat on the panel less attractive.
Chairman: ‘The Safety Net Still Has to Exist’
Rep. Frank Lucas comes from the tough world of Oklahoma farming, but running the House Agriculture Committee is no easy job, either. Bonus: meet the 16 people closest to the chairman.
Don’t Underestimate Collin Peterson
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. may be one of the most underestimated people ever to lead a congressional panel. But Peterson has proven to be like the proverbial country lawyer who shocks the city lawyer with his skill.
Fight Over Food Stamps Dominates Farm Bill
When House lawmakers take to the floor this week to address a bill that will set funding levels for the food-stamp program, they will be finishing a fight that has torn the traditional five-year farm bill in two. Literally.
The Two Sides of Crop Insurance
Depending on whom you talk to, the crop-insurance program is either an essential risk-management tool that helps farmers when disaster strikes or a Robin Hood-in-reverse scheme that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
The Shrinking State of Farmland Conservation
The number of acres the government idles for conservation is contracting, and that’s caused as much by market forces — or “nature,” as one agriculture advocate put it — as it is by anything Congress has done.
Sugar Growers Reap Sweeter Results Than Dairy Farmers
Two major lobbying fights over agriculture have taken place between growers and users, with vastly different results.
Congress is Paying More Attention to Fruits and Vegetables
For years, specialty crops — generally defined as fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts — have been treated as afterthoughts in agriculture policy, but with each farm bill comes a little more help.
It’s Corny, But Don’t Call the Ag Committee
The renewable-fuel standard has a profound impact on the agriculture industry. Yet it isn’t controlled by the House Agriculture Committee.
It’s North Versus South on Commodities Debate
Differing allegiances and philosophies among House and Senate Ag Committee leaders have led to a House commodities section of the farm bill that appeals to Southerners and a Senate version that is more palatable to Northerners.
Protections, Regulation at Play in CFTC Reauthorization
Lawmakers’ desire to respond to the failures of MF Global and Peregrine Financial, and lingering disputes over Dodd-Frank, could be a part of the debate.
When Michelle Obama Says ‘Let’s Move’”¦
The first lady has made childhood nutrition one of her signature policy priorities — and it seems to be working.
For staff profiles, graphics and more, see the full issue.
What We're Following See More »
Natasha De Alencar, widow of Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, shared a video her daughter took of a phone call she received from President Trump following the death of her husband. "Trump opened by saying how sorry he is about the 'whole situation,' before adding that De Alencar’s husband was 'an unbelievable hero.' ... Later in the call, Trump invited De Alencar to the White House, telling her, 'If you’re around Washington, you come over and see me in the Oval Office.'"
"The new head of the World Health Organization has named Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador for the agency, a move that has startled public health experts...A number of organizations that attended the" Montevideo conference where the appointment was announced "said in a statement after the announcement that they could not recognize Mugabe as a WHO goodwill ambassador."
"The Senate approved the Republican-proposed budget Thursday night, a major step forward for the GOP effort to enact tax cuts. The budget, which now moves to the House, is projected to expand the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Its passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators."