When it comes to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its handling of food and farming issues, Congressional oversight is sorely needed. As the new Congress gets underway, here are four ways its leaders should seek to make Secretary Perdue and his USDA more accountable to the public interest. Read more >
January 8, 2019 1:30 PM EDT
December 20, 2018 10:41 AM EDT
Yesterday—after work hours, in peak holiday season—Secretary Sonny Perdue held an off-camera, on-record, over-the-phone briefing about proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) that would result in major cuts to the program. At 5:03 am this morning the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted its new proposed rule. The proposed changes come on the heels of a failed effort to implement other ineffective and punitive work requirements in the farm bill. Read more >
November 14, 2018 5:17 PM EDT
Back in early August (or roughly two Trump years ago), I wrote about the president’s nomination of Scott Hutchins to head up science at the US Department of Agriculture. In that post, I argued that Hutchins, an entomologist with a 30-year career at pesticide-maker Dow, is the wrong choice for the job.
On November 28, the Senate agriculture committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Hutchins, their chance to interview him for the position of USDA under secretary for research, education, and economics. Following are seven questions I think they should ask. Read more >
November 9, 2018 9:25 AM EDT
From an ill-conceived campaign promise to build a border wall to the recent deployment of thousands of US troops to confront a non-existent “invasion,” radical immigration policy has been a hallmark of the Trump presidency. The administration has introduced a baseless Muslim travel ban; ordered a separation of families at the southern border that landed more than 2,600 children in government shelters; and suggested that children born in the US to noncitizen parents should not be granted citizenship. Now, the administration is working to target immigrant families closer to home—at the dinner table. Read more >
September 4, 2018 10:34 AM EDT
It feels like I’ve been thinking about the 2018 farm bill forever, but we may have finally reached the beginning of the end. Tomorrow, an unusually large group of 56 (!) negotiators from the House and Senate are expected to shoehorn themselves into a room on Capitol Hill to begin the formal process of reconciling two very different visions of our food and farm system.
What happens next will either help small and midsize farmers thrive, put more healthy food on the dinner tables of our most vulnerable neighbors, and invest in farming practices that prevent water pollution and build healthy soil for the future…or not. There’s also an unfortunate third option, in which the farm bill process fails completely, leaving farmers and eaters in limbo. Read more >