This Week in Washington: Feb. 29-March 4

Biotech labeling bill markup and more appropriations hearings top priorities this week in Congress.

This week, Congress is set to hold a handful of hearings relevant to farm country. Most notable and timely may be the Senate Agriculture Committee’s markup of a biotech labeling bill by Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) that was originally scheduled for last week.

Appropriators will also hold hearings on both sides of Capitol Hill. The Senate will hold its meeting on the “State of the Farm Economy” on Tuesday afternoon, and the House will hold another one on Thursday morning.

The Senate Finance Committee also plans to hold a hearing on trade agreement implementation Thursday featuring testimony on behalf of the dairy industry.

Read more about this week’s hearings below:

Senate Ag Committee hearing – Tuesday, March 1, at 10:00 a.m. (ET), the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry will hold a hearing to mark up a bill on biotechnology labeling solutions. This bill was introduced to pre-empt a patchwork of food labeling laws across the U.S. that would make it difficult for food companies to comply with the regulations. To watch the hearing live or an archived webcast afterwards, click here.

House Ag subcommittee on conservation and forestry hearing - Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. (ET), the House Committee on Agriculture's conservation and forestry subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Voluntary Conservation: Utilizing Innovation & Technology." To watch the hearing live via webcast or archived afterwards, click here.

Senate Ag Appropriations subcommittee hearing - Tuesday, March 1, the Senate Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on agriculture appropriations will hold a hearing at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on the "State of the Farm Economy." To watch it live or an archived webcast, click here.

House Ag Committee hearing on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. (ET), the full House Committee on Agriculture will review the "Past Present & Future of SNAP: Examining State Options." SNAP refers to the food stamps portion of the farm bill. To watch the hearing live via webcast or archived afterwards, click here.

Senate Finance Committee hearing on trade agreement implementation  Chairman Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) will convene a hearing on Thursday, March 3, to examine implementation of existing free trade agreements with U.S. trade agreement partners. The hearing, “Free Trade Agreement Implementation; Lessons from the Past,” will take place at 10:00 a.m. in Room 215 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer of the National Milk Producers Federation, will testify. To watch it live or view an archive, click here.  

House Ag Appropriations subcommittee hearing - Thursday at 10:15 a.m. (ET), the agriculture appropriations subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations will hold a hearing to review the budget of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's marketing and regulatory programs. To watch the hearing live via webcast or archived afterwards, click here.

Commodity Classic – Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will give keynote remarks to the general session at Commodity Classic in New Orleans, La., on Friday, March 4.

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