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This week in Washington: Sept. 19-23

Hearings this week include Senate Judiciary one on ag seed and chemical consolidation and state of the farm economy in the Senate Ag.

Jacqui Fatka

September 18, 2016

3 Min Read
This week in Washington: Sept. 19-23

This week, both chambers within Congress are expected to focus their sights on working out the details of a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government when the current fiscal year ends at midnight on September 30th until after the General Election in November. There are also several hearings those in agriculture will want to pay attention to scheduled.  

The funding measure could be finalized and passed by the end of the week if Members are able to come to a bipartisan agreement that would be signed by the president. Following the passage of the CR, Members are expected to return to their home Districts for October recess ahead of the general election on November 8th.

Last week the Senate passed a two year Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) by a vote of 95 to 3. The bill authorizes $9 billion for inland navigation and water projects administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. House leadership has indicated that the chamber will entertain their version of the WRDA bill early this week.

Senate Judiciary hearing on ag seed and chemical consolidation - Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ET, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing to review "Consolidation and Competition in the U.S. Seed and Agrochemical Industry." The hearing will highlight the continuing mergers and buy-ups of ag chemical giants like Monsanto, Dow, and Syngenta.

Those who have been called to testify include the president and chief executive officers of the companies involved as well as the heads of the National Corn Growers Assn., National Farmers Union and the chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

To watch the live webcast of the hearing and markup, click here

Senate Ag hearing on USDA and farm economy - Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. ET, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold a hearing to review "The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Current State of the Farm Economy."

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is scheduled to testify before the committee and plans to discuss farm bill implementation. The hearing will highlight the ongoing struggle with low commodity prices and the USDA's efforts to keep farmers in business through commodity buy-ups and cost-share programs. To watch the live webcast of the hearing and markup, click  here

House Ag subcommittee hearing on Chesapeake Bay clean-up efforts - Thursday at 10:00 a.m. ET, the House Committee on Agriculture's Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Rehabilitation of the Chesapeake Bay: Healing the Bay the Voluntary Way." The hearing will focus on subcommittee chairman, GT Thompson's home state of Pennsylvania and their efforts and concerns in addressing pollution issues in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. To watch the hearing live or later archived, click here.

USDA appearances - On Thursday, Vilsack will travel to Ohio to visit Rural Development investments and announce Community Facilities projects at Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio. Acting deputy secretary Michael Scuse will deliver keynote remarks at the USDA Land Tenure and the Next Generation of Agriculture Fall Forum at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb.

On Friday, Vilsack will provide remarks on trade and the importance of TPP for the agricultural industry at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Annual Meeting in Omaha, Neb. Scuse will participate in a panel discussion on TPP and international trade at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Annual Meeting in Omaha, Neb.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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