This Week in Washington: April 4-8

Congress returns back to Washington D.C. this week with much on their plate.

Congress returns back to Washington D.C. this week with much on their plate. Hearing action predominantly lies on the Senate side as it pertains to items relevant to the agricultural industry.  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will also be overseas next week.

From April 4–5, Vilsack will travel to Berlin, where he will meet with German officials as well as farmers and industry leaders about rural economic development opportunities and to underscore the importance of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

On Thursday, Vilsack will travel to Paris, where he and Stéphane Le Foll, Minister of Agriculture, Agrifood, and Forestry of France, will co-chair the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Meeting of Agriculture Ministers. Vilsack and Le Foll will open the meeting with a press conference at 7:45 a.m. EDT on Thurs., April 7. The press conference will be webcast at

On Capitol Hill

USDA Energy programs: On Wednesday, April 6 at 10 a.m., Sens. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.), and Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), will hold a hearing on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development programs before the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy. The hearing will be webcast live on

Military veterans in agriculture: The Senate Appropriations agriculture subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday, April 5, at 2:30 p.m. to review opportunities and benefits for military veterans in agriculture.

U.S. Forest Service budget: The Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee, will review the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request and funding justification for the U.S. Forest Service at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 6.

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