June 20, 2024

Legislation roundup: Recap of recent bills, committees

WASHINGTON — Several important agricultural issues were discussed in D.C. as new bills and committees were formed.

Innovation

U.S. Rep. Jim Baird, R-Ind., led the inaugural 118th Congress hearing of the House Subcommittee on Conservation, Research and Biotechnology as chairman.

The hearing examined the implementation of key research programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, research program efficacy and opportunities within these programs to increase productivity across the agriculture industry.

“Since 2019, we have witnessed the resiliency of the American producer; record inflation, a global pandemic, geopolitical turmoil and burdensome regulations have tested our farmers and ranchers in ways that are unimaginable,” Baird said.

“Our producers answered the call to continue their vital work of providing the safest and most affordable food, fiber and energy supply and we owe it to them to continue taking inventory of the ways our government serves them by preserving the most effective programs and implementing new ways of increasing productivity and efficiency for future generations of farmers and ranchers.”

Farmland

U.S. Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., introduced legislation to prohibit the purchase of U.S. farmland by those associated with the governments of America’s foreign adversaries.

“Chinese ownership of American farmland increased more than 20-fold in the past decade,” Braun said. “We cannot allow our top foreign adversaries to buy up American farmland and compromise our agricultural supply chains. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Senator Tester to protect American farms and bolster food security.”

The act would prohibit the purchase or lease of agricultural land in the United States by those associated with the governments of Iran, North Korea, China and Russia. It also prohibits their participation in the USDA agricultural programs for farmers.

These restrictions do not include U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Conservation

U.S. Sens. Todd Young, R-Ind.; Tina Smith, D-Minn.; Braun; and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, reintroduced the Conservation and Innovative Climate Partnership Act to support farmers seeking to adopt conservation and innovative climate practices on their farms.

This bill would bridge the divide between the innovative research taking place at land-grant institutions and those who farm for a living by helping family farms adopt climate-friendly strategies like planting cover crops and using no-till practices.

“Hoosier farms feed our families and are integral to our supply chains. Every farmer faces unique decisions in their farm management, and pressure from the federal government to cut carbon emissions can place stress on the good work already underway,” Young said.

“My Conservation and Innovative Climate Partnership Act gives farmers access to the latest tools and research in order to be successful while keeping American soil productive and healthy.”

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor