With Democrats in charge, Stabenow to lead Senate Agriculture Committee – January 7, 2020

With Democrats in charge, Stabenow to lead Senate Agriculture Committee

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who last year sponsored legislation to encourage farmer participation in carbon markets, is expected to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee for the second time in a decade now that the Democrats will control the Senate. Stabenow’s return to power was aided by the defeat of a fellow committee member, appointed Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, in a runoff election on Tuesday.

Pro-Trump mob ‘was an attack on American democracy’

The invasion of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob was an assault on U.S. democracy, said farm state lawmakers on Wednesday. Rioters interrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president over President Trump, who told protesters that he would never concede defeat. Biden and former president George W. Bush called the invasion an insurrection.

Today’s Quick Hits

Fewer guestworkers in U.S. fields: The number of H-2A visas for agricultural workers fell 42 percent in 2020, with the pandemic a likely factor, said a think tank. The number of undocumented workers who came to the United States for seasonal work also probably fell. (Harvest Public Media)

Covid puts stress on farmers: Two out of three farmers and farmworkers say the pandemic has had an impact on their mental health, compared to 53 percent of rural Americans overall, according to a poll commissioned by the American Farm Bureau Federation. (AFBF)

Citizenship not required for vaccine: Workers at meatpacking plants — or anyone in Nebraska — will not be required to show proof of citizenship to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, said a spokesman for Gov. Pete Ricketts a day after reports that the workers would receive the vaccine only if they were citizens. (Omaha World-Herald)

Challenges of organic certification: Although growers can fetch a premium for crops and livestock that are certified USDA organic, it can be grueling for small operators to satisfy the paperwork requirements and go through the three-year transition from conventional to organic crops. (The Counter)

America’s Farm Report