The Big Picture: March is shaping up to be a big month for watching both farm bill and budget progress. The Senate Agriculture Committee has two hearings scheduled, one on healthy food initiatives and nutrition, and one on commodities and crop insurance. The House Agriculture Committee has announced four hearings in the next month, which includes field hearings to be held in New York, Illinois, Arkansas, and Kansas.
Meanwhile, the Budget Committees continue to work to develop an overall budget that would then provide funding numbers for the Appropriations Committees to actually craft bills to fund the government in the next fiscal year. Both of those Committees are also holding hearings to review the President's budget request and collect information to help them form their respective pieces of legislation.
Agricultural observers will pay close attention to what kind of numbers come out of the House Budget and Senate Budget Committees since those numbers will shape any farm bill that comes out of the chambers this year.
Happening This Week:
Appropriations Committee on the House side reviewing the Administration's request for funding for various programs:
Agriculture Committee on the Senate side holding a hearing on Healthy Food, Local Food Production, and Nutrition. March 7 at 9:30 a.m.
Agriculture Committee on the House side reviewing the Committee letter that is sent to their counterpart on the Budget Committee and expresses views on the bottom line numbers for agricultural programs. March 7 at 10:00 a.m.Agriculture Committee on the House side holding a farm bill field hearing in New York. March 9 at 9:00 a.m.
USDA recently announced a new web link for producers starting to farm, but it also has a lot of resources for existing producers as well. You might find start2farm.gov a useful site.