Committee on Agriculture

Frank Lucas

Subcommittee Examines Ways to Expand Rural America's Access to Broadband

2014/07/29

MEDIA CONTACT: Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184tamara.hinton@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON – Rep. Rick Crawford, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, today held a public hearing to examine ways to improve and expand broadband in rural areas and how to better coordinate future investments between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The Agricultural Act of 2014, otherwise known as the farm bill, ensures funding for Rural Utilities Service (RUS) broadband programs is targeted to the most rural areas, sets a minimum acceptable speed for broadband service, and requires greater transparency and reporting in the program. The FCC provides direct support to offset the costs of providing service in rural areas through the Universal Service Fund (USF). Although the USF was not designed to support broadband investments, the FCC has undertaken a number of reforms to fund broadband services that can support data, video, and voice service together. Members of the Subcommittee discussed how these efforts between USDA and FCC can be better coordinated so that rural communities have greater access to services that are readily available in larger communities and urban areas.

"Rural broadband is a critical, 21st century investment for areas like the First District of Arkansas. The financial challenges that come with building out these services for rural areas should be a focus of lawmakers in both rural and urban areas of our country.  I believe that the information provided at today’s hearing will serve as a springboard to more discussions about how to increase broadband access to the area that needs it most – rural America," said Chairman Rick Crawford (R-AR-01).

"Whether it’s in my home state of California or anywhere across the country, where you live should not determine the kinds of services that are available to you. Federal programs and private service providers have made great strides in deploying broadband but I believe that the federal government, broadband providers and public institutions still have a lot of work to do in bridging the divide between the haves and have-nots when it comes to broadband in rural America," said Ranking Member Jim Costa (D-CA-16).

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below. The archived webcast is linked here.

Witness List:

Panel I

Mr. John Padalino, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Panel II

Mr. Lang Zimmerman, Vice President, Yelcot Communications, Mountain Home, Arkansas; on behalf of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association

Mr. David Cohen, Vice President, Policy, USTelecom, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Robert L. Hance, President and CEO, Midwest Energy Cooperative, Cassopolis, Michigan; on behalf of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Mr. Christopher Guttman-McCabe, Executive Vice President, CTIA – The Wireless Association, Washington, D.C.

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Subcommittee Examines Food Stamp Program

2014/07/24

MEDIA CONTACT: Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184tamara.hinton@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON – Rep. Steve King, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition, today held a public hearing to examine the role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in relation to other federal assistance programs. SNAP is designed primarily to increase the food purchasing power of eligible low-income households to help them buy a nutritional, low-cost diet. SNAP benefits are fully financed by the federal government; administrative costs are shared between state governments and the federal government.

In recent years, the cost of the program has increased from $37.6 billion in 2008 to nearly $80 billion in 2013. Likewise, participation in the program has grown from 28.2 million participants in 2008 to 47.6 million in 2013. Subcommittee Members used the hearing to learn more about the program, including how it addresses hunger, how it is linked to other federal programs, and how opportunities or barriers impact the ability of low-income families to secure employment and job training to lift them out of poverty and off of SNAP.

"No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, we can all agree on the importance of SNAP in helping those in need. However, with soaring deficits and an out-of-control national debt, we must be mindful of this grave fiscal situation. We, as Members of Congress, have a responsibility to the American people to oversee federal programs paid for by the taxpayer to ensure that they are operating in the most efficient, cost-effective manner," said Chairman Steve King (R-IA-04).

"As Members of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition, it is imperative that we take the time to fully understand the intricacies of SNAP and I hope this is an issue we can continue to explore as we look ahead to the next farm bill. SNAP is a powerful anti-poverty program that has been efficient, effective and highly responsive to need. Statistics show that it is operating as it should – providing a supplemental source of funds to assist families with food purchases during tough times," said Ranking Member Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11).

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below. The archived webcast is linked here.

Witness List:

Panel I

Ms. Sidonie Squier, Secretary, New Mexico Human Services Department, Santa Fe, New Mexico; on behalf of the Secretary's Innovation Group

Mr. Robert Doar, Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Stacy Dean, Vice President for Food Assistance Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Washington, D.C.

 

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To review the impact of enforcement activities by the Department of Labor on specialty crop growers

2014/07/22

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 10:00 a.m. 1300 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture – Public Hearing RE: To review the impact of enforcement activities by the Department of Labor on specialty crop growers  

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Coordinating Future Investments in Broadband

2014/07/22

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 10:00 a.m. 1300 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit – Public Hearing RE: Coordinating future investments in broadband

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Members Request Ag Department Report on Cost & Feasibility of Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation Measures

2014/07/22

MEDIA CONTACT: Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184tamara.hinton@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (OK-03), House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04), and 12 Members of Congress recently sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking for a copy of a report, as required by law, on the cost and effectiveness of the Department’s conservation measures for the lesser prairie chicken.

The Agricultural Act Conference Report, passed by the House in January and signed by the President in February (P.L. 113-79), requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to submit the report within 90 days.  More than 150 days have elapsed, and the Department has not provided a copy of the report to Congress.

This report is perhaps even more important now, following the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) decision in March 2014 to list the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In our view, it is unfortunate that this listing, driven by the Department of the Interior's settlement deadline negotiated with certain groups, proceeded despite the FWS' approval last fall of a comprehensive five-state rangewide plan that is already demonstrating positive results for the lesser prairie chicken,” wrote the Members in the letter.  “We request that your Department provide this report immediately to appropriate Committees as required by the law, so that millions of private landowners, states and other stakeholders that are investing significant resources for conservation of this species can ensure that the cost and effectiveness of federal programs are being properly accounted for, and to provide Congress information it requested prior to the listing.”

Click here to read a full copy of the letter. 

 

 

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To examine the role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in relation to other Federal assistance programs

2014/07/17

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 2:30 p.m. 1300 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition – Public Hearing RE: To examine the role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in relation to other Federal assistance programs  

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Ag Panel Examines USDA's Efforts Implementing Reforms in the Agricultural Act of 2014

2014/07/10

MEDIA CONTACT: Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184tamara.hinton@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, held a hearing to examine the efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as it implements the new commodity and crop insurance titles of the Agricultural Act of 2014, otherwise known as the farm bill.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 made sweeping reforms to the commodity title repealing several programs and providing producers with an option between Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC). Neither option triggers unless the producer suffers a significant loss. The farm bill also improved crop insurance, which now serves as the core risk management tool for producers when disaster strikes.

Members of the Subcommittee questioned USDA Under Secretary Michael Scuse on the status of implementing key provisions.

"I commend USDA’s initial efforts to implement the Agricultural Act of 2014 and I challenge them to fully deliver on the promises made to our farmers and ranchers in the law.  Specifically, USDA must make it a priority to implement the Actual Production History (APH) adjustment because it provides critical relief for producers who have struggled with severe and devastating drought conditions for the past four years.  Producers suffering from a drought shouldn't have to wait until the third year of a five-year farm bill to receive relief, particularly when Congress intended for it to be available immediately.  Under Secretary Scuse told us today he is committed to exploring partial implementation of this provision and will provide the committee with details about potential timelines.  That is encouraging and I look forward to hearing those details.  It is crucial we work together to resolve some of these issues so that our producers have the necessary information to make plans for their farming and ranching operations," said Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX-11).

"I am very pleased with the hearing today. Under Secretary Scuse was able to provide a critical update regarding the implementation of Title I and XI. It is vital that every valuable piece of information is disseminated to our farmers in a timely manner so that they are able to make the most educated decision regarding their respective crop insurance program. I look forward to working closely with the USDA as we continue to implement the farm bill," said Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA-13).

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below. To view the archived webcast click here.

Witness List:

Panel I

The Honorable Michael T. Scuse, Under Secretary, Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

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Subcommittee Highlights the Benefits of Biotechnology

2014/07/09

MEDIA CONTACT: Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184tamara.hinton@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON – Rep. Rodney Davis, Acting Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, today held a public hearing to consider the benefits of biotechnology. Witnesses included professors from Cornell University, Harvard University, and Tuskegee University, as well as a dairy farmer and mother.  They all emphasized how consumers, farmers and the environment have benefited from traditional and modern applications of biotechnology. They also responded to questions from Committee Members concerning the challenges of relaying factual information about these technologies to the general public.

"It was important to hold this hearing on the benefits of biotechnology because the stakes are high and biotech has a great story to tell.  Our farmers have the vital job of feeding a growing world and biotechnology is part of the solution.  I’m excited for the future and believe the United States must continue to safely innovate through biotechnology to achieve higher crop yields, fewer hungry people and an improved environment," said Acting Chairman Rodney Davis (R-IL-13).

"It is clear from the hearing today that biotechnology plays a critical role in meeting a number of consumer and societal needs. In a world where it is important to help feed our expanding population while ensuring that everyone has access to safe, diverse, and quality food, the U.S. can, and should, be a leader in biotech development to address the coming challenges for future generations.  Whether it is treating vitamin deficiency, autoimmune disorders or addressing hunger, biotechnology has and will continue to play a large role in global agriculture," said Chairman Austin Scott (R-GA-08).   

"The U.S. produces the safest and healthiest food and fiber in the world, and biotechnology plays a critical role as we work to meet the needs of a growing population.  As science and technology advances, it’s important that we don’t pit different agriculture production systems against one another – we should support all forms of agriculture. From the creation of seeds that can better withstand drought to the development of fortified rice to assist those suffering from a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals, biotech is playing a crucial role in our society by feeding the world, protecting our environment and improving global health. Today’s hearing made it very clear that we still have a lot of work to do to communicate with the public about the benefits of biotech, and I believe this committee can play a vital role in doing just that," said Ranking Member Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5).

Biotechnology is a set of tools that uses living organisms to make or modify a product, improve plants, trees or animals, or develop microorganisms for specific uses. Biotechnology includes traditional applications and more modern applications to grow or culture cells for research or to improve crops for food, feed, fuel, and fiber. Every cultivated crop and farm-raised animal is the product of some form of biotechnology. Some of the benefits of biotechnology include fighting diseases, increasing available food sources, and conserving natural resources.

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below. To view the archived webcast click here.

Witness List:

Panel I

Dr. David Just, Professor, Co-Director, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Dr. Calestous Juma, Professor, Practice of International Development, and Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA

Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller, Assistant Professor, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

Mrs. Joanna Lidback, Owner, The Farm at Wheeler Mountain, Westmore, VT

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Implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014: Commodity Policy and Crop Insurance

2014/07/02

Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 9:30 a.m. 1300 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management – Public Hearing RE: Implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014: Commodity Policy and Crop Insurance

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To consider the societal benefits of biotechnology

2014/07/02

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 10:00 a.m. 1300 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture – Public Hearing RE: To consider the societal benefits of biotechnology

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Contact Information

1301 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2171
Fax 202-225-0917
agriculture.house.gov


Membership

Dan Benishek

MICHIGAN's 1st DISTRICT

Chris Collins

NEW YORK's 27th DISTRICT

Michael Conaway

TEXAS' 11th DISTRICT

Rick Crawford

ARKANSAS' 1st DISTRICT

Rodney L. Davis

ILLINOIS' 13th DISTRICT

Jeff Denham

CALIFORNIA's 10th DISTRICT

Scott DesJarlais

TENNESSEE's 4th DISTRICT

Stephen Fincher

TENNESSEE's 8th DISTRICT

Bob Gibbs

OHIO's 7th DISTRICT

Chris Gibson

NEW YORK's 19th DISTRICT

Bob Goodlatte

VIRGINIA's 6th DISTRICT

Vicky Hartzler

MISSOURI's 4th DISTRICT

Richard Hudson

NORTH CAROLINA's 8th DISTRICT

Steve King

IOWA's 4th DISTRICT

Doug LaMalfa

CALIFORNIA's 1st DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Vance McAllister

LOUISIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Randy Neugebauer

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Reid Ribble

WISCONSIN's 8th DISTRICT

Mike Rogers

ALABAMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Austin Scott

GEORGIA's 8th DISTRICT

Scott Tipton

COLORADO's 3rd DISTRICT

Ted Yoho

FLORIDA's 3rd DISTRICT