After meeting with the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue spoke to the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday morning about Farm Bill Implementation.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is on the committee and questioned Perdue on if Risk Management Agency (RMA) data will be used instead of data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the change is in the new Farm Bill because some farmers were concerned about price difference between fields. The data is for crop insurance purposes of the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs. Perdue thinks RMA data will be used for this year's crop season.
Grassley moved on to ask how progress is going with China trade talks, "Having caused many problems for our farmers and biotech companies. Can you tell us if the U.S. is prioritizing improving China's approval times for biotech products in the ongoing negotiations between our two countries.
Perdue responded, "Not just prioritizing, but pounding it every conversation. This is one of the non-tariff barrier issues we've been laser focused on regarding that."
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is also on the committee, she asked the secretary questions on the threat of China's African Swine Fever outbreak before moving on to conservation provisions in the farm bill.
She stressed the importance of working land programs like EQIP and CSP and protecting resources through voluntary conservation, the Farm Bill made changes to support some of those goals.
Ernst asked, "Can you speak to how the USDA is looking forward to implement the changes that were in this recent Farm Bill and your commitment to ensuring farmers have access to the support they need. Especially for those just getting started."
Perdue says, "We'll do all we can to educate our producers and farmers about the new provisions how they can help them own their working lands on agriculture but also working lands for wildlife and conservation."