February 16, 2021
Will Stafford, CHS Washington representative, shares his expectations for agriculture policy under new leadership.
New leadership in Washington, D.C., typically means new priorities in agriculture policy. Will Stafford, CHS Washington representative, shares what the new administration could mean for farmers.
“In terms of policy priorities, I expect both the House and Senate to concentrate on passing climate-focused legislation,” says Stafford. “In the Senate, I think we’ll see Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow push for her Growing Climate Solutions Act, a bipartisan bill that instructs the USDA to reduce barriers to carbon markets for farmers and ranchers.
“I expect House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott to focus on climate policy as well, in addition to addressing food insecurity, crop insurance, disaster assistance for growers and rural broadband internet access. Legislators are also actively monitoring the drought conditions in areas of the Midwest and West.”
Stafford believes Secretary Vilsack will hit the ground running, having led the USDA for two terms in the Obama administration.
“I think the USDA will push for the climate initiatives President Biden has indicated will be a focus for his administration. There have already been discussions about the USDA using the Commodity Credit Corporation as a carbon bank to help finance carbon capture practices on farmland,” says Stafford. “There will likely be increased focus on offering incentives for farmers to take up climate-smart practices.
“We’re also keeping a close eye on new trade policies,” he adds, “especially going into year two of the China trade agreement.”