• The House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2015 agricultural appropriations bill by a vote of 31 to 18 last week.

    The committee rejected an amendment from House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Sam Farr of California to strike the provision in the bill requiring USDA to grant waivers regarding the school meal nutrition requirements by a vote of 29 to 22.

    Other amendments rejected were one to restrict USDA non-recourse loans for sugar cane or sugar beet processors to operations less than $300,000 and reforms to certain GIPSA provisions. The committee approved amendments regarding horse meat inspection, banning the purchase of Chinese-processed chicken in the school lunch program and vending machine calories.

  • One of USDA’s top priorities is helping farmers and ranchers understand new farm bill programs and what those programs mean for their families.

    That’s why the agency is awarding $6 million to universities and cooperative state extension services to develop online decision tools and other materials and train experts to educate producers about several key farm bill programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.