**As Congress meets to consider budget proposals and annual spending bills, a group of 59 farm, environmental, credit and young farmers organizations circulated letters Tuesday, urging them to “protect crop insurance and recognize its central importance to farmers, lenders and all of rural America.”

The letters, which were sent to all members of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, as well as Office of Management and Budget Director Mike Mulvaney and Ag Secretary-designate Sonny Perdue, aimed to remind recipients that the 2014 farm bill made a multitude of cuts to the farm safety net, which includes commodity payments and crop insurance.

**Meanwhile, Ag Secretary-designate Sonny Perdue has promised to give up control of his agribusiness, trucking and real estate interests.

In an agreement with the Office of Government Ethics, the former Georgia governor promised to move the assets into a blind trust, which he and his wife will not benefit from nor control.

His business interests are held as Perdue Business Holdings, which is in turn controlled by two separate family trusts.

**Former Congressman “Kika” de la Garza, who represented the 15th District of Texas for 32 years, died today at the age of 89.

The colorful South Texas Democrat became chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in 1981, near the beginning of a prolonged and difficult U.S. farm crisis. He remained at the helm until Republicans took control of the House of Representatives after the 1994 elections.

He retired at the end of 1996.

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