Political Capital

Alan Bjerga

A Richmond Emergency Food Bank volunteer packs boxes with food on Nov. 1, 2013 in California.

Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Richmond Emergency Food Bank volunteer packs boxes with food on Nov. 1, 2013 in California.

Vilsack Says Delay Not Possible for Food-Stamp Cuts

A request by lawmakers to delay reductions in food-stamp benefits that Congress approved in a new farm bill can’t be met because of how the law was written, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “What we’re faced with it is that Congress has...

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A sugarcane farm in Belle Glade, Florida on  Oct. 31, 2013.

Photograph by Mark Elias/Bloomberg

A sugarcane farm in Belle Glade, Florida on Oct. 31, 2013.

Farm Bill Shields Crop Insurance

Watchdog groups reeling over the easy passage of a farm bill in the House are focusing on a quieter loss they say is significant for government transparency: The defeat of a plan to make lawmakers disclose crop-insurance subsidies. Absent from...

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Daily wage laborers stack sacks of grain at a warehouse in Faridkot, India.

Photograph by Sanjit Das/Bloomberg

Daily wage laborers stack sacks of grain at a warehouse in Faridkot, India.

World’s Hungry Watch U.S. Farm Bill

The farm bill, a Capitol Hill ritual of lobbying and log-rolling that connects farmers and health advocates with the urban poor and insurance companies, has been snagged in Congress in arcane disputes over subsidy-payment formulas and arguments over the extent...

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A sign in a market window advertises the acceptance of food stamps  in New York City.

Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A sign in a market window advertises the acceptance of food stamps in New York City.

Vilsack: Food Stamps as Jobs

As head of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack is the Obama administration’s point person on defending the food-stamp program, cut roughly 5 percent today as spending allocated in the 2009 stimulus bill expired. With the program threatened with more...

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A farmer is reflected in a window looking onto freshly harvested soft red winter wheat in the cab of his combine in Kirkland, Illinois, on July 17, 2013.

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A farmer is reflected in a window looking onto freshly harvested soft red winter wheat in the cab of his combine in Kirkland, Illinois, on July 17, 2013.

City Dwellers Get $24 Million From Farm Program That Won’t Die

Congress’s inability to pass a new farm law may frustrate farmers. Still, it may not be a bad deal for some city-dwellers, who received $24 million last year from a program that keeps getting extended until a new law is passed. Residents of...

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Immigrant workers package freshly-picked organic persimmons in Santa Cruz, California.

Photograph by Ryan Anson/Bloomberg

Immigrant workers package freshly-picked organic persimmons in Santa Cruz, California.

Too Few Hands for Hand-Picked Fruit?

Bill Landreth bought a second tractor as Berries by Bill Inc. sold more melons, sweet corn and strawberries. He also expanded to 200 the acreage of his Newport, Arkansas, farm devoted to the fruits and vegetables, though that’s where the growth...

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A tractor cuts down corn in a field designated as zero yield on a farm in Vigo County near Terre Haute, Indiana.

Photograph by Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

A tractor cuts down corn in a field designated as zero yield on a farm in Vigo County near Terre Haute, Indiana.

House Panel Scraps Draft Farm Bill

Written with Derek Wallbank The House Agriculture Committee canceled tentative plans to draft a new farm bill after its top Democrat sought a commitment that the legislation will be considered by the full chamber, according to committee leaders. “There’s going to be no...

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Dairy cows stand in the milking parlor at a farm in Illinois.

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Dairy cows stand in the milking parlor at a farm in Illinois.

Milk Producers: Congress Still Pushing Farmers Over Cliff

The National Milk Producers Federation isn’t very happy about the nine-month extension of current farm policy included in the Senate-passed version of the budget deal, calling it “a devastating blow to the nation’s dairy farmers.” “After months of inaction, the...

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Without a new farm bill, old legislation would gradually take effect in 2013, beginning with dairy programs in January. Photograph by Paul Sisul

Without a new farm bill, old legislation would gradually take effect in 2013, beginning with dairy programs in January. Photograph by Paul Sisul

Farm Bill Stalemate: No Crying Over Doubled Milk Prices Next Year

The top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee says the $1-trillion agriculture bill the panel approved in July is out of his hands — and if milk prices double next year because Congress doesn’t act, it has only itself to...

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