On Tuesday, June 13, shortly after appropriators received a letter from nearly 600 organizations, businesses, and local governments opposing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) plan to eliminate its Rural Development Mission Area, the Secretary of Agriculture returned to Capitol Hill to once again defend his plans for a Departmental reorganization. This week, the Secretary was before the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, which along with its analog in the House, determines discretionary funding levels for USDA and its programs.
This hearing, which normally serves as an opportunity for the Secretary to promote and defend the budget priorities of the President, took on a markedly different tone and covered myriad issues, including proposed cuts to voluntary conservation programs and research programs, Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL), and of course the proposed reorganization of USDA. A number of Senators, including the Subcommittee’s Ranking Member, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), asked pointed questions about the Departmental reorganization and the elimination of the Under Secretary for Rural Development.
Read the full story on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalitions blog HERE.