Agriculture secretary tours Rockies amid farm-aid debate
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue is kicking off a four-state listening tour in New Mexico as House Republicans on Capitol Hill push for a five-year renewal of federal farm and nutrition policy.
Purdue on Monday was scheduled to visit Department of Agriculture employees at the headquarters of the Santa Fe National Forest and hold a discussion with farmers and ranchers at the New Mexico Statehouse.
Stakes are high for New Mexico as Congress considers a so-called farm bill that could include new work and job training requirements for food stamps. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides food aid to about one-fifth of state residents.
The bill would renew farm safety-net programs such as subsidies for crop insurance, farm credit, and land conservation along with support for rural development.