Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), new chairman of the House Ag Committee, has indicated that next year he will hold oversight hearings on USDA management decisions. One of the first hearings will concern USDA's animal ID plan of which Peterson has been very critical.

According to press reports, Peterson said, "Bush administration officials have screwed this up so bad that I am now against what they are doing."

Peterson will also investigate the administration's stricter regulations on financial transactions on ag exports to Cuba, which have diminished U.S. ag exports to Cuba. He'll ask the administration to appear before the committee to explain its policy.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent