The U.S. House and Senate Ag Committees are gearing up for the next farm bill negotiations as the current 2018 Farm Bill that covers through the 2023 crop season wraps up. Committee members began field hearings with commodity groups this month to gain insight into what has worked in the current bill and what could be improved.
Three main challenges and opportunities facing the passing of the next farm bill in this story include:
1. Tremendous turnover in Congress means a potential 200 members of the House and 24 senators will have never voted on a farm bill before, meaning education will be critical to these new officials. Redistricting in several states also means fewer districts have an ag or strong rural constituency.
2. The majority of the farm bill budget supports nutritional programs, such as SNAP. The farm bill is considered a “budget target” bill, meaning the final budget can be haggled over, which can be both negative and positive, since it can be the target of officials keen to moving monies to their preferred projects.
3. In recent years, funding has come from outside the farm bill, pulling from emergency programs such as the Market Facilitation Program or the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. This can be a concern because this spending does not help grow or build the budget baseline for farm bill programs.
Read more on the upcoming farm bill discussions, concerns and opportunities here.
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