What is causing the delay with the farm bill, and how are these issues being addressed?

The bipartisan agreement typically needed to advance a farm bill has been complicated by Congressional disagreements on sources of funds needed for policy changes.

The three major issues throughout negotiations have been related to:

  • Funding and eligibility for SNAP.
  • Reallocation of climate-related conservation program funds from the Inflation Reduction Act to the farm bill’s conservation title.
  • Restricting the agriculture secretary’s discretionary use of Commodity Credit Corporation funds.

Passing a workable farm bill requires bipartisan support, so there is a lot of behind-the-scenes push and pull. This is not uncommon, and several previous farm bills have gone beyond normal deadlines to be completed.

How will the farm bill impact Texans?

Texas producers will benefit from the new farm bill’s key provisions, especially those relating to strengthening the farm and ranch safety net.

Texas farmers also have some unique challenges they hope to address through the farm bill, such as including provisions to help address the overpopulation of feral hogs and eradication of cattle fever ticks.

Another desired provision would indemnify ranchers for the loss of unborn livestock due to natural disasters, such as the wildfires that swept across the Texas Panhandle earlier this year.

How are agricultural commodity groups reacting to the current proposed farm bill?

Overall, commodity groups and the ag industry have been very positive toward the current House iteration of the farm bill. Many national agricultural commodity groups have issued statements giving their perspectives on the farm bill, with some voicing a few concerns over how it may impact their particular industry.

A major issue for all commodity groups is addressing inadequacies in the farm safety net. Over the past few years, the safety net has lagged in its ability to protect American farmers and ranchers, primarily due to significant increases in the costs of agricultural inputs and equipment.

Most commodity groups also appreciate that the bill accommodates more investment in the future of agriculture and recognizes its vital role in feeding and clothing a growing population. The current version of the farm bill also provides new and better tools and resources for farmers, ranchers and rural community residents.

What’s next, and how will the AFPC be involved?

Though passage by the committee means the current version of the farm bill is ready to be voted on by the entire House, there is still uncertainty as to whether the bill will be brought to the floor.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will soon unveil its draft text, which will then set in motion the process of negotiating the final passage of the farm bill.

The current farm bill has been extended to September, so we hope something can be finalized by then. With that said, it won’t be a surprise if passage waits until after the election or even slips into next year.

In the meantime, the AFPC will remain involved throughout the entire process to make suggestions and serve as a sounding board for proposed changes. The farm bill is a vital piece of legislation that ultimately affects everyone in the U.S. and beyond, and we will be involved until the final bill is passed.