Deal is close to extend the current farm bill one year

The “four corners” of farm bill negotiations — the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture committees — said on Sunday that they are “committed to working together to get it done next year.” The farm bill leaders expressed solidarity following the release of a House Republican proposal to fund USDA operations through Jan. 19 and to extend the lifespan of the 2018 farm law by one year.

Government funding will run out on Friday unless Congress approves an extension. House Speaker Mike Johnson unveiled a two-part funding package over the weekend that would provide money for some federal operations, including the USDA, for two months and through Feb. 2 for the rest of the government. The package would extend the 2018 farm law through next Sept. 30.

“As negotiations on funding the government progress, we were able to come together to avoid a lapse in funding for critical agricultural programs an provide certainty to producers,” said Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, House Agriculture chairman Glenn Thompson, Sen. John Boozman and Rep. David Scott in a statement. “This extension is in no way a substitute or passing a five-year farm bill and we remain committed to working together to get it done next year.”

Johnson said on social media that the House would vote on the funding bill this week. He said the so-called continuing resolution “keeps the government open, prevents a holiday omnibus, and delivers the debate the American people deserve on supplemental spending.” Some House Republicans said they opposed the package because it lacked large cuts in spending. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the convoluted package “is just a recipe for more Republican chaos and shutdowns.”

Rep. Warren Davidson, one of two dozen House Republicans who sponsored a bill earlier this year to tighten eligibility requirements for food stamps, said on social media he would vote against the extension.

The 32-page continuing resolution devoted 17 pages to the extension of the 2018 farm bill and provided funding for a handful of small-ticket programs that were orphaned at the end of fiscal 2023. They included feral swine eradication, urban agriculture, and a reserve fund for overseas food aid. The outlays would be offset by reductions in bio-refinery aid and savings in USDA internal operations, Politico reported.

Dairy subsidies would be extended through Dec. 31, 2024, to avert the looming “dairy cliff” on Jan. 1, when the government-guaranteed price of fresh milk would more than double, potentially driving up grocery-store prices.

Text of the continuing resolution is available here.