FAPRI: Farm income to soften as commodity prices weaken
After two record-setting years in a row, U.S. net farm income will decline sharply in the near term, pulled down by lower crop and livestock prices, though it will remain well above its 10-year average, said FAPRI on Wednesday. The University of Missouri think tank said food inflation would drop to 4.4 percent this year — less than half of last year’s rate — and run at 2 percent in following years.
In a farm bill preview, farm-state Republicans attack SNAP
The Biden administration is spending too much on SNAP and is unwilling to restrict access to food stamps, farm-state Republicans told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday. They called for stricter work requirements for SNAP and said, without evidence, that millions of migrants might be receiving benefits. “Absurd,” responded Vilsack.
Put ‘the food back into food aid,’ say grain millers
The 2023 farm bill should reverse the international trend toward cash donations for hunger relief, said the North American Millers Association on Thursday. In a three-page list of farm bill priorities, NAMA said it supports putting “the food back into food aid” programs.
Boost Conservation Reserve, hold steady on working lands assistance, say green groups
If Congress follows the farm bill recommendations of the Conservation Coalition, it would revive a $5-an-acre discount on crop insurance premiums for farmers who plant cover crops. The coalition, an alliance of farm, land stewardship, and environmental groups, also said on Wednesday that the 2023 farm bill should raise the enrollment cap for the land-idling Conservation Reserve.
Key House Democrat says ‘no way’ to SNAP cuts
Congress will write the 2023 farm bill without harming SNAP, notwithstanding Republican suggestions to restrict food-stamp eligibility, said the senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee on Monday. "There is no way we are going to accept any cuts in this program," said Rep. David Scott of Georgia at a farm conference.
In the background for farm bill: How many farms and what size?
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reached back to the Carter era in calling for a transformational 2023 farm bill that helps small and medium-size farmers earn more from the land rather than move to town. Secretary Bob Bergland "issued a warning to all of us about" the problem of too much consolidation in agriculture, said Vilsack.
Senator warns of farm-size conflict in farm bill negotiations
At the same time that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for more attention to small and midsize farmers, who see limited revenue from agriculture, a key Southern senator cautioned on Thursday against “a small farm versus big farm conflict” in writing the new farm bill. Large-scale operators collect the lion’s share of U.S. farm subsidies at present because payments are tied to production volume.
At listening session, calls for greater farm bill funding and a stronger SNAP
Congress needs to modernize the crop insurance program and update farm subsidies to reflect higher input costs and volatile commodity markets when it writes the new farm bill, said the leader of the largest U.S. farm group at a listening session in Texas on Wednesday. An anti-hunger leader asked lawmakers to “keep the importance of access to SNAP and the adequacy of those benefits top of mind throughout farm bill discussions.”
USDA spending falls as White House envisions transformational farm bill
Agriculture Department spending would fall 14 percent in the new fiscal year, due almost entirely to reduced SNAP benefits with the end of the pandemic, said the White House on Thursday. It proposed relatively modest initiatives at the USDA for fiscal 2024, such as offering free school meals to more poor children, while seeing golden potential in the new farm bill for broad-scale change.
More money needed for farm bill, says panel, eyeing climate funds
After describing the farm economy in apocalyptic terms, the House Agriculture Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to seek “additional resources” of an unspecified amount “to enact a strong farm bill in 2023.” The committee also said it would consider whether to divert all or part of the $20 billion awarded to the USDA for climate mitigation to other needy programs.
NFU: Address climate change, create permanent disaster program in farm bill
Congress should give farm-state lawmakers additional funding for writing the new farm bill, said the National Farmers Union, the second-largest U.S. farm group, following its annual meeting. The NFU said the 2023 farm bill should address climate change through such steps as crop insurance discounts for farmers who plant cover crops or employ other practices that increase resiliency or decrease risk.
SNAP is a bulwark for low-wage workers, says Vilsack
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack bristled at the “notion of picking on SNAP” when millions of Americans are locked into low-wage jobs and need help buying food. “We never have that conversation,” he said on Thursday. Cuts to food stamps have become a frequent suggestion by conservative Republicans in Congress in debates over the farm bill or raising the debt ceiling.
Farm bill should broaden climate mitigation, land stewardship, says FACA
When Congress writes the new farm bill, it should include incentives for farmers to adopt cover crops and purchase so-called precision agriculture equipment that more efficiently uses fertilizers and pesticides, said the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance on Wednesday.
Rising cost of SNAP could drive farmers out of farm bill coalition, says Boozman
The price tag for SNAP is going up so quickly — doubling during the pandemic — that it will poison support for the farm subsidy and land stewardship programs that make up the rest of the farm bill, said the senior Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday. “You are going to crowd out our ability ... to use funds on other programs,” said Arkansas Sen. John Boozman.
Report offers options, from modest to controversial, to boost climate resilience in ag
The USDA has taken steps to encourage climate resilience in the farm sector, “but the department could do more,” said the Government Accountability Office on Thursday. In a report, it listed 13 options. Some were relatively modest, such as prioritizing climate resilience as part of conservation planning. Others were sure to be controversial, such as requiring farmers to adopt climate-resilient practices if they want premium subsidies on crop insurance.
CBO: SNAP to cost $121 billion a year
After surging to a record $149 billion last year as part of the federal response to the pandemic, SNAP will cost $121 billion a year in the near term, said the Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday.
Farm bill perspectives come in blue and red in the Senate
Farm bills are typically a marriage of farm support and public nutrition programs, but Republicans and Democrats bring different priorities to the undertaking, said associate professor Jonathan Coppess of the University of Illinois.
Strengthen the farm safety net and rely less on bailouts, say farm-state senators
The government has spent nearly $70 billion on disaster, trade war, and pandemic relief since the 2018 farm bill was enacted, a huge amount that shows the need for a strong farm safety net that’s written into law rather than on the fly, said farm-state senators on Thursday. They called for a stronger and expanded crop insurance program as the first line of support for farmers and ranchers against uncertain weather, volatile commodity markets, and rising production expenses.