2023 farm bill

Farm bill vote in committee before Memorial Day, says House Ag chairman

After repeated delays, House Agriculture chairman Glenn Thompson said on Tuesday that his committee, "without a doubt, will mark up a farm bill before Memorial Day." Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Committee plan to release a farm bill framework soon after the House panel acts, but Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, cautioned, "We haven't set an exact timeline" to move the bill.

Farm bill odds growing longer, says analyst

There is little reason for optimism that Congress will pass the new farm bill this year, wrote farm policy expert Jonathan Coppess on Thursday as part of an analysis showing that farm program payments favor Southern growers. “The chances of farm bill reauthorization in 2024 grow more dim with each passing day,” he said.

Senate Republicans renew bid to shift climate funds

Pointing to a “once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Republican staffers on the Senate Agriculture Committee proposed on Wednesday shifting more than $13 billion earmarked separately for climate mitigation into USDA land stewardship programs. Under Congress’ arcane budget rules, the transfer would result in a long-term increase of $1.8 billion a year for stewardship, they said, “subject only to congressional reauthorization.”

‘We need a safety net that works,’ say farm-state senators

Pointing to forecasts of a second year in a row of falling farm income, Republican senators called for more money for farm subsidies on Wednesday. “We’ve got to get it right for production agriculture” in the new farm bill, said North Dakota’s John Hoeven at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing.

Stabenow would delay farm bill to 2025 to prevent SNAP and climate cuts

Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said she would delay the new farm bill, already five months overdue, to 2025 rather than accept cuts — sought by Republicans— in SNAP and climate funds. "Tell you what: If we get to the end of the year [and] instead of a farm bill, I have protected nutrition for children and families in this country, I'm okay with that," said Stabenow on Tuesday.

Look outside the farm bill to strengthen the safety net, says Vilsack

Farm-state lawmakers could break their deadlock over how to pay for the farm bill by looking elsewhere for money rather than fighting over existing accounts, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. Vilsack, who has repeatedly urged lawmakers to be creative about funding, said it might be possible to tap a $30 billion USDA reserve to support producers in specific instances.

Vilsack and lawmakers spar over farm economy

During a sometimes prickly House hearing on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged lawmakers to buckle down and write a farm bill that does not cut SNAP or climate funds. Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee said the Biden administration has overlooked the needs of the large-scale farmers who produce the bulk of U.S. crops and livestock.

We need a farm bill for farmworkers

In the latest piece in our series with Mother Jones, The Farm Bill Fight, Teresa Cotsirilos explains why the nation's most important agricultural law largely ignores farmworkers—and why that needs to change. 

The ‘four corners’ struggle to square the farm bill circle

House Agriculture chairman Glenn Thompson declared, "I am at the table" to write the new farm bill — with multibillion-dollar cuts already rejected by Democrats on the committee. "I hope my colleagues across the aisle join me," said Thompson, as farm bill leaders clashed over the direction of the moribund legislation.

Stabenow says ‘the time to act is now’ on farm bill

Farm-state lawmakers should take advantage of an offer of billions of dollars in new resources and negotiate the new farm bill now, said Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow. The Michigan Democrat called for action following a USDA forecast of a steep drop in farm income and a Congressional Budget Office forecast of lower SNAP costs for years to come.

Farm-state Democrats prod House Republicans to compromise on farm bill

Right-wing extremists among House Republicans are seeking a one-sided farm bill when it is time for serious negotiations and compromise, said Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. "Our bipartisanship is in need of a big lift," said Georgia Rep. David Scott, the senior Democrat on the committee.

The farm bill hall of shame

With the state of the next farm bill in crisis, FERN and Mother Jones launched a series of articles that analyze the nature of that crisis and explore the emerging issues that are changing the mandate of the nation’s most important agricultural legislation. In today’s piece, Claire Kelloway unpacks the ill-fated and sometimes shameful histories of the major debates that continue to shape today’s farm bill.

Reference prices are the farm bill mystery and roadblock

Congress is not so much stalled over writing the new farm bill as unable to get started on it, considering the ongoing mystery of reference prices, said farm policy expert Jonathan Coppess. Higher reference prices, a key factor in boosting crop subsidies, are a priority of farm groups and their allies in Congress but no proposal has been made public in the past year to increase them. (No paywall)

FERN and Mother Jones partner on farm bill series

With the state of the next farm bill in crisis, FERN and Mother Jones are launching a series of articles that analyze the nature of that crisis and explore the emerging issues—from racial equity to climate change—that are changing the mandate of the nation’s most important agricultural legislation.

Farm bill debate will continue into ‘the meat’ of 2024 election

The ongoing congressional squabbling over federal spending levels "means that the farm bill debate is going to be pushed into the meat of a general election year," when compromise is difficult to achieve, said Purdue associate professor Roman Keeney.

House conservatives oppose higher subsidies in new farm bill

Half a dozen House Republicans pushed back on Wednesday against a drive by farm groups for higher reference prices in the new farm bill, while analysts said that an expansion of federally subsidized crop insurance could cost nearly $600 million a year. Farm groups say that despite high farm income, a stronger safety net is needed because of increased production costs.

Budget is roadblock for farm bill, says Farm Bureau leader

Agricultural leaders in the House and Senate are negotiating quietly over elements for the new farm bill, already four months overdue, said the president of the largest U.S. farm group on Tuesday. "We feel they are putting pen to paper now," said Zippy Duvall of the American Farm Bureau Federation, although the legislation must wait for a congressional resolution of the prolonged struggle over funding the government.

Stabenow open to reference price proposals, a farm bill obstacle

In a bid to break the farm bill deadlock, Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow said that she was “open to proposals” to increase so-called effective reference prices for all crops in the U.S. farm program but would not accept cuts in SNAP or climate funding. “If we’re going to get a farm bill done this spring to keep farmers farming, it’s time to get serious,” she said in a letter to all senators.

Year-end farm bill trash talk in the House

It’s the Republicans’ fault there was no farm bill this year, said the usually decorous Rep. David Scott, senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, as the House recessed for the year-end holidays. Says you, Republican staff workers responded on the internet.

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