Analyst: Farm bill prospects nearly nonexistent this year

Except for the “lame duck long shot” of a post-election compromise, the slim chances that Congress will pass a new farm bill this year “have become nonexistent,” said farm policy expert Jonathan Coppess on Thursday. The primary reason is the “long-unspecified demand” by Republicans for higher crop subsidy spending without providing details, wrote Coppess, a USDA official during the Obama era, at the farmdoc daily blog.

House Democrats sink pilot project to limit SNAP purchases

On a voice vote Wednesday, minority-party Democrats deleted from the annual USDA-FDA funding bill a pilot project to block SNAP recipients from buying “unhealthy foods.” Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee said the pilot project, authored by Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, was paternalistic and impractical.

Project 2025 plan for USDA: Repeal crop subsidies, move SNAP to HHS

In a second term as president, Donald Trump would seek repeal of crop subsidy and export promotion programs, make farmers pay more for crop insurance, and move all of USDA's public nutrition programs, including SNAP and school lunch, to the Department of Health and Human Services if he follows the advice of Project 2025, written by conservatives.

Second year in a row of high SNAP payment error rates

The SNAP payment error rate ticked upward to 11.68 percent in fiscal 2023, the second straight year of sharply higher post-pandemic error rates, said the Agriculture Department. Farm-state Republicans, who want to cut SNAP spending, said the new farm bill should eliminate any tolerance for overpayments by states, which administer SNAP.

SNAP costs fall by 5 percent in new CBO estimate

The largest U.S. anti-hunger program, SNAP, will cost $59 billion less over the coming decade than thought in February because food prices are moderating, said the Congressional Budget Office. The updated CBO baseline also indicated that estimated savings in the House Republican farm bill were too high and not nearly enough to pay for the plan’s proposed increases in crop subsidy and crop insurance spending.

Pilot project in USDA-FDA bill would limit SNAP purchases

The government would set up five pilot projects to keep SNAP recipients from buying "unhealthy foods" under a provision in the USDA-FDA funding bill released on Monday. The House bill also would block the USDA from implementing three fair-play regulations on livestock marketing and refuse to pay for "President Biden's bureaucratic pay increases."

House farm bill is built on ‘voodoo economics,’ says analyst

The House Agriculture Committee is relying on made-up math to pay for a huge increase in crop subsidy and crop insurance spending, said analysts during a think tank discussion on Wednesday. “It makes voodoo economics look great,” said moderator Josh Sewell of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group.

GOP powers House committee passage of farm bill with $53 billion in new ag spending

The Republican-controlled House Agriculture Committee, with four Democratic crossovers, approved a farm bill early Friday that increases crop subsidy and crop insurance spending by one-third, cuts SNAP by $30 billion, and repudiates a Biden administration initiative on climate mitigation. Democrats said the bill has no chance of becoming law and might not survive a vote on the House floor because it lacks bipartisan support. (No paywall)

GOP uses ‘counterfeit money’ to pay for farm bill, says Vilsack

House Republicans are building unrealistic expectations in farm country by relying on “counterfeit money” to pay for a $50 billion expansion of crop subsidies and crop insurance in the new farm bill, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday. The House Agriculture Committee was expected to approve Chairman Glenn Thompson’s proposed bill on Thursday in a vote that would split along party lines.

Environmental, anti-hunger groups join opposition to House farm bill

Anti-hunger groups, environmentalists, and fiscal conservatives are mobilizing against the House Republicans’ proposed farm bill ahead of its markup later this week, arguing that it benefits agribusiness at the expense of low-income people, taxpayers, and the climate. 

GOP farm bill increases crop subsidy ceiling by 24 percent

Row-crop farmers would be able to collect up to $155,000 a year in crop subsidies, a $30,000 increase from the current limit, under the farm bill written by House Republicans and scheduled for a committee vote on Thursday. And, for the first time, the subsidy ceiling, often a lightning rod for reformers, would be adjusted annually for inflation.

GOP farm bill puts SNAP savings into trade and horticulture programs

House Agriculture Committee chair Glenn Thompson would funnel $10 billion in food stamp cuts into an expansion of trade promotion and horticulture programs as part of the new farm bill, said Republican staff workers on Thursday. One of them called opponents of SNAP cuts “hunger weirdos” who “use poor people as props.” (No paywall)

Crop subsidy costs could surge 56 percent under House farm bill, say analysts

The farm bill drafted by House Agriculture Committee chair Glenn Thompson could boost crop subsidy spending by $23 billion — 56 percent — above current levels and favor growers in the South over farmers in the North, according to analysts at two Midwestern universities. To offset the cost, they said, reductions may be needed in conservation, crop insurance, or nutrition programs.

Stabenow: SNAP dispute makes 2024 farm bill the hardest yet

Protracted disputes over SNAP funding are preventing progress on the new farm bill and endangering support for the legislation, said Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow on Tuesday. The House Agriculture Committee was expected to vote next week on a Republican-written bill that would cut SNAP funding by $28 billion, despite Democratic opposition.

‘Let’s get serious,’ says Stabenow, proposing 2024 farm bill

With the new farm bill months overdue, Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow proposed a farm bill on Wednesday that would boost so-called reference prices — a roadblock issue — while rejecting the $28 billion cut in SNAP sought by conservative Republicans. “That is a hard red line for me,” Stabenow told reporters.

Some crops will get bigger reference price increases than others, Thompson says

If Congress follows his lead, some commodities will get larger increases in reference prices than others, but the new farm bill will provide a robust safety net for all producers, said House Agriculture Committee chair Glenn Thompson on Wednesday. Thompson said his proposed package, to be released in coming weeks, would remove some of the “guardrails” that limit the use of climate mitigation funding.

GOP-written farm bill is headed for House defeat, says senior Democrat

House Republicans are following the "same ideological strategy that led to the failures of farm bills on the House floor in 2014 and 2018," said Georgia Rep. David Scott, the senior Democrat on the Agriculture Committee. Republicans plan to tamper with future SNAP benefits, a red line for Democrats, said Scott in an essay.

Crime rings target EBT cards, say police

Authorities arrested 10 immigrants from Romania and Italy on charges of "skimming" EBT cards to steal SNAP and welfare benefits from California recipients, a crime that has increased in the past couple of years and occurs nationwide. Since June 2022, more than $181 million in EBT benefits were stolen in California, mostly by unauthorized ATM withdrawals, said the Secret Service. (No paywall)

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.

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