Monday, December 11, 2023

New Farm Bill for this year ‘past expiration date’

By Elizabeth Bobenhausen Poultry Times staff

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GAINESVILLE, Ga. —A new Farm Bill due for this year passed its expiration date for passage on Sept. 30, 2023.

Holland and Knight said the Farm Bill, “is the single largest financial commitment that the U.S. government makes to U.S. food and agriculture producers, providing nutrition assistance, crop subsidies, crop insurance, rural broadband internet deployment and a range of other programs and initiatives. The Farm Bill is an omnibus, multiyear law that allows policymakers to set priorities for food and agriculture sector for a period, usually every five years.”

The bill is renewed every five years. Both houses of congress have not discussed any provisional extension to continue writing the final text of the Farm Bill. Also, Congress has not released any draft of a new Farm Bill. Republicans and Democrats are clashing as to what the Farm Bill should contain. Senate Democrats want to address climate change issues in the new bill and see the Inflation Reduction Act as means to fund these projects. Other senators are seeking funding for some agricultural products, however, finding the money to support these ambitions is difficult.

Before former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted from his post, there was no proposal to extend the 2018 Farm Bill. When asked about the expiration of the Farm Bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, “We will figure it out.”

“The committee is continuing to work toward a bipartisan bill that can be signed into law by the end of the calendar year. It is not uncommon for Congress to pass the September 30 deadline without passing an extension of the Farm Bill,” Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said. “This is what happened in 2018, when Congress did not pass an extension, and the Farm Bill was signed into law in December.”

According to Holland and Knight “the House and Senate Agriculture Committees each must draft, amend and vote on their own versions of the Farm Bill, which are then reconciled before being voted on in final form. Once passed, the bill is sent to the president for signature, allowing the USDA to begin implementation.”

Holland and Knight added that the first Farm Bill was signed into law in 1933 to aid the markets that had collapsed during the Great Depression. Also, to support the agricultural sector that had been wiped out by the Dust Bowl. To begin with, the Farm Bill mainly supported growers of corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice, peanuts, dairy and sugar. In 1973, Congress approved a Nutrition Title the Farm Bill. In present day, Farm Bills are mostly contained of Nutrition Assistance, and it tallies for three quarters of expenses.

“Each Farm Bill is different but recent farm bills have faced legislative hurdles for enactment from insufficient passage votes to presidential vetoes,” Tyler Wenzlaff, director of national affairs for Wisconsin Farm Bureau, said. “Extensions are sometimes needed to make it to the finish line. The 2002 Farm Bill was the last Farm Bill to be enacted before its fiscal year expiration. The 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills were each enacted during extensions of the previous Farm Bill.”

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