Time Running Out on a New Farm Bill This Year

In previous updates, we have talked about the likelihood of Congress passing a new farm bill “on time” which means by September 30th of this year.  Through the middle of July, neither the House nor the Senate agriculture committee leadership have released their farm bill drafts.  If they don’t release their drafts next week, it appears that this will likely happen during the August recess or when they return in September.   

Looking at the calendars for both the House and Senate indicates the Senate is in session 17 days in September and the House is in session 12 days.  While we are certain getting the entire farm bill completed by September 30th would be welcomed by House and Senate agriculture committee members and staff, we feel that a more realistic goal would be to have bill completed before the members leave for the Christmas holidays.  The Senate is in session 44 days from October to December, while the House is in session 24 days during that period.

Getting the farm bill completed by the end of the year would still be considered somewhat of a surprise as, to date, there hasn’t been a significant new source of funds provided to agricultural committee leadership to develop the new farm bill.   During farm bill hearings in both the House and Senate this spring and summer, the near unanimous request by commodity groups testifying was for higher reference prices that would protect a meaningful amount of their production costs.  Our estimate is that a 20 percent increase in reference prices for all 23 covered commodities will cost between $55 and $60 billion over 10 years.  The increase doesn’t have to be for all covered commodities nor does it have to be the same percent for each commodity, although doing so might be politically easier.  

Outlaw, Joe, and Bart L. Fischer. “Time Running Out on a New Farm Bill This Year.Southern Ag Today 3(29.4). July 20, 2023. Permalink