Battlelines Are Being Drawn: Comparing Current Farm Policy Proposals

On May 1, 2024, Rep. G.T. Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, released summaries of their respective farm bill proposals (see here and here).  

On May 17, 2024, Chairman Thompson released text of his bill.  Very early this morning, the House Committee on Agriculture finished marking up its version of the 2024 Farm Bill – the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 – and passed it out of Committee on a bipartisan vote of 33 to 21. 

While there will be a lot of chatter about the path forward in the full House, attention is now turning to the Senate. To help set the stage, we have compiled a side-by-side comparison of the major farm safety net features of the House Ag Committee-passed bill and the Senate majority proposal – the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act of 2024.  Importantly, no bill text has been released for the Senate proposal, so the comparison is compiled from the summary materials linked above. Further, while Table 1 compares the proposals currently on the table, we leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions about which approach they prefer. It is also important to note that Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, announced earlier this morning that he will weigh in with his own framework “in the coming weeks” but highlighted that the House Ag Committee-passed bill “mirrors much of what Senate Republicans are seeking to accomplish with our framework.”

Key FeaturesHouse Ag Committee-Passed BillSenate Majority Proposal
Title 1 Provisions
Statutory Reference Prices (SRPs)Increases ranging from 10-20%… 

 Corn: $3.70/bu to $4.10/bu
Sorghum: $3.95/bu to $4.40/bu
Barley: $4.95/bu to $5.45/bu
Oats: $2.40/bu to $2.65/bu
Soybeans: $8.40/bu to $10.00/bu
Wheat: $5.50/bu to $6.35/bu
Seed Cotton: $0.367/lb to $0.42/lb
Rice: $14.00/cwt to $16.90/cwt
Peanuts: $535/ton to $630/ton
Other Oilseeds: $20.15/cwt to $23.75/cwt
Dry Peas: $11.00/cwt to $13.10/cwt
Lentils: $19.97/cwt to $23.75/cwt
Small Chickpeas: $19.04/cwt to $22.65/cwt
Large Chickpeas: $21.54/cwt to $25.65/cwt 
5% increase “for commodities such as seed cotton, rice, and peanuts”… 
Corn: unchanged at $3.70/bu 
Sorghum: unchanged at $3.95/bu 
Barley: unchanged at $4.95/bu 
Oats: unchanged at $2.40/bu
Soybeans: unchanged at $8.40/bu
Wheat: unchanged at $5.50/bu 
Seed Cotton: from $0.367/lb to $0.385/lb
Rice: $14.00/cwt to $14.70/cwt
Peanuts: $535/ton to $562/ton
Other Oilseeds: unchanged at $20.15/cwt
Dry Peas: unchanged at $11.00/cwt 
Lentils: unchanged at $19.97/cwt 
Small Chickpeas: unchanged at $19.04/cwt
Large Chickpeas: unchanged at $21.54/cwt
Effective Reference Prices (ERPs) No change from current law.“Changes the definition” of ERPs by “updating the formula…”  Details TBD.
Maximum PLC Payment  NOTE: these estimates illustrate the maximum possible PLC payment (assuming the ERP is at 115% of the SRP).Except for seed cotton and corn, the maximum possible PLC payment is the difference between the Effective Reference Price and the Loan Rate:
Corn:  $1.42/bu
Sorghum:  $2.64/bu
Barley:  $3.52/bu
Oats:  $0.85/bu
Soybeans:  $4.68/bu
Wheat:  $3.58/bu
Seed Cotton:  $0.183/lb
Rice:  $11.74/cwt
Peanuts:  $335/ton
Other Oilseeds:  $16.21/cwt
Dry Peas:  $8.20/cwt
Lentils:  $13.01/cwt
Small Chickpeas:  $15.05/cwt
Large Chickpeas:  $14.10/cwt 
The maximum possible PLC payment is equal to 20% of the Effective Reference Price.
 —Corn:  $0.85/bu
Sorghum:  $0.91/bu
Barley:  $1.14/bu
Oats:  $0.55/bu
Soybeans:  $1.93/bu
Wheat:  $1.27/bu
Seed Cotton:  $0.089/lb
Rice:  $3.38/cwt
Peanuts:  $129/ton
Other Oilseeds:  $4.63/cwt
Dry Peas:  $2.53/cwt
Lentils:  $4.59/cwt
Small Chickpeas:  $4.38/cwt
Large Chickpeas:  $4.95/cwt
Loan RatesCotton:  0.45-$0.52/lb to $0.55/lb
Dry Peas:  $6.15/cwt to $6.87/cwt
ELS Cotton:  $0.95/lb to $1.00/lb
Graded Wool:  $1.15/lb to $1.60/lb
Non-Graded Wool:  $0.40/lb to $0.55/lb
Mohair:  $4.20/lb to $5.00/lb
Honey:  $0.69/lb to $1.50/lb
Corn:  $2.20/bu to $2.42/bu
Sorghum:  $2.20/bu to $2.42/bu
Barley:  $2.50/bu to $2.75/bu
Oats:  $2.00/bu to $2.20/bu
Soybeans:  $6.20/bu to $6.82/bu
Wheat:  $3.38/bu to $3.72/bu
Rice:  $7.00/cwt to $7.70/cwt
Peanuts:  $355/ton to $390/ton
Other Oilseeds:  $10.09/cwt to $11.10/cwt
Lentils:  $13.00/cwt to $14.30/cwt
Small Chickpeas: $10/cwt to $11/cwt
Large Chickpeas: $14/cwt to $15.40/cwt
Sugar (Raw):  $0.1975/lb to $0.24/lb 
No change to statutory Loan Rates from current law but potential to increase (up to 10%) if estimated cost of production in a given year (from 2025 to 2029) is higher than the 5-year average cost of production from USDA’s Economic Research Service. For sugar producers, “increases sugar loan rates and adjusts the relationship between raw sugar and refined sugar to reflect more recent production and transportation costs.”
ARC Guarantee Increase from 86% to 90%.Increase from 86% to 88%.
Maximum ARC PaymentIncrease from 10% to 12.5%, raising the maximum possible payment by 25%. No change from current law of 10%.
Base AcresAdds up to an additional 30 million acres for farms where planted acres exceed base acres on the farm. “Limited opportunity” to update base for “underserved producers” only.
Payment Limit AmountsIncrease from $125,000 to $155,000 for producers with >75% of income from farming/ranching/silviculture. No change from current law.
Payment Limit IndexingFor producers with >75% of income from farming/ranching/silviculture, payment limits indexed for inflation (CPI-U) going forward. No comparable provision.
Legal EntitiesEliminates the LLC penalty. Pass-thru LLCs would join General Partnerships and Joint Ventures in having the number of payment limits parallel the number of stakeholders in the entity. No comparable provision.
Means TestingNo change from current law of $900,000, except that means testing would not apply to disaster programs in Title 1 and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for producers with >75% of income from farming/ranching/silviculture.  NOTE: this is consistent with the original means testing requirements from the 2002 Farm BillReduces AGI threshold from $900,000 to $700,000 for row-crop producers and makes tenants ineligible if landowners do not meet AGI threshold. Increases allowable AGI from $900,000 to $1,500,000 for specialty crop and “high-value” crop producers.
Title 11 Provisions
Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) Trigger Increase from 86% to 90%Increase from 86% to 88%
SCO Premium Support Increase from 65% to 80%Increase from 65% to 80%