Farm Bill Faces Delays Despite Confidence from Agriculture Committee Chairs

Lawmakers express confidence in passing a new farm bill, despite delays over conservation funding and political complications in an election year. Key focus on SNAP, crop insurance, and climate-smart agriculture.

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Israel Ojoko
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Farm Bill Faces Delays Despite Confidence from Agriculture Committee Chairs

Farm Bill Faces Delays Despite Confidence from Agriculture Committee Chairs

The House and Senate Agriculture Committee chairs have expressed confidence in passing a new farm bill, even as disagreements over $20 billion in Inflation Reduction Act conservation funding and political complications in an election year have caused delays. The five-year farm bill was supposed to have been approved last year but was held up in the House over disagreements on food stamps, conservation, crop insurance, and funding.

House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., announced that he will find a way to push a farm bill out before Memorial Day. The legislation covers SNAP benefits, crop insurance, and conservation programs, and is reauthorized every five years. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has invested $18 billion through the Farm Bill in climate-smart, climate-friendly agricultural practices, which is a key focus for conservation groups.

Programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are important for reducing fertilizer runoff and improving water quality, but have been oversubscribed due to lack of funding. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making $1.5 billion available in fiscal year 2024 to invest in partner-driven conservation and climate solutions through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Why this matters: The passage of the farm bill has significant implications for agriculture, conservation efforts, and food assistance programs. The delays and disagreements highlight the political challenges in reaching a consensus on key issues, especially in an election year.

Conservationists are pushing to get the deal done before the September deadline to ensure the investments from the Inflation Reduction Act are implemented. The main obstacles to passing the new Farm Bill include political polarization and competition with other congressional priorities. Despite the challenges, the House and Senate Agriculture Committee chairs remain confident in their ability to pass the legislation in the coming months.

Key Takeaways

  • House and Senate Ag Chairs confident in passing new farm bill despite delays.
  • Farm bill covers SNAP, crop insurance, conservation; reauthorized every 5 years.
  • IRA invested $18B in climate-smart agriculture through Farm Bill programs.
  • USDA making $1.5B available in FY2024 for partner-driven conservation solutions.
  • Political polarization and competing priorities pose challenges in passing new Farm Bill.