FLORIDA | Weekly Farm Bill Update with Holland & Knight | The $428 billion Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-334) – more commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill – is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2023, impacting virtually every part of the agriculture sector and rural America. The U.S. agriculture community, food producers and processors, and state, local, tribal, and federal officials have turned their attention to the Farm Bill's reauthorization, which will have significant implications for commodities, on-farm conservation programs, nutrition, rural development and energy, crop insurance and farm finance, and more. As the 118th Congress gets underway, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture and the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry have signaled an aggressive first-quarter agenda that will include a number of hearings, listening sessions, and other events to progress passage of the 2023 Farm Bill successfully. Below is a roundup of recent Congressional developments and upcoming events the committees are working on.
WEEK OF AUGUST 28, 2023
No Congressional hearings scheduled this week. Congress is in recess for the month of August. The Senate will return to session September 5 and both chambers will be in session beginning September 12.
ICYMI – WEEK OF AUGUST 21, 2023
Over 160 House Representatives Urge House Agriculture Committee to Reject Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act. On August 21, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) led a bipartisan group of over 160 House Representatives in a letter to House Agriculture Committee leadership expressing their strong opposition to the inclusion of the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act in the Farm Bill. The group opposes the bill due to its capacity to “infringe on the fundamental rights of states to establish laws and regulations within their own borders.” Historically, similar bills to the EATS Act have been introduced and ultimately excluded from the 2018 and 2014 Farm Bills for similar controversies.
Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow Celebrates $1 Billion Invested In Specialty Crops Through Farm Bill Initiatives. On August 24, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman announced that $1 billion has been invested across 12,000 projects to support the nation’s specialty crops since the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program was established in the 2008 Farm Bill.
McConnell concedes farm bill will be late; Stabenow eyes year-end. On August 24, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed growing suspicions that the 2023 Farm Bill will likely not meet its September 30 deadline. Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee Debbie Stabenow expressed similar sentiments, indicating that the committee is working to sign the bill into law by the end of the calendar year. She added that “It is not uncommon for Congress to pass the September 30th deadline without passing an extension of the Farm Bill. This is what happened in 2018, when Congress did not pass an extension, and the Farm Bill was signed into law in December.”
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