WASHINGTON, DC | 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 SEPTEMBER 11, 2023
- The House and Senate Agriculture Committees currently do not have any hearings scheduled for this month.
ICYMI – WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 5, 2023
- Congress Returns From Recess. On September 5, the Senate retuned to session and will be joined by their House counterparts on September 12. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) outlined his priorities and outlook for the upcoming work period in a letter where he condemned extreme partisanship and encouraged compromise to avoid a government shutdown. The majority of his letter focused on the 12 Appropriations spending bills that have reached an impasse, the National Defense Authorization Act, and the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill. Notably, despite its similar expiration date, the Farm Bill was not mentioned in Majority Leader Schumer’s letter. House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn Thompson (R-PA) has maintained his desire to release a draft of the Farm Bill and schedule it for markup, although no markup has been scheduled as spending bill markups crowd the House floor’s calendar. On the Senate side, Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has not said when she aims to mark up a draft, simply that she intends to pass a Farm Bill by the end of the year.
- Stabenow, Boozman Urge Secretary Vilsack to Support American Farmers by Making Investments in Trade Promotion and Food Assistance. On August 28, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Boozman (R-AR) authored a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the USDA to use its authorities under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act to support opportunities for American farmers. They cited bipartisan support for the USDA international food assistance programs as a reason to further explore using CCC resources to advance food assistance initiatives to address both humanitarian needs abroad and support American farmers.