Washington, DC | The “four corners” of House and Senate agriculture leadership (chair and ranking member in each chamber’s committee of jurisdiction) have agreed to seek an extension of the Farm Bill through the end of FY24 (to provide time to pass a full reauthorization). Speaker Thompson has acknowledged his committee will not finalize a Farm Bill in time for it to pass the House this calendar year. The four corners have agreed on a plan to fund Farm Bill orphan programs (which expire on January 1st) using USDA money and funds from the biorefinery program (9003, also an orphan program but with funding that extends beyond January 1st). This plan, which could be part of a continuing resolution package, is by no means assured of securing full Republican support in the House.
The $428 billion Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-334) – more commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill – expired on September 30, 2023. The Farm Bill’s twelve titles provide funding guidelines for a range of food and agriculture programs, including price and income support, crop insurance/disaster assistance, nutrition assistance, conservation, research, rural development and energy. Many Farm Bill programs operate on a calendar year basis so legislators have until December 31st to reauthorize the Farm Bill for 4-5 years or extend the current Farm Bill. Below is a roundup of recent Congressional developments and upcoming events the committees are working on.
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 13, 2023
- The Senate Committee on Agriculture will convene a full committee hearing on November 14 entitled “Innovation in American Agriculture: Leveraging Technology and Artificial Intelligence”
Witnesses: Dr. Mason Earles, Assistant Professor, Viticulture & Enology; Biological & Agricultural Engineering, CO-PI and Lead of Agricultural Cluster, AI Institute for Next-Generation Food Systems University of California, Davis; Mr. Sanjeev Krishnan. Chief Investment Officer & Senior Managing Director of S2G Ventures ; Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, ; Dr. Jahmy Hindman, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Deere & Company; and Mr. Todd J. Janzen, President, Janzen Schroeder Agricultural Law LLC and Administrator, Ag Data Transparent Organization
- The House Committee on Agriculture does not have any scheduled hearings this week.
ICYMI – WEEK OF NOVEMBER 6, 2023
‘Four Corners’ of House and Senate Agriculture Committees Release Statement on Farm Bill Extension. On November 12, the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees released the following joint statement: “As negotiations on funding the government progress, we were able to come together to avoid a lapse in funding for critical agricultural programs and provide certainty to producers. This extension is in no way a substitute for passing a 5-year Farm Bill and we remain committed to working together to get it done next year.”
Agriculture Labor Working Group Releases Interim Report. On November 7, Representatives Rick Crawford (AR-1) and Don Davis (NC-1) released and interim report on the activities of the Agriculture Labor Working Group and the issues identified through a series of roundtables the group has conducted over the past four months. The Working Group primarily focused on the unique challenges facing agricultural labor and the H-2A program, exploring labor and producer perspectives on the issues. Through these perspectives, the Working Group was able to identify key challenges that can be alleviated through legislative action such as the Farm Bill.