Ag Lawmakers Offer Thoughts on Next Farm Bill

There’s an increasing likelihood that the next Farm Bill will be written during a time of high commodity prices. That could lead to discussions over the needs of a robust safety net for farmers and ranchers. Speaking during the 2022 Agri-Pulse Ag & Food Policy Summit Monday Ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee Glenn GT Thompson says its important critics understand that agriculture is a business.

“And within any business, it’s the margin that matters at the end of the day, how much money was left after you paid your bills. And with the high and rising costs of inputs that we’re seeing right now, fertilizer, workforce, Energy costs, diesel fuel, you just keep going on and on and on with this list, inflation all together is about a 41 year high. Though we have may have record commodity prices, unfortunately, we have record expenses, and so the margin is little to nonexistent at this point.”

There’s a lot of discussion on the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program and it’s role and importance in the next Farm Bill. Speaking on a separate panel, former Senate and House Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts says the program must be part of the Farm Bill.

“It has to be part of the farm program. Number one, the USDA runs it better than any other agency. Number two, you’re not going to pass the Farm Bill without an appropriate food stamp program, and it fits into what farmers and ranchers and growers do, they provide food. The food program really with school lunches and everything else, it’s here to stay, should be here to stay. We ought to write it better than anybody else.”

Former House Agriculture Committee Chair Colin Peterson says recent history shows lawmakers shouldn’t mess with the nutrition program.

“You got people in this country that are being paid big bucks by some of these right-wing groups to come up with all this nonsense that’s killed the last two farm bills. The ‘13 farm bill failed in the House because Cantor allowed to put this amendment on the bill and it went down, first time in history, the Farm Bill failed on the floor. In ’18, the bill failed again because of the same issue.”

Regarding the timing of the next Farm Bill, House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott of Georgia says the process is underway and on-time.

“We’ve had full committee and subcommittee hearings to review the 2018 Farm Bill so we could get the stakeholders perspectives on what’s working and as well as not what’s working as we work on the new Farm Bill. And I want to make clear that our timeline for the next Farm Bill is well within the standard timeline.”

Agri-Pulse held the 2022 Ag & Food Policy Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, DC Monday.

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