Creative Budgeting Needed to Fund No-New-Money Farm Bill

An American Farm Bureau official says it may take some creative budgeting to meet producer needs in a ‘no-new-money’ farm bill. The issue is how to meet producer needs for the next five years with those needs much different than during the 2018 farm bill and with few if any new dollars.

Andrew Walmsley is a senior director of government affairs for the American Farm Bureau; “There’s a lot of different ways to move some money around, change some timelines that could free up some additional dollars, so we definitely think there’s a pathway forward.”

That’s despite a budget squeeze, an already record farm bill baseline, and partisan fights over SNAP funding. Walmsley said; “It’d be great to find some new dollars. Otherwise, looking at opportunities to stretch a dollar a little bit further. We’re certainly open to that – ways to improve programs, make them run more efficiently.”

SNAP is an obvious target after USDA reported an almost 12 percent nationwide error rate for last year that prompted complaints from all four Ag panel leaders. But Walmsley concludes; “But at the end of the day, we will need a meaningful farm bill that does invest in safety net programs, commodity title in particular, and that protects crop insurance, and we’re confident that Congress can find a way to do that.”

Leaving the only other question of when, after leading Ag lawmakers acknowledged in June, they probably will need an extension to rewrite the farm law expiring on September 30th.