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AFB Economist Hopeful for Fall Farm Bill

American Farm Bureau Chief Economist Roger Cryan is hopeful, despite delays, that lawmakers will produce a farm bill this fall, ahead of the 2024 election year.

Cryan says Ag committee staffs are working through the August recess to prepare farm bill text for members when they return in September. He says, “I think they’ll put together some things in August. I think they’ll work with whatever they get from USDA and CBO. And we are very hopeful to get a farm bill in 2023, because it’s going to be tough to do it in 2024.”

Amid the politics of a national election. But even now, the fight for scarce budget dollars is further threatening SNAP and conservation programs like CRP.

Cryan says, “CRP programs, conservation programs, should be about sustainable production, not sustainable ‘not-production.’ And there’s an awful lot of money that was put into conservation in the Inflation Reduction Act that is being rather jealously guarded by the folks that put that in there. So, there’s going to be some real limits to how much of that will be available for anything else.”

So, just how tough is it to find savings to boost commodity programs? Cryan says, “There’s going to need to be some additional funding from someplace for the safety net programs, but I’m not going to, personally, I’m not going to paint a target on any particular program.”

Despite the obstacles, Cryan says the leadership of both Ag committees in both parties wants to get a farm bill done, spurring AFBF’s optimism it will get done this year.

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