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Farm Bureau Hopeful After GT Thompson’s Farm Bill Comments

House Ag Chair GT Thompson’s not giving up on a 2024 farm bill and that’s raised cautious hope at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

AFBF Government Affairs Director Joe Gilson says Farm Bureau appreciates Thompson’s latest vow to move a farm bill out of committee by Memorial Day, but is also realistic. Gilson says, “In 2018, it took seven or eight-months from introduction until final passage, so we’re under no illusion that this bill is going to be introduced and passed overnight, but this is the essential ‘first domino’ that has to fall, in order for us to get the 5-year farm bill reauthorized.”

But Thompson is still in talks with Ag Democrats on how to boost farm safety net funding, his top priority. That includes, as Thompson has said in earlier comments, “The repurposing of the Inflation Reduction Act dollars, as well as the strengthening of Congress’ Article I authority, through a forward-thinking Thrifty Food Plan framework, among others.”

Both of which face Democratic pushback, either for undercutting President Biden’s signature IRA or jeopardizing future SNAP support levels, already very controversial.

Meantime, a wide chasm remains in the Senate where GOP Ag leaders proposed boosting support for higher crop insurance levels, but not at the expense of improving reference price subsidy triggers.

And Ag Senator Chuck Grassley had this on Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s issue priority list for coming weeks. Grassley said, “Notably missing from Schumer’s agenda was the farm bill, just like, Americans don’t eat. As you know, the farm bill authorizes the work of the Department of Agriculture. This work touches every American, at least three-times a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

But barring an elusive committee deal, there’s nothing to put on the Senate floor. And if Congress must extend the 2018 farm bill for another year after the current 1-year extension expires September 30, Grassley complains the old bill will be seven-years old and well-outdated by next year.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Berns Bureau Washington/by Matt Kaye

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