Congress Reaches Agreement On a New Farm Bill?
Late last week I saw a headline Congress reaches an agreement on a new farm bill. Reading the news story I saw Congress had reached an "agreement in principal." There are very few details of the Commodity Title of the new farm bill. There are reports that the new farm bill will be similar to the expired farm bill with the ARC County or PLC options.
One of the major differences between the House and Senate versions of the farm bill was that the House bill had work requirements for receiving SNAP food benefits. The Conference committee has agreed to drop the work requirement allowing the farm bill to move forward.
However, recently a new issue came up that cause more controversy. In light of the devastating California wildfires Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made a push to exempt practices like forest thinning from extensive environmental reviews. Apparently this too has been resolved but it was not clear how.
Timing of getting the farm bill out of the conference committee, passed by the House, Senate and signed by President Trump is critical. It that does not happen by the end of December, the next Congress that will be seated in January will start the farm bill process all over!