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The Voices of Land blog

Get insight on current land trends and issues from experts across the land real estate industry.

20Jun

Farm Bill Update: Reauthorization Moves Forward in Congress

By Russell Riggs, RLI's Advocacy Liaison and Director of Environmental and Sustainability Policy for NAR

As of June 20, 2024, Republican and Democratic priorities for the reauthorization of the Farm Bill have been unveiled and negotiators are set to engage in conversations to settle their differences and reach a compromise. The Farm Bill is a multi-year law, reauthorized every five or six years, that encompasses a variety of programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It was last authorized in 2018.

The USDA programs authorized by this omnibus legislation are divided into twelve titles, including titles for conservation, energy, forestry, and rural development. Lawmakers tasked with spearheading the Farm Bill reauthorization are the leaders of the House Agriculture Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Leaders in these House and Senate authorizing committees spent the first half of the year developing and unveiling their proposals. The House of Representatives is ahead of the Senate. The House Agriculture Committee approved a bill, H.R. 8467, known as the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 in a markup held on May 23, by a vote of 33-21, with support from three Democrats. Timing for a floor vote on Chairman Thompson’s bill in the House remains uncertain.

At a high-level, top priorities for Democratic policymakers are: (1) protecting and increasing access to nutrition and food assistance programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and (2) advancing climate policies, which include protecting funds allocated by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for climate-focused initiatives in USDA conservation programs. Republican lawmakers are primarily prioritizing the allocation of additional resources for farm safety net programs, like crop insurance, the Price Loss Coverage Program, and the Agriculture Risk Coverage Program, as U.S. net farm income continues to decrease. Their slogan is “More Farm in the Farm Bill.”

Legislation has not yet been introduced in the Senate. On May 1, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released a section-by-section framework that highlights priorities supported by Senate Democrats. Senate Republicans, led by Senator John Boozman (R-AR), unveiled a title-by-title outline of Senate GOP priorities on June 11.

RLI will continue to monitor the process as the reauthorization moves forward and will keep members apprised of any developments.

Russell Riggs is RLI's Advocacy Liaison for the National Association of REALTORS and Director of Environmental and Sustainability Policy for NAR. He holds a bachelor's in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University, a master's in public policy from Tufts University, and a master's in public administration from New York University.

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