Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Ag Republican John Boozman agree that farm bill funding must be robust, but they disagree over priorities.
Stabenow, as expected, strongly supports SNAP funding, that she and other Democrats charge Republicans are looking to cut.
“When you see proposals to cut mandatory spending, and the folks talking about it are aiming at SNAP and nutrition, but they don’t understand, every single program in the farm bill is mandatory spending, and so, that means crop insurance, that means commodity programs, that means trade title—all of it.”
But top Senate Ag Republican John Boozman argues production agriculture is losing ground to nutrition as $867 billion for the last farm bill rises to over $1.5 trillion projected for the next one.
“Almost all of that is nutrition increase, and so, the farm safety nets are really not receiving, not with all these outpourings, infusions of cash into farm programs, almost all of those being nutrition, it’s been conservation. So, we want to make sure that the safety nets, traditional farming, our specialty crops, are well represented and they get what they need.”
And when might that happen? Boozman says, “I can’t give you the month, but I really feel very strongly we’re going to get it done this year. I was in the House for nine-years, I’ve got lots of friends over there that are kind of, running the place now on both sides—there seems to be a real commitment. Don’t know how we’re going to get it done, but this is true of all farm bills.”
That could especially be the case this year amid not just the SNAP vs. farm programs fight, but the GOP-White House fight over raising the debt ceiling in return for budget cuts that could last into summer.
Stabenow and Boozman made these comments at the annual Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Policy forum in D.C. this week.