With everything happening in Washington D.C. legislatively late last year, work on the 2018 farm bill is has been delayed about three months and now farm lobbyists say more delays could be tacked on. Keeping the government funded, healthcare, immigration and security issues will be priorities for Congress, but American Farm Bureau Federation public policy executive director Dale Moore is confident a new farm bill will get done by the September 30th expiration of the current law. He says the public writing of a new bill may have to wait a bit longer.
“If I had to make a prediction I think they’re going to let the State of the Union get out of the way,” he said. “They’re going to let the budget process roll out a little bit more, but I’m figuring at some time between mid to late February and early March we’re going to get some very clear signals that it’s time to get saddled up and start working on this farm bill.”
Moore says election year politics and the need to give farmers program-certainty will be key in speeding the process along.
“We certainly have heard that from both committees, leadership on both sides of the isle, that they want to provide certainty for farmers, and I sure that the election year politics will make for an interesting backdrop and give us some other things to talk about as this year rolls along and we get another farm bill done,” Moore said.
AFBF expects a shoring up of farm bill programs, versus a wholesale overhaul. Among key areas of attention—crop insurance support, food stamps, dairy margin protection, payment limits, PLC reference prices, and ARC payment timing.
But, spending will be the main farm bill driver, especially with rising concern about the federal deficit, heightened by passage of an expensive tax reduction bill.
Source: NAFB News Service