An Update on the Next Farm Bill

A recent update at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Online included a very helpful eight-minute video from AFBF’s Mary Kay Thatcher that provided a brief overview of the budget issues for the upcoming Farm Bill debate.

Furthermore, the AFBF page includes information being developed by a Farm Bill Working Group and the page will be updated as additional analysis is published.

Recall that earlier this week, Renée Jean a journalist with the Williston Herald (N.D.), pointed out that, “While the Farm Bill doesn’t expire until Sept. 30, 2018, some are calling for a new farm bill as early as possible. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), for example, on Wednesday said he cannot see why the bill couldn’t get done a year in advance, to better help farmers with prices this year, which have been even lower than 2015.”

Despite the chatter about an early Farm Bill, recall that last month, the Chairman of both the House and Senate Ag Committees expressed reluctance about the concept of an early Farm Bill while speaking at a public forum at the Kansas State Fair.

And Steve White reported yesterday at Nebraska TV Online (NTV- Kearney, Neb.) that, “Rep. Adrian Smith (R., Neb.) said he’s keeping a close eye on the ag economy.

“He told NTV, ‘Whether it’s row crops, whether it’s livestock — we’ve got some concerns. As we head into the debate for the next farm bill, I think it’s important to stay in tune with the realities that are around the ag world.’

Many farmers were frustrated with the last farm bill, and Smith said he is hopeful the process will go better with the next one.”

The NTV update added that, “‘If we can just get it done on time, that’ll be a step in the right direction. The last debate was very discouraging. It was delayed — it didn’t need to be delayed, and we didn’t even get anything for that delay,’ [Rep. Smith] said.

“He said a goal of his is to reduce bureaucracy.”

With this background on mind, an update yesterday at FarmWeekNow Online stated that, “The current farm bill might not officially expire for a couple of years, but the discussion for the next one has already started. You’ll have three opportunities next month to offer ideas on what is important to you in the next federal farm bill.

“Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Illinois Soybean Growers are working together to host listening sessions throughout Illinois in November. Make plans now to attend.”

Specific dates, times and locations can be found here.

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