On October 1, 2018 the current 2014 Farm Bill expired after passing the September 30, 2018 deadline with no new bill. This was something that farm advocates across the country have been working tirelessly to prevent for over a year. This is the second cycle in row that Congress has allowed it to expire without an extension in place.
The National Sustainable Ag Coalition (NSAC) notes that the expiration of this bill results in the “shut down of dozens of agriculture, food, research, and conservation programs to new applications and contracts.”
The National Farmers Union (NFU) outlined the short-term impacts this lapse will have, specifically on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Andrew Walmsley of America Farm Bureau notes that there is still time for a new Farm Bill to pass before farmers will begin to feel the major impacts.
“Commodity programs at least through the marketing year will continue on, crop insurance is permanently authorized, nutrition programs will continue to go forward. It’s not really until we get to January 1 where we could start seeing impacts to dairy.”
With midterm elections fast approaching, it is likely that there will not be a new Farm Bill until after the November elections. However, farm advocates are optimistic and are continuing to advocate for a bipartisan Farm Bill, like the one currently put forward by the Senate, and to get it passed before the end of the year.
The news of the Farm Bill’s expiration came at the same time as President Trump’s announcement of a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. This pact is an encouraging sign for American farmers.
NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to the new trade pact:
“After more than a year of escalating trade tensions, the prospects of progress on trade with our two closest trading partners is encouraging. (…) While this agreement is certainly no cure-all, it is hopefully a start to repairing our trade relationships around the world, to restoring our reputation as a reliable trading partner, and to resolving longstanding issues with discrimination against U.S. wheat.”
While there is still much to be optimistic about with the Farm Bill, it is important to continue to advocate on behalf of farmers across the country for a fair and just Farm Bill. If you are contacting your representatives, see our list of key talking points to share with the House and Senate members in your area.
– Annie Huntington is the Project Coordinator for Catholic Rural Life.