Farm Policy Steps Backward with Expiration of 2014 Farm Bill

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Oct 01, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC -- The 2014 Farm Bill expired at midnight last night.  Reports indicate that little agreement, if any, on negotiations for the 2018 Farm Bill occurred, and with the House on recess from now through Election Day, there’s virtually no chance Congress will pass a new farm bill before the lame duck session.

The rumored sticking points are provisions in the nutrition and commodity titles.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) work requirements continue to be the issue for nutrition, and the unassigned base provision in the House bill is contributing to disagreements in the commodity title.  Under the unassigned base provision, those base acres on a farm not planted to a covered commodity 2009-2017 would become unclassified and ineligible to receive Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) payments through the life of the new farm bill.

With the expiration of the current bill, the baseline of all programs funded under $50 million will be eliminated.  This includes the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program that USA Rice uses to help promote the purchase and consumption of U.S.-grown rice in foreign markets.  Crop insurance, which is permanently authorized, and commodity program payments will continue, however, if a new farm bill is not passed by the end of the year, all farm programs will revert back to 1949 law.

In addition, President Trump signed into law a second package of appropriations bills on Friday afternoon, meaning about half of the federal government is funded for the next 12 months.  Also included in the bill was a Continuing Resolution to extend current funding levels for the remaining departments whose funding bills have not yet passed Congress, which includes Agriculture, through December 7.