2018 Farm Bill Update
This week it was announced that the House & Senate negotiators have reached a principle agreement on a five-year farm bill with a goal of getting voted on before December 7. The tentative agreement still has some outstanding items, including forestry provisions, which are currently being sorted out by lead negotiators. The Congressional Budget Office is now involved with scoring and language.
For the most part, this 2018 Farm Bill is being considered “status quo”. Overall, minor changes have been made. One major agreement between the House & Senate involves SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, although no details have been given at this time. Originally House Republicans were aiming to place strict requirements on the program.
New to this farm bill is a compromise that would legalize commercial cultivation and distribution of hemp. Industrial hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant, would be removed from the federal list of controlled substances. This change would allow hemp farmers and researchers to apply for federal agriculture programs.
In addition, the 2018 Farm Bill would modify the two-track system of crop subsidies created in 2014 and pay for the expansion of the Conservation Reserve Program by reducing annual rent paid to landowners. For farmers, this will be the first time since 2014 to switch enrollment between the insurance-like Agricultural Risk Coverage subsidy and the traditionally styled Price Loss Coverage subsidy.
There would be no major changes to farm subsidies, public nutrition programs or crop insurance.
Abbot, C. (2018, November 29). On Capitol Hill, Tentative Agreement for ‘Status Quo’ Farm Bill. Retrieved from https://www.agriculture.com/news/business/on-capitol-hill-tentative-agreement-for-a-status-quo-farm-bill
Crampton, L. Boudreau, C. McCrimmon, R. (2018, November 29). Farm bill deal blocks major GOP food-stamp overhaul. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/29/deal-reached-farm-bill-talks-1026108