Farm Bill Planning Needs to Happen Now!

Farm Bill planning needs to start now

Farm Bill planning needs to start now

The agriculture industry is experiencing a dramatic downturn as commodities pile up and prices fall to historic lows. Some in the ag industry are hoping the next Farm Bill can help — sooner as opposed to later. With farm loans steadily deteriorating, many farm groups are hoping to get the Farm Bill process started early.

We’re Not in 2013 Anymore

“The last time we did a farm bill in 2014 our production agriculture industry was having really good times. Commodity prices were good,” said Mike Conaway, U.S. Congressman, Texas’ 11th Congressional District, and Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. “Well, in 2018, I don’t think that’s going to be the case. We’ve already experienced a 42% drop in production farm income.”…

2018 Farm Bill: Tough Row to Hoe

Family farmThe Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79), or “2014 Farm Bill” authorizes the continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through September 30, 2018.  Since the Great Depression in the 1930’s Congress has typically adopted a comprehensive Farm Bill every 5 years.  However, since the mid-1990’s Congress has struggled to timely adopt farm bills.


  • To save budget dollars the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-66) reduced and extended many commodity support provisions beyond 1995. Thus the 1995 Farm Bill wasn’t signed into law until April 1996.
  • What should have been a 2007 Farm Bill was not enacted until June 2008. It required six temporary extensions of most programs in the 2002 Farm Bill.
  • The 2008 Farm Bill had to be extended into 2013 and Congress adopted the 2014 Farm Bill in February of that year.

With farmers under financial pressures due to extraordinary low commodity prices farm organizations across America are gearing up for battle for the upcoming Farm Bill.  The next Farm Bill will need to authorize programs for crop years 2019-2023.  Ideally, a new farm bill should be adopted before any new crop harvest.  The earliest crop harvest in 2019 will occur in mid-to-late May of 2019 when wheat harvest begins in South Texas.  Dependent upon the complexities of policies adopted in the new Farm Bill the U.S. Department of Agriculture would likely need anywhere from 9-months-to-1-year to implement the Farm Bill.  That means for the next farm bill, Congress should reauthorize farm programs by roughly September 2018.

Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation

Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is among leading farm organizations including the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Soybean Association, NationalCotton Council,  USA Rice FederationNational Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) that are encouraging their respective members to begin developing policies for the next Farm Bill.  Zippy Duvall, President, AFBF posted a blog late last month to their members stating, “…it is time to sound the bell for preparation (of the 2018 Farm Bill).

Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of congressional relations with AFBF, told Hoosier Ag Today in a recent interview that their organization is anticipating testimony before the House and Senate Ag Committees as early as next spring.

Thatcher explained “..we’ve heard from our cotton producers and our dairy folks, that they don’t think the new programs that were put into effect are working for them. Fairly low participation in both programs and most folks feeling again like they just don’t provide an adequate safety net.”

According to Thatcher, here are some of the biggest challenges in writing a new farm bill:

Cansler Speaks at Ag Retailer Assoc.

Tim Cansler

Tim Cansler

The Agricultural Retailers Association recently held its annual conference and expo in New Orleans, LA. This year’s theme: “Navigating the Path Forward.”

In Nuts and Bolts of ResponsibleAg, Tim Cansler [chief government strategist for Cansler Consulting and Executive Director of ResponsibleAg] explained how ResponsibleAg originated as an idea of hundreds of fertilizer industry leaders about a year ago and how it has progressed to begin accepting registration of thousands of fertilizer facilities and train auditors to conduct federal regulatory compliance assessments of participating facilities.  Nine auditor training sessions have been scheduled for 2015 to train auditors to conduct facility assessments. Cansler, along with Billy Pirkle, chairman of ResponsibleAg, helped answer agricultural retailer questions about the endeavor and how it would work.…

Farmers Have to Choose a New Risk Management Program

famer & laptopLet’s face it farming is not easy and manging risks amists Mother nature’s whims is even more risky. The only upside is that Congress is trying to help producers with new, innovative 21st Century risk management programs.

Farmer will have to make a choice between Risk Management Programs very soon. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently unveiled new programs as part of the 2014 Farm Bill that will help farmers manage their risks: Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) & Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The choice producers make in the next few months will be irrevocable and used for the next five crop years.…

USDA Releases New Programs to Help Farmers Manage Risk

Using online tools to decide best risk management

Using online tools to decide best risk management

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced much anticipated new programs to help farmers better manage risk, ushering in one of the most significant reforms to U.S. farm programs in decades. These new programs, including the Agriculture Risk Coverage program (ARC), are a departure from New Deal-era target price policies and represent one of the most significant Farm Policy reforms in decades. …

Ag Industry: The Best of Times and The Worst of Times, Part II

Prior to leaving Washington for their five-week August recess, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted, 223-197, an Agricultural Disaster Assistance package (H.R. 6233) that directs the Secretary of Agriculture to make Livestock Indemnity Payments to eligible producers that have suffered livestock death losses and grazing losses due to drought. The Congressional Budget Office scored the disaster package at $383 million.…

Ag Industry: The Best of Times & The Worst of Times, Part I

Like a Charles Dickens novel U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing a period of the best of times, and the worst of times. The U.S. agriculture industry is in one of its best periods in history. There are multiple components that generate such success and they include: adaptation to technology, meeting the demands of ever-changing and improving global diets, and the productivity and resourcefulness of U.S. producers.…

2012 Farm Bill in Senate; Ag Approps In House

FarmBill moving forward in Summer of 2012This week the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (commonly known as the 2012 Farm Bill).  The Farm Bill passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 26 with a bipartisan vote of 16–5.  Multiple and varying amendments are expected during floor consideration of the Farm Bill and debate could last up to three weeks.  The measure would cut deficits by $23 billion, a smaller amount than both the Obama administration and House Republicans are supporting.

What’s Impacted Now……

Farm Bill: With Clock Ticking Proposals Begin to Surface

Farm Bill ImpactAs we have been discussing for months, the push for deficit reduction is creating more of an immediacy to adopting a Farm Bill sooner rather than later.  And, with the deadline for policy recommendations from authorizing Committees to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSCDR) now under two weeks away, farm policy proposals are beginning to surface.  The JSCDR must generate at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over 10 years this fall.

Between $10 and $50 billion of budget savings are targeted from the Farm Bill.…

Don’t Get Thrown Under the Policy Bus – Again

Don't get thrown under the POLICY bus againLearning Lessons From Trade Dispute Votes in Congress

Recently, the Obama Administration announced that U.S. and Mexican negotiators finalized a program that will allow Mexican trucks carrying imported goods to travel throughout the U.S. to their destinations, a promise made by the U.S. eighteen years ago and codified in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The accord was reached 2 years and 3 months after Mexico, legally under NAFTA, applied tariffs of between 10 and 45 percent on 89 U.S. products totaling $2.4 billion.…

Obama: Revamping the Farm Subsidy System

In a CBS town hall meeting on May 12th, President Obama discusses how difficult it is for congressional leaders from rural districts that have historically benefited from existing farm subsidies to change policies to address 21st Century challenges in agriculture. More than ever, if your organization needs its voice heard in Washington and assistance in protecting…