2024 Election’s Impact on Farm Bill Policy

With the 2024 election approaching, farm policy is a key discussion topic. This year is significant for farm policy due to the farm bill extension passed in 2023. As the presidential election nears, understanding proposed farm policies is crucial for rural landowners.

  1. Farm Bill: After missing the deadline in September 2023, Congress extended the 2018 farm bill through September 2024. The bill’s progress has been slow, with House Republicans releasing a $1.5 billion proposal in May 2024, which faced backlash over nutrition spending and crop insurance reform. Representative Nikki Budzinski criticized the proposal, while Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow introduced a competing framework emphasizing bipartisan priorities. Many, including the Indiana Farm Bureau, stress the importance of passing the bill before the election to avoid delays.
  2. Farmer Act: The Federal Agriculture Risk Management Enhancement and Resilience (FARMER) Act seeks to enhance crop insurance and the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). The main contention in the farm bill revolves around crop insurance funding. Opponents argue it favors large corporations and is costly for taxpayers, while supporters believe it is essential for farmers to manage climate and weather risks. Senator John Hoeven emphasized the role of crop insurance in maintaining food security and affordability in the U.S.
  3. SOLAR Act: Illinois Congressman Mike Bost introduced the Securing Our Lands and Resources (SOLAR) Act to protect farmland as solar installations rise. With 83% of new solar projects on farmland, there’s concern about losing productive agricultural land. Some, however, view solar energy as a crucial income source, with potential earnings of $1,200 per acre annually from solar conversion.
  4. Ransomware and Cybersecurity: Ransomware attacks are a significant threat to the agriculture sector, exemplified by the 2021 JBS Foods attack. Steve Cubbage, a precision ag consultant, highlighted the risks of cyberattacks on connected farming data. New bills aim to address these concerns:
    • Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act: Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to study cyber threats biennially and conduct annual practice drills.
    • Food and Agriculture Industry Cybersecurity Support Act: Establishes a hub to help farmers acquire technology to protect against cyber threats.
    • Cybersecurity for Rural Water Systems Act: Expands cybersecurity programs for small water and wastewater utilities.
  5. TikTok Ban: The TikTok ban, part of a $95 billion package, affects farmers using the platform for marketing. TikTok has been popular among young farmers, promoting rural lifestyles and agricultural careers. The ban could impact these influencers and their online communities. Cattle farmer Brian Firebaugh, reliant on TikTok for his customer base, is suing to keep the platform accessible. This issue highlights the tension between national security and free speech.
    As the 2024 election approaches, these farm policy issues will be pivotal in shaping the future of agriculture in the U.S.

Source: AgAmerica.com