Government Shut Down Averted: Farm Bill Stalled

The government shutdown was averted when the Senate approved a 47-day stopgap bill. In a last-minute effort, President Biden signed into a law a stopgap measure that funds the government for an additional 47 days, through Nov. 17. With the government funding in place for now, work on a new farm bill can continue.

“As with every Farm Bill, there are forces and circumstances out of our control. What is always a very complicated process has become a little more complicated, but our work continues to produce an effective Farm Bill,” said Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, who chairs the House Committee on Agriculture.

Worries Over Lack of Progress: Thompson and fellow lawmakers have spent thousands of hours over the past two years collecting feedback from constituents on what they want to see in the multi-year bill forecasted at $1.5 trillion.

But some constituents say despite reassurance the Farm Bill is progressing, they remain concerned about its delay, as well as funding for several of its programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

“The delay in considering important legislation, such as agriculture appropriations and the farm bill, creates a great deal of uncertainty for farmers and ranchers. The 2018 farm bill already expired,” Sam Kieffer, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s vice president of public policy, said in a statement.

“All families, including those in rural America, face rising interest rates, high inflation and turbulence in the marketplace,” he continued. “The farm bill provides certainty to those who grow this nation’s food, fuel and fiber and is crucial to ensuring a safe and affordable food supply. Congress has always come through on a farm bill, and they must do it again. Every family in America is counting on it.”

The expansive agricultural and food policy bill covers farmer safety net programs, conservation and sustainability incentives, international trade, rural area development, and food and nutrition programs for low-income earners — the last of which, by far, accounts for the largest portion of the bill.