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Farm bill update: House ag committee passes its version

farm bill capitol

The U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee passed its version of the farm bill on May 23.

The Republican-led committee’s $1.5-trillion proposal had votes from some Democrats but not the majority, and Democrats in the Senate shared their concerns about the House version.

The House version passed out of the committee 33-21 with 4 Democratic votes. It would expand farm commodity supports, reduce SNAP funding, and reallocates $20 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act that was planned for climate-oriented farming.

On May 22, on a call with reporters, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack criticized the House version, specifically the SNAP funding and climate aspects, saying he prefers the version being worked on in the Senate.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), chairwoman of the Senate ag committee released a statement May 24, “I’m glad that Chairman (GT) Thompson is working to move the process forward so that we can complete our work on the 2024 Farm Bill this year. Despite areas of common ground, it is now clear that key parts of the House bill split the Farm Bill coalition in a way that makes it impossible to achieve the votes to become law. And it is also clear that we do not have time to waste on proposals that cannot meet that goal. I have always believed there is a bipartisan path forward if we maintain the long tradition of respecting the needs and interests of the broad farm and food coalition. This has always been the foundation of a successful Farm Bill.”

Agriculture groups were supportive of the House version’s passage from committee.

International Fresh Produce Association BB #:378962 Vice President of U.S. Government Relations Rebeckah Adcock said, “The International Fresh Produce Association is pleased to see the Farm Bill advance out of committee, marking an important step toward securing the future of American agriculture, enhancing food security, and promoting a healthier nation.

“We commend Chairman Thompson and the entire House Agriculture Committee for their diligent work and dedication to this legislation. Their efforts ensure that vital investments for the fresh produce industry and all specialty crops are maintained and expanded. Continued bipartisan negotiation will be essential to ensure the bill meets the diverse needs of our agricultural sector. IFPA stands ready to support those efforts.”

 American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall released this statement:

“AFBF appreciates the leadership of Chairman Thompson and members of the House Agriculture Committee for the markup and bipartisan passage of the Farm, Food, and National Security Act. The farm bill affects all of America’s families, and we’re encouraged to see the legislation progress in the House.

“We applaud the bipartisan vote after 13 hours of rigorous debate, but know that tight margins in both chambers and a crowded congressional calendar will present challenges in the next legislative steps. We urge House leaders to continue the momentum and bring this important legislation to a vote on the floor.

“We also urge the Senate Agriculture Committee to follow the lead of the House by scheduling a farm bill markup. A pandemic, high inflation, supply chain issues and global unrest all present challenges that can only be addressed by a new, modernized farm bill.

“This is an opportunity for both chambers to work to advance a piece of legislation that will pay off at every dinner table in America.”


Greg Johnson is Vice President of Media for Blue Book Services