Tom Cosgrove Senior Vice President for Public Affairs
The 2018 Farm Bill ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Less of the Same? Leaders of the Congressional agriculture
House Agriculture Committee
Despite the Committee Chairs’ efforts,
committees began 2017 with the best of
Chairman Mike Conaway (TX) held
there has been no actual legislative action
intentions to get a jump start on the 2018
the fi rst full committee hearing on the
on the Farm Bill, although that may have
Farm Bill in hopes of finalizing it well
Farm Bill last February. Since then, the
changed by the time this issue reaches
before its expiration in September 2018.
committee has convened numerous
The Farm Bill authorizes a variety
hearings on all aspects of agricultural
I believe the reason for the delay in
of USDA programs such as agricultural
policy and held listening sessions across
Farm Bill progress is tied closely to what
support, conservation and nutrition
the U.S., including one in Cobleskill, NY
will be one of the central issues of the
programs, and will consider changes
on October 9.
debate — uncertainty about how much
to other important programs like crop
The Senate Agriculture Committee
Congress will be able to spend on the
insurance. It is usually completed on a
held field hearings this spring in the home
2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is not a
five-year cycle, but leaders had hoped to
states of Chairman Pat Roberts (KS) and
spending bill, per se, in that it is not one
complete it in 2017 or early 2018 so that
Ranking member Debbie Stabenow (MI)
of the 12 annual appropriations bills that
it didn’t get caught in the cross-fi re of the
and has held hearings covering most of the
fund the federal government each year.
2018 mid-term elections.
Farm Bill titles since then.
The Farm Bill, however, authorizes many USDA programs with mandatory spending, which means that like entitlement
Crop Insurance 8%
PROJECTED O U T L AY S UNDER THE 2014 FA R M BI LL
Commodities 5% Other 1%
programs, many Farm Bill programs are not subject to annual appropriations. The 2014 Farm Bill came with a projected price tag of $489 billion over the five fiscal years from 2014 to 2018. After nearly four years, the Farm Bill has actually cost less than anticipated. Early in 2017, the Congressional Budget Office estimated
the total cost to be on pace for about $460
T O TA L O U T L AY S
billion for the five-year period. The lower
costs have come from nutrition programs,
as the improved economy has meant fewer people qualifying for assistance, and crop insurance, as lower commodity prices
Source: USDA Economic Research Service using data from Congressional Budget Ofﬁce, Cost Estimates for the Agricultural Act of 2014, Jan 2014.
have led to lower premiums and thus, smaller premium subsidies.
Published on Oct 31, 2017
Published on Oct 31, 2017
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