February 22, 2020

Federal Farm Spending: Budget Issues and the Farm Bill

Although U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns did not appear on Thursday before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee (his appearance has been postponed), he did testify before the House Budget Committee on Thursday. Sec. Johanns was joined by Deputy Secretary Charles F. Conner,
U.S.D.A. Budget Officer W. Scott Steele and U.S.D.A Chief Economist Keith Collins.

According to a transcript of his remarks, Sec. Johanns indicated that, “Farm program spending can be highly variable, largely reflecting changes in commodity markets as well as emergency spending to address natural and economic disasters in the agriculture and rural economy. Mandatory spending on farm programs funded through CCC [Commodity Credit Corporation], including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), has decreased from a record-high of $32.3 billion in 2000 to just over $20 billion in 2006. We expect this trend to continue with CCC outlays estimated to decline to $11.7 billion in 2008 under current law, which assumes a simple extension of the 2002 Farm Bill. CCC outlays under the current law baseline are estimated to increase to an average of $12.4 billion annually from 2008 to 2017.