January 24, 2020

Senate Farm Bill Hearing; Ag Economy; Regulations; and Trade

Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Hearing

Thirteen witnesses in four separate panels testified yesterday at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. highlighting risk management issues.  Lawmakers and producers repeatedly indicated that federal crop insurance has emerged as the cornerstone of the farm safety net and should be preserved from additional budgetary cuts.

As the November elections draw closer, and the legislative calendar moves forward, stakeholders and lawmakers are remaining optimistic that work on an updated farm policy framework will be passed through the Senate Agriculture Committee this spring.

The House Agriculture Committee is expected to follow Senate action; however, farm policy observers have expressed concern that moving the new farm law off of the floor in both chambers could represent a significant challenge.  And even if successful, there will likely be differences to iron out between the Senate and House versions of the new law.

Separately, one lawmaker recently suggested that an option to pass the farm bill was to attach it to another piece of legislation.