Senate Republicans release farm bill with key NGFA priorities Sarah Gonzalez June 13, 2024

Senate Republicans release farm bill with key NGFA priorities

Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman, R-Ark., on June 11 released a farm bill framework with several NGFA priorities, including increased funding for agricultural export promotion programs and an emphasis on working lands conservation programs.

He has not released the bill text, but the 13-page summary includes the following provisions:

  • Maintains the 27-million-acre cap on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with an emphasis on rental rate reform. It also increases funding for working lands conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
  • Doubles funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture export promotion programs – the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) – which have not received an increase in funding since the 2002 farm bill.
  • Includes the bipartisan Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development (Innovative FEED) Act, which would establish legislative language for a new category of animal food additives. This NGFA-supported legislation would provide food manufacturers with a pathway to make non-misleading production and well-being claims for animal foods that have been substantiated to provide such benefits more efficiently.

Sen. Boozman’s draft also increases reference prices for Title I commodities by 15 percent. In line with the farm bill approved last month by the House Agriculture Committee, the senator’s draft proposes to restrict USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation spending authority, require cost-neutral updates of the Thrifty Food Plan, and include Inflation Reduction Act conservation funding without restrictions for climate-related practices.

Meanwhile, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Sen. Boozman’s proposal “follows the same flawed approach as Chairman Thompson’s proposal in the House and splits the broad farm bill coalition.” She has said that changes to climate-related spending and reductions in food nutrition programs included in the Republican bills are non-starters for her and committee Democrats.

Chairwoman Stabenow released a 94-page section-by-section summary of her bill proposal on May 1, including a 5 percent increase in reference prices for cotton, rice and peanuts. She also has not released bill text, but her summary includes an increase in the CRP acreage cap from 27 million acres to 29 million acres by 2029 and does not appear to include any additional funding for trade promotion programs.

The current farm bill extension expires Sept. 30.