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Reflecting on Forward Farm Bill Movement

By Brooke S. Appleton

It’s summertime in the nation’s capital, and members of Congress appear to be solar-powered.
After a long impasse, there has finally been some movement to reauthorize the farm bill. The House Committee on Agriculture recently passed the Farm, Food, and National Security Act by a vote of 33-21.
Getting to this point has been a long haul. Corn grower leaders testified in front of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees throughout 2022 and 2023, sharing the National Corn Growers Association’s position on the legislation. Grower advocates also took part in roundtables and listening sessions across the country.

While the farm bill was initially due for reauthorization last year, it has already been extended once as Congress debated and voted on government funding bills and sorted through House leadership issues.
But now, thanks to the hard work of House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-Penn.), as well as committee members from both parties, we have moved into a different stage in the legislative process, though there is still much work to be done.

With the release of bill text, we are pleased to confirm that many of our recommendations are reflected in the legislation that passed the House Agriculture Committee. Our lobbying and messaging efforts have focused on making sure that the bill will protect federal crop insurance, bolster U.S. international market development efforts, strengthen the producer safety net and support voluntary conservation programs.

During the Committee markup, we were supportive of several amendments that were filed to improve the farm bill. For example, Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio) offered an amendment on sustainable aviation fuel that was adopted by the committee. And Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) offered an amendment requiring a mandatory base acre update that would better reflect corn growers’ priorities for commodity program eligibility.
Unfortunately, the House Ag Committee bill is not expected to make it to the House floor for a vote until at least September. In the meantime, we expect for Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, to soon lay out a Senate Republican framework for the farm bill to spur bipartisan negotiations with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich).

For the farm bill to be successfully reauthorized this year, there will ultimately need to be broad support from members of both parties in the House and Senate. To that end, corn grower leaders will spend the next several months not only advocating for our priorities but also for final legislative language that will garner more bipartisan support for the legislation.  

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