Jun 11, 2024
Senate committee issues new farm bill framework

A U.S. Senate committee has issued a new farm bill framework.

U.S. Sen John Boozman, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, has released a draft of a farm bill framework on June 11.

Key priorities of the framework (.pdf) include crop commodity and insurance coverage, increased trade program and agricultural research funding, and an expansion of conservation programs. The Senate committee framework also pledged to maintain current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding: “Our framework ensures not one SNAP participant will see a single benefit cut,” according to an online summary.

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Reduced SNAP benefits, along with a reallocation of nearly $20 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act intended for climate-smart farm practices, were contentious points in a $1.5 billion farm bill version passed last month by the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee.

SNAP benefits will “continue to adjust annually for inflation,” according to the Senate committee version, which said it aims to “protect the program’s integrity by restoring Congress’ constitutional spending authority and by taking steps to reduce states’ SNAP payment errors.”

“From the onset of this process, we have sought to draft a farm bill that reflects the needs of stakeholders,” Boozman, a Republican representing Arkansas, said in a statement. “The world has changed dramatically since the 2018 bill became law, and the unprecedented challenges and economic uncertainty that farmers face now are only projected to get worse in the coming years.”

The farm bill expires every five years. The current bill, which expires Sept. 30, extended policies enacted by the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Following on the House Committee on Agriculture’s bipartisan passage of farmer-focused farm bill, we are putting forth a framework that exhibits a shared common ground with our Democrat counterparts on several key priorities and offers a path forward in the places where we differ,” Boozman said in the statement.

Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance SCFBA logoThe Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) released a statement applauding specialty crop investment in the Senate committee draft.

“The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance commends Sen. Boozman for his contribution to moving the 2024 farm bill process forward today. The specialty crop industry plays a vital role in American agriculture and in supporting the health and well-being of all Americans,” SCFBA said in the statement. “It’s imperative that the 2024 farm bill build on a strong record of federal investments in valuable programs and establish new and innovative tools to enhance the competitive position of specialty crop growers across the country. The status quo is not sustainable for America’s specialty crop growers, and seemingly small enhancements to farm bill programs could have a transformational impact on the specialty crop industry.”

SCFBA is a national coalition of more than 200 organization representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products. The organization is co-chaired by Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association; Mike Joyner, president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association; Dave Puglia, president and CEO of Western Growers; and Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council.



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