Next Farm Bill Hurdles Comin’ in Hot

Dec 4, 2020

Only two years into the existing Farm Bill and ag policy circles are getting antsy as they look towards 2023.

As the only industry with a bill passed on its behalf every 4-5 years, the work will begin on the early draft of the next version in 2021.

The big shift? Three of the four leaders of the previous Farm Bill will no longer be in Washington D.C.

Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Mike Conway took the retirement route while Rep. Colin Peterson lost his reelection bid. With 85 years of experience between those three evaporating in January, Sen. Debbie Stabenow will be left with new co-leaders to usher the process.

  • It’s worth noting: The U.S. also lost its farm policy guru, Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, this year. The Kansas State professor passed away last month and had been involved in some capacity with every Farm Bill since 1968.

Stabenow’s first new counterpart, Rep. David Scott of Georgia, was nominated this week to fill the House Ag Committee slot.

But the bigger question may be around what programs or policies will get the ax.

Former USDA Chief of Staff Karla Thieman put it bluntly:

“The other dynamic that will make this next farm bill really difficult, I think, is that we are heading into a period of austerity. People are talking about the deficit and how high it is, and that we need to cut government spending.”