Farm Bill Update

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Will the Farm Bill Pass in the House?

In a continued effort to secure support for the farm bill, set to expire in September, House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway @ConawayTX11 tweeted on Tuesday: “We must maintain and improve the infrastructure that will set these men and women up for success from the field, on the tractor, through the harvest, and to your table. America needs the #2018FarmBill”

The House Rules Committee completed its evaluation of a long list of amendments to determine which ones will be considered on the House Floor. The amendments that passed muster include a laundry list of relatively minor and noncontroversial amendments, as well as two that would significantly change the farm bill; one to phase out all agriculture subsidies in the coming years (which is unlikely to pass) and one that would greatly weaken the Sugar Program. The vote on that amendment may be a close shave.

Safe-Bet Changes

Ryan Stroschein of K·Coe Isom’s Federal Affairs team says, “Given the unusually acrimonious nature of this year’s Farm Bill debate, we are keeping a close eye on the process and the level of support from the most conservative members of the House. Given Democrats near-unanimous opposition to the bill, due to changes in the Food Stamp Program, Agriculture Chairman Conaway can only afford to lose a few Republicans and still pass the bill.”

Another notable in the Farm Bill that would have significant effects on many farmers and ranchers is the newly proposed language on the definition of a family member. “The new language would extend the definition of family members to include first cousins and nieces and nephews, which would have a positive impact on the structure and succession of family farm businesses today,” says Stroschein.

“In addition, the underlying bill contains language impacting pass-through entities, Title I payments, crop insurance subsidies, CRP acreage, and working lands conservation programs like EQIP. Given strong disagreements about the structure of the Nutrition Title and overall cost of this year’s Farm Bill, it is especially tricky to predict what the final package will look like, or even if it will pass at all.”

K·Coe Isom’s Federal Affairs team, based in Washington, D.C., will provide updates on the Farm Bill and its affects on agriculture. Follow K·Coe Isom on Twitter to receive more Farm Bill updates: @kcoeisom.

Please contact a K·Coe Isom advisor for questions surrounding the applicability of the legislation on your business.

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