House Unveils Farm Bill After Long Delay

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House Ag Chair G.T. Thompson (R-PA) released the House farm bill draft Friday, ahead of the committee’s long-awaited markup set for this Thursday. The draft contains several provisions that are likely to impact your operations and strategic planning. The release of the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 is the culmination of a year of heated partisan debate over what has been historically bipartisan legislation.

The bill does incorporate some bipartisan priorities such as significantly boosting farm safety net programs including:

  • Boosting affordability and availability of crop insurance.
  • Boosting the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection program up to 90 percent coverage.
  • Providing a 10 to 20 percent increase for crop reference prices for all commodities.

The bill would also block California’s Prop 12 law and similar measures in other states. California’s Prop 12 law forbids the sale of livestock and dairy products in the state in which certain animal welfare conditions are not met, regardless of whether it was raised in California.

Notably, the bill also includes several items where Pinion was one of the lead advocates:

  • LLCs would be treated as partnerships for the purposes of accessing farm programs, giving owners both the ability to access the farm safety-net and the benefits of liability protection.
  • The payment limitation per individual is updated to $155,000 and indexed to inflation. 
  • For individuals who derive 75% of their adjusted gross income from farming, AGI limits are removed.
  • Adjusted gross income limits are removed for all conservation programs.

It is important to note that the proposed legislation is subject to a complex legislative process and often faces significant debate and amendments before being finalized. Despite areas of agreement, the House proposal may cross Democratic red lines on climate and nutrition. The bill incorporates conservation funding from the Inflation Reduction Act but removes the climate guardrails on the funding to plus up EQIP and other existing conservation programs. Democrats generally oppose the move and will likely dig in during the markup with amendments to strip out that measure.

The bill also includes a measure to limit future updates to the Thrifty Food Plan that Democrats generally oppose, many strongly so. The Thrifty Food Plan serves as the basis for calculating benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the nation’s largest anti-hunger program for low-income Americans.

Democratic leaders are pressing House Agriculture Democrats to not support Thompson’s House farm bill, and to instead stand behind a rival proposal laid out by Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). This sets up a showdown with the Senate over the must-pass legislation where Stabenow has warned she will block any farm bill that touches climate or nutrition programs.

Given the Republican’s slim House majority passing any legislation will be difficult.

Pinion’s Government and Public Affairs team will continue to monitor developments as the legislation works its way through Congress. Our team is available to assist you with understanding the potential impacts of proposed provisions on your operations, please reach out with any questions.

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