On Monday, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019. Like last year, the budget outline contained proposed cuts to crop insurance and the SNAP program. Today's update looks at these budget ideas in greater detail.
A budget agreement reached last week included language that paves the way for cotton producers to participate in Title I commodity programs of the Farm Bill. After previous unsuccessful attempts to facilitate this change to the 2014 Farm Bill, the new provision allows cottonseed to be an eligible program commodity effective with the 2018 crop year.
Today's update looks briefly at the SNAP (food stamps) program within the Farm Bill. The USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) released a report on Thursday that examined the program in detail. This update looks at core points from the ERS report with particular focus on issues relating to "block granting" the program to States, and program work requirements.
Los Angeles Times writer Lisa Mascaro reported late last week that, "The federal government began shutting down early Saturday after a flurry of dramatic, last-minute negotiations failed to end the congressional deadlock over a spending bill before a midnight deadline." However, a New York Times article from Sunday noted that, "The government shutdown will enter its third day. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, delayed a procedural vote on a stopgap spending bill until noon on Monday, as a bipartisan group of senators appeared to be inching toward a compromise." The ongoing budget standoff could create increased uncertainty with respect to the Congressional to-do list, including the Farm Bill.
An update posted on Tuesday at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) blog indicated that, "Less than two weeks into the new year, and Congress already has an incredibly full plate. Both the House and Senate return to work this week (the Senate has officially been back since last week), and will need to immediately dig in their massive to-do lists, not least of which include finalizing fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations legislation, preparing for the FY 2019 budget, and tackling the soon-to-expire 2014 Farm Bill."
At the end of 2017, Congress passed a temporary spending bill to prevent a government shutdown, but failed to complete work on an $81-billion disaster aid package. In addition to assistance for hurricanes and wildfires, the disaster package also included provisions dealing with the cotton and dairy programs. Today's update provides a brief recap of some of the pre-holiday legislative activity, and highlights news articles discussing the legislative agenda in the new year.
Today's update looks at recent news items discussing the Farm Bill, with specific focus on the potential timing of when Congress may take up the legislation. Lawmaker perspectives on provisions in the bill, including CRP issues, payment limits, and SNAP, are also discussed.
Last week, Don Wick, a farm broadcaster from the Red River Farm Network (Grand Forks, N.D.), sat down with several lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss current Farm Bill issues. Notably, he spoke with both the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Mike Conaway, as well as the Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts. Today's update includes key elements from these lawmaker conversations with the Red River Farm Network.
Jacqui Fatka reported on Friday at Farm Futures Online that, "House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said [on October 25th] that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has sped up its analysis of farm bill provisions that the committee is considering. He told reporters that the committee is still on track to bring out a bill before the end of the year or early 2018."
On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to consider three nominees for key trade positions, while the Senate Ag Committee questioned two nominees for Undersecretary posts at the USDA. Today's update highlights some key points from the hearings, including issues related to agricultural trade and the Conservation Reserve Program.