Farm Bill Needed Sooner Rather Than Later

Clint ThompsonLegislative

By Clint Thompson

Bob Redding

A one-year extension of the farm bill does not imply Congress can wait until September to form a new one. One legislative expert is hopeful a new farm bill is in place sooner rather than later.

Bob Redding, who works for the Redding Firm and serves as a lobbyist for agricultural groups in Washington, D.C., spoke about the farm bill outlook during the Georgia Agricultural Labor Relations Forum in Tifton, Georgia.

“Even though we’ve got the one-year extension through Sept. 30, we’re hoping that Congress will move forward in the first quarter and move the farm bill, a complete farm bill; a full farm bill that addresses Title 1, that addresses seasonal imports and other important issues. It’s all of the things that we traditionally do in a farm bill and were not taken care of in the extension,” Redding said.

The concern is that 2024 is an election year. If a new farm bill doesn’t get completed by mid-summer, it may not get done.

“It used to be post-Labor Day, TV ads were up, but it’s going to be long before that now. Congress takes an August break. Really, if we get through July and don’t have it done, maybe we could do a conference report after they get back, but I just don’t see it,” Redding said. “I think the politics right now are so difficult and complicated that it needs to be done on the front end of ’24 if possible.”

Farm Bill Background

The farm bill is a piece of legislation that is scheduled to be renewed every five years. President Trump signed the most recent farm bill into law on Dec. 20, 2018.

The 2018 Farm Bill totaled $800 billion. The next farm bill is expected to approach $1.5 trillion, according to Alabama Extension economist Adam Rabinowitz.