U.S. President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill today, following two historic bipartisan votes in Congress last week. The legislation passed the Senate 87-13, followed by the House at 369-47. Officially known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the Congressional Budget Office recently scored it against the April 2018 baseline for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and mandatory USDA farm programs, such as crop insurance and conservation programs. CBO found that relative to the spending projected under the April 2018 baseline, enacting the 2018 farm bill would be budget neutral and would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits over the 2019-to-2028 period. The projected baseline for agriculture and nutrition programs would be $428 billion over five years and $867 billion over 10 years.
“Michigan Farm Bureau applauds President Trump’s action today,” said Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski. “Our County Farm Bureau members have been working closely with Congressional leaders over the past year and a half to articulate their goals on the bill. We’re pleased to see it reflects many of those suggestions, including improvements to commodity and dairy programs, preservation of crop insurance, continued access to vital research for our specialty crop sector, continued emphasis on conservation programs, maintaining critical export and foreign market trade assistance, and greater emphasis on broadband.”
Over the 2019-to-2023 period, more than 76 percent of farm bill spending, or $326 billion, is projected to go toward nutrition programs. Following nutrition spending are outlays related to crop insurance, commodity programs such as Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage and Dairy Margin Coverage, and then conservation programs. These three agriculture-related titles total $99 billion and represent 23 percent of the total farm bill baseline. Other titles such as Trade, Miscellaneous, Horticulture, Research & Extension, Energy, Forestry, Revenues, Rural Development and Credit account for less than 1 percent of the farm bill baseline at $3.5 billion.
Over a 10-year period the largest share of projected farm bill expenditures belongs to the nutrition title. Projected spending on nutrition programs is $664 billion, representing 76.5 percent of all farm bill spending. Crop insurance, conservation and commodity programs account for $199 billion, or 23 percent, of projected outlays. The remaining titles represent one-half of 1 percent at $4.3 billion.
“We’re grateful to Senator Debbie Stabenow, the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, for her leadership on the development of this most important piece of legislation,” said John Kran, MFB National Legislative Counsel. “We appreciate the multitude of meetings and phone calls over the past 18 months with the Senator and her staff to articulate our priorities and her help in including them in the text. The work of our Farm Bill task force and county leaders through numerous trips to DC, and hundreds of members engaging in the process had a huge impact on our success.”