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Farm bill clears House Ag Committee with bipartisan support

The House Ag Committee’s farm bill went through rigorous review in the form of a day-long markup session before being approved by a margin of 33-21. Image credit: Architect of the Capitol
Date Posted: May 28, 2024

After more than 13 hours of debate, the House Ag Committee passed its version of a farm bill — marking an important first step in the journey to getting the legislation finalized. 

Four Democrats signed onto the bill, signaling the bipartisanship that will be needed to get the measure through the full House. The committee went through rigorous review in the form of a day-long markup session before being approved by a margin of 33-21.

The bill that passed committee has widespread support from key ag groups — including MFB and AFBF — thanks to its efforts to modernize key provisions of the bill and increase funding for farm programs. 

Highlights of the bill that passed committee include:

  • Statutory reference prices increase between 10-21%.
  • ARC would trigger more frequently with higher maximum payments.
  • Allowing one-time opportunity for farmers without base acres, or who planted additional acres beyond current acres, to establish new base.
  • Increasing Marketing Assistance Loans by an average of 20%.
  • Doubling funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program.
  • Preventing states from setting standards on farms outside their borders, like California's Prop 12 pork rules.
  • Additional funding for Specialty Crop Block Grants and Specialty Crop Research Initiatives.
  • Allowing whole and 2% milk in school lunch program.

“The last farm bill was passed before the pandemic, and before the pressures of inflation, increased input costs and supply chain challenges started to take their toll on farms,” said MFB National Legislative Counsel John Kran.

“We need a farm bill that that can get us through the next five years. It’s about compromise, and we need Congress to roll up their sleeves and keep this process moving forward.” 

North Carolina Rep. Don Davis was among the Democrats who voted in favor of the bill. He noted that the bipartisan legislation will protect producers and food insecure families and provide them with a strong safety net.

“Farmers are facing the pressure from rising costs, and too many are left to decide whether to shut down or take on more debt to stay afloat,” David wrote in a statement. “The bottom line is if struggling farms are allowed to close, struggling families won't be able to eat.”

AFBF President Zippy Duvall applauded the bipartisan vote but noted that tight margins in both the House and Senate — and a crowded Congressional calendar — will present challenges in the next legislative steps.

“We urge House leaders to continue the momentum and bring this important legislation to a vote on the floor,” Duvall wrote in a statement. 

“We also urge the Senate Agriculture Committee to follow the lead of the House by scheduling a farm bill markup. A pandemic, high inflation, supply chain issues and global unrest all present challenges that can only be addressed by a new, modernized farm bill. This is an opportunity for both chambers to work to advance a piece of legislation that will pay off at every dinner table in America.”

A Senate hearing on the farm bill has not yet been scheduled. 

John Kran headshot

John Kran

National Legislative Counsel
517-679-5336 [email protected]