CBO adjusts baseline forecast for next farm bill

An updated baseline from the Congressional Budget Office says there’s less money available than expected for the next farm bill, but a policy analyst says there’s no need to be concerned about it yet.

Pat Westhoff with the University of Missouri’s Food and Ag Policy Research Institute says lawmakers get the final say on how much money is available and currently “the baseline the CBO prepared last May is, as of right now, still the official baseline for purposes of analyzing alternative policies being proposed by Congress. That doesn’t change until people decide it’s going to change.”

He says the CBO will issue a revised forecast later this spring.

“And only then would lawmakers consider using that baseline for the point of comparison for the farm bill.”

Westhoff says changes in the CBO’s baseline can have different impacts on policy.

The latest forecast from the CBO says there’s $1.46 trillion available over the next 10 years for a new farm bill, down 3.5% from last May’s projection. And Westhoff says in the latest forecast there’s more money available for crop insurance and less money available for farm programs, nutrition and conservation funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.

“They do have at least some impact on the money that might be available if there would have been an effort to shift those to other uses or the timeframe in which those moneys could be spent,” says Westhoff.

Westhoff says differences remain between committee leaders on the overall budget picture for the next farm bill.

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