Farm bill budget forecast: nutrition costs higher

The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting the cost of the 2023 Farm Bill programs at more than $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years, the most expensive to date. This number will be the starting point for discussions as lawmakers put together the five-year bill that provides price support, crop insurance and conservation programs for U.S. farmers.

Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute Director Pat Westhoff tells Brownfield the higher price tag comes largely from the nutrition title.

“The SNAP number alone is running about $120 billion per year. Over ten years, that’s $1.2 trillion. When factored in with the other segments, that’s about 83% of the farm bill funding.”

Westhoff says if lawmakers want to cut federal spending on agriculture, crop insurance may be at risk.

“Crop insurance outlays are expected to peak in the current fiscal year, because we had a lot of indemnity payments for losses in 2022. A little more than $15 billion comes back down to $10 billion on average over the next decade.”

The forecasted overall spending for the basic commodity programs is large, but projected crop insurance spending is larger. Westhoff says the CBO also factored in conservation funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. FAPRI will provide its own farm bill price projections in March.

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